Christiana Figueres letter

11 November 2013

Several organizations, including ActionAid, Christian Aid, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Oxfam and WWF, sent a letter to UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres asking her not to participate in the forthcoming ‘Coal and Climate’ summit. Due to the provocative and problematic nature and timing of this event, ECO presents an excerpt below.

Your Excellency,

The undersigned organizations write to raise very serious concerns regarding the upcoming UN Climate Conference in Warsaw, Poland.

It is abundantly clear that to prevent the breaching of critical climate tipping points and potential catastrophic climate change, we must stop the extraction and use of all new fossil fuels sources, particularly coal, the most abundant and dirtiest fossil fuel in use today. Therefore it is outrageous that the World Coal Summit on invitation of the deputy Prime Minister of Poland will take place at the beginning of the second week of the climate negotiations.

In light of the above, we were very troubled to learn that you as the ‘voice’ of the climate change convention (UNFCCC) have agreed to address this Coal Summit. By doing so we believe you would give it much more public attention and add your own (considerable) credibility to an event that should not be legitimized. This could contribute to undermining civil societies’ campaigns to keep fossil fuels in the ground rather to burn them on the backs of future generations, and to promote a just transition to renewable energy.

With respect, we ask that you withdraw from speaking at the Coal and Climate Summit. We need all of our leaders to promote green jobs and a just transition towards sustainability. This requires providing a clear commitment to work closely with those governments and sustainable businesses who want to lead the world towards a zero emissions and sustainable future in the interests of all global citizens, not the polluting industries which are undermining the intergovernmental process and the ultimate objective of the Convention.

We recognize that this is a difficult request and we do not make it lightly. However, we would appreciate a public response and would in any event welcome the chance to speak with you further next week.

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