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US Organizations Call for Postponement of COP26 Vaccine inequity threatens to derail meaningful climate talks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 7, 2021

CONTACT: Natalie Lucas, [email protected], 928-600-7844

US Organizations Call for Postponement of COP26
Vaccine inequity threatens to derail meaningful climate talks 

The US Climate Action Network, a vital network of nearly 200 climate organizations across the United States, joins Climate Action Network International in calling for the postponement of the 2021 in-person United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP26) and for the world’s wealthiest countries to take immediate action to address inequities in global access to Covid-19 vaccines, in solidarity with Climate Action Network International. At the same time, we call on richer countries to move forward with urgency on their domestic climate commitments--including ambitious emission reduction policies and the delivery of international climate finance--regardless of the status of the COP. The climate crisis cannot wait. 

Rich countries have had months to distribute vaccines equitably across the globe to create conditions that would allow for safe travel and large gatherings. However, they have failed to do so, by continuing to allow pharma companies to profit from vaccine inequity. Rich countries can change this today by providing the tools to manufacture and produce the vaccines, testing and treatment at the scale needed to end the pandemic. This includes advancing the World Trade Organization Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (WTO TRIPS) waiver which is supported by over 100 countries, contributing adequate vaccines to the COVAX Facility, and sharing the technological know-how through the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (CTAP).

The current safety protocols set by the UK government for COP mirror global inequities, such as the unfair quarantine rules, that make it prohibitively expensive for delegates to attend, especially from the Global South. "The quarantine process is not fair. Red list countries have to quarantine whether or not they have been vaccinated while unvaccinated individuals from countries like the US where Covid transmission is high does not require any quarantine," states Natalie Lucas, Executive Director of Care About Climate. She continues, “With the present logistical and financial barriers, an in-person COP26 will be a COP of the Global North.” 

This call also comes at a time when infection rates of COVID-19 are increasing worldwide. There is little clarity about the safety protocols from the UK about how the COP will proceed. Delegates to the Conference have not received the vaccines promised by the UK and the window for delegates to arrive fully vaccinated is closing. USCAN joins our international colleagues in determining that at this point it will not be possible to offer a safe, inclusive and equitable COP. Moreover, USCAN does not support a virtual COP at this time as there are serious inequities relating to internet access that have not been addressed. The ability to hold a safe and inclusive in-person COP26 in the future requires urgent action to enable poorer countries to access adequate and timely Covid-19 vaccines, testing and treatment. 

This summer the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report indicating that we are in “code red for humanity.” The call from US and international groups to postpone COP26 is not a call to postpone climate action. In fact, it is a call to do more. 

“Covid-19 and climate change are both crises that disproportionately impact already vulnerable communities, especially in poorer countries. Rich countries like the US need to step up and ensure developing countries have access to adequate Covid-19 vaccine supplies. At the same time, with the climate crisis raging on, the US needs to immediately reduce our emissions and provide the finance and technology needed for developing countries to do the same. We must do our fair share for the global community to ensure that people and the planet can survive and thrive,” notes Brandon Wu from ActionAid USA. 

Rachel Cleetus from Union of Concerned Scientists notes, “It is clear that the international climate talks, if they proceed as currently planned, cannot meet science-based public health guidelines in an equitable way. We are calling on richer nations to take swift action to address the gross global COVID-19 vaccine inequity and limit the power of major pharmaceutical companies to control vaccine access. The rapidly worsening climate crisis is also intersecting with the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis, compounding harms for the most vulnerable. Policymakers must meet this moment with bold, just and equitable public health, economic and climate policies.”

The UK government has indicated that they are moving forward with the conference and are starting to send out vaccination doses now. However, US groups have heard from their international partners that this is too little too late as the vaccination window closes. 

 

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About US Climate Action Network (USCAN): USCAN’s mission is to build trust and alignments among members to fight climate change in a just and equitable way.  

USCAN’S vision is a powerful, inclusive, and trusting network of US organizations who worked together to meet the global goals in the Paris Climate Agreement and exceed the US targets outlined in that agreement.

Statement by USCAN Executive Director Keya Chatterjee: "We must step up to defend Black life as part of our commitment to Climate Justice."

COVID-19 has now killed more than 100,000 in the US, and a quarter of those deaths are Black Americans thanks in part to racism, social inequity, and environmental injustices that have purposefully robbed the Black community of health and well being.   The murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, and the racialized targeting of Christian Cooper while birding are the devastating results of 400 years of slavery, theft, mass incarceration, and other white supremacist institutions, and decades of failure to address police violence and neoliberal policies that prioritize profit over people. 

