Europe urged to get free from fossil fuels ahead of UN climate talks

3 November 2017

Friends of the Earth Europe will join thousands of demonstrators in Bonn, Germany on Saturday to send a message of climate justice ahead of the UN climate talks.

The two weeks of negotiations – known as COP23 – open on Monday and will see several mobilisation moments. As negotiators discuss the 'rule book' for implementation of the Paris Agreement Friends of the Earth Europe will be demanding the urgent transformation of Europe's energy system away from fossil fuels.

Jagoda Munic, director of Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "European leaders lined up to restate their commitment to the Paris climate agreement following Trump's withdrawal of the US, but their statements are empty without action to transform our economies away from fossil fuels.

"The EU's current climate targets, and its investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure are incompatible with limiting global warming to internationally agreed levels.

"As Europe and other developed regions fail to take the urgent action we need, people will be marching in solidarity with the communities on the frontlines of climate impacts and with the impacted workers, people will continue resisting fossil fuel extraction, and communities will carry on building the renewable, democratic energy systems that are the solution to the climate crisis."


At the COP21 Paris climate summit, countries agreed to limit global warming to 'well below 2°C' and to 'pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C'. [1]

The current emissions reductions pledges made under the Paris Agreement by developed countries are so lacking in ambition that they will fail to drive the urgent transition that is needed. As a region historically responsible for climate change, Europe needs to shift to an energy system free from fossil fuels much faster than currently forseen.

The EU's current target for renewable energy by 2030 would put the brakes on current renewable energy uptake. In the last three years, the EU has granted more than €1 billion in public finance to gas projects and is expected to announce a list of new major gas projects it is considering for public funding.

Karin Nansen, chair of Friends of the Earth International, said: "It is nonsensical to conduct abstract discussions about climate ambition inside a conference centre without addressing the continued pursuit of fossil fuels outside. We urge developed country governments to stop exploiting dirty energy now and to stop financing dirty energy projects at home and in developing countries."

Hubert Weiger, chair of Friends of the Earth Germany commented: "The new German government needs to follow the example of Canada, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK, which have announced a coal phase out before 2030. Chancellor Merkel needs to announce a coal phase out here in Bonn and implement it in Berlin. Climate policy starts at home."

Key moments and events for Friends of the Earth Europe during COP23:

Saturday 4 November, 12.00 – "Fight for climate justice! - End coal!" Climate March in central Bonn
Friends of the Earth Europe and Friends of the Earth Germany/BUND will call for an end to coal, a Fossil Free Europe and climate justice.

Monday 6 November, 12.00 – Friends of the Earth International COP23 opening press conference: Expectations for the talks, with a focus on climate impacted communities in Asia Pacific and beyond. Press Conference Room 2, BULA Zone. Speakers from Friends of the Earth's international delegation will outline their expectations of the talks.

Tuesday 7 November, 11.30 – CSO equity review side event, meeting room 10 (220 theatre), Bonn zone.

Thursday 9 November: 16.45 – Friends of the Earth International side event on Fossil Gas, meeting room 10, Bonn zone.

Sunday 12 November, 15.00-18.00 – FoEI/ITUC 'The urgent need for a Just Transition' event, Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn, Ahrstraße 45, 53175 Bonn. Room S1/S2.

More information and spokespeople:

Friends of the Earth International spokespeople are available throughout the COP23 climate talks in Bonn. For more information or an interview please contact: Francesca Gater, communications coordinator, Friends of the Earth Europe, francesca.gater[at], +32 (0) 485 93 05 15