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Green groups speak with their feet in Poland

Six Green groups leave climate negotiations in Warsaw, saying the meeting failed to deliver.
Last modified: 21 Nov 2013 22:47

We meet Munjurul Hannan Khan outside Poland's national stadium, where the UN's climate talks are being held. 

He comes from Mymen Singh, in northeastern Bangladesh, and tells me about increasingly strong and frequent flash flooding in the area. This, he says, is causing damage to fields and homes. And its these people he thinks about when climate change is being discussed.

Munjurul Hannan Khan represents 49 of the world's poorest countries. He's an optimist by nature and a UN climate talks veteran. But he tells me it's hard to remain positive when the future of so many vulnerable people is being ignored.

"Developed countries are responsible for poluting the Earth and at the same time now they are rich," Khan says. "They now are responsible to provide support to poor nations and climate vulnerable nations."

And are we seeing that support? I ask him.

"Not yet," he says. "It's just talk, we are talking on this issue, but we didn't see any progress."

And this is the reason civil society groups decided to walkout on the talks. They say too little progress has been made on new targets to cut emissions, and not enough money has been pledged to help the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

"This is a statement that this particular COP has run out of steam," Kumi Naidoo from Greenpeace tells me.

"Our political leaders came here with very low ambitions to start with and what we have seen is ambition levels go lower and lower precisely at the time when the science is telling us we are running out of time and we have to act with urgency."

The groups say they remain committed to the UN process, but say this meeting has failed to deliver.

They have spoken with their feet and hope their walkout will focus the minds of negotiators in the final hours of the talks.