The police in the US are militarized, and they are escalating violence around the country as part of a system of racist oppression.  On top of that, there are reports of infiltrators among peaceful protestors who are escalating tensions and are allied with white supremacists.  And to cap it all off, as President of the United States, Donald Trump, is inciting violence against protestors, using thinly veiled racist references to releasing dogs on people and threatening to shoot protestors.   While the US Government has not been able to find protective equipment for nurses, doctors, grocery workers, or bus drivers who are essential workers during a global pandemic, thousands of militarized police have all the equipment they need to terrorize the public. All over the US tear gas and rubber bullets, and in many cases direct physical violence, are being used against the public and journalists. Journalists have become a police target, especially Black journalists, even when they are on live TV. That is the current state of the United States of America. 

This dark time in this country is also a time for reckoning and change.  We must scream from the streets and the rooftops that #BlackLivesMatter, and that the police need to be demilitarized and defunded in favor of violence reduction interventions. 

We must also be clear that the climate crisis’ significant impacts on vulnerable communities are being realized because this country was willing to sacrifice black, brown and indigenous lives by placing polluting and extractive facilities in black, brown, and indigenous communities in the United States, and around the world.  The climate crisis is, at its core, a racial injustice crisis. The climate crisis is the result of racism and colonialism, and the imperialist worldview that sees indigenous lands in Africa, Asia, the Americas and beyond as places to plunder, steal, and extract from, instead of as places with deep histories, knowledge, families and cultures to protect and defend.  US imperialism and profit-obsession has put black and brown bodies on the line all over the world as the climate crisis unfolds. The communities that have done the least to contribute to the climate crisis are hit worst, precisely because they have been purposefully made vulnerable by racism and imperialism.  

We at US Climate Action Network (USCAN) believe it is possible to transform the whole economy in our lifetimes and we believe it is possible to do so in a way that dismantles racism and white supremacy. We must work with our allies to make sure that this moment is actually looked upon historically as the moment when white supremacy was in its death throes.  We can do this.  We have already launched Arm in Arm in the US to do this.  Together we are demanding a "new normal". Our communities will ignite an era where we end the climate crisis by centering racial and economic justice.   

We must have justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Nina Pop, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Sean Reed, and all other Black people that have been subject to violence. We must step up to defend Black life as part of our commitment to Climate Justice. We at USCAN and at Climate Action Network International (CAN-I) are fully committed to making that happen, and the first step is for us all to state unequivocally that Black Lives Matter.

US Climate Action Network Media Advisory For: Thursday, December 5, 2019

US Climate Action Network

Media Advisory For: Thursday, December 5, 2019

Contact: Chloe Noël, [email protected]

Leaders From Front Line Communities To Speak Out 

Against False Climate Solutions 

Panel Will Center Marginalized Voices to Highlight Their Struggles and Amplify Grassroots Solutions  

Location: Room 1, Area 4, IFEMA or via this link 

 

Madrid  – Thursday, 05 December 2019: Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité and the US Climate Action Network are hosting a panel discussion at COP25 to amplify the voices of front line communities across the Americas.

 

What: The impacts of climate change disproportionately hurt the most vulnerable communities, including youth, women, communities of color, income-challenged communities. At the same time, false energy solutions are impacting or bypassing some marginalized communities. Yet these same communities are often generating innovative, just and scalable clean energy solutions.  Our panel speaks to both false solutions and community-based positive alternatives. To ask questions of the panelists, email [email protected] or tweet at @uscan

Speakers:

 

 

  • Andreia Fanzeres, Coordinator Indigenous Peoples´ Rights for Operação Amazônia Nativa (OPAN)
  • Jacob Maurice Johns, Community Supported Organizer, Backbone Campaign USA 
  • Margarita Parra, Mobility Equity Lead, GRID Alternatives & Clean Energy Works USA
  • Antonio Zambrano: Coordinator of Clean Energy Program for Movimiento Ciudadano frente al Cambio Climático (MOCICC), Peru

 

When: Thursday, 05 December 2019 - 16:45—18:15 CET

Where:

  •   Room 1, Area 4, Feria de Madrid, IFEMA in Av. del Partenón, Nº 5, 28042 Madrid, Spain 
  •   Live broadcast is available via Skype Meeting Broadcast and will be available on-demand via this link.

Contact: Chloe Noël, [email protected],  +1 (202)-832-1780

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About US Climate Action Network (USCAN): USCAN’s mission is to build trust and alignments among members to fight climate change in a just and equitable way.  

USCAN’S vision is a powerful, inclusive, and trusting network of US organizations who worked together to meet the global goals in the Paris Climate Agreement and exceed the US targets outlined in that agreement.

About Coopération Internationale pour le Développement et la Solidarité (CIDSE): CIDSE’s mission: Working together with others, we want to serve the poor, promote justice, harness the power of global solidarity and create transformational change to end poverty, inequalities and threats to the environment both global and local.

CIDSE’s vision: We are part of a worldwide community of learning and action that is open to working with all people and groups of goodwill. At CIDSE we think and act along the following values and principles: Dignity, Solidarity, Ownership, Partnership, Dialogue, Subsidiarity