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November 21, 2013

Green Groups Quit Warsaw Climate Talks

by Reuters

Several major environmental groups, including Greenpeace and WWF, have walked out of U.N. climate talks in Warsaw in protest of what they see as a lack of progress towards an international deal to curb rising global greenhouse gas emissions.

More than 9,000 representatives from about 195 countries are gathered in the Polish capital for a two-week conference working towards a treaty to be signed in 2015 to fight climate change. The pact would enter into force after 2020.

But the talks, ending on Friday, have stuttered over several issues, particularly whether rich nations should pay developing countries for losses suffered due to the effects of climate change, and a lack of pledges to cut emissions.

“The lack of meaningful leadership from other countries, governments, here has delivered a slap in the face to those suffering as a result of dangerous climate change,” said Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International.

Marcin Korolec, who is chairing the talks, was fired as Polish environment minister on Wednesday.

He remains in charge of the talks but green groups have slammed the timing of the Cabinet reshuffle.

Poland's decision to host a coal industry summit alongside the climate talks on Monday and Tuesday had already angered environmental groups.

“This is one of the most 'captured' summits ever - by corporates and coal industry with the support of the Polish government,” said Dipti Bhatnagar at Friends of the Earth International.

“We are walking [out] to send a strong message due to the total inaction at the talks, due to lack of ambition and finance, at a time when we need the most action.”

It was the first time green groups had staged such a coordinated walk-out at U.N. climate talks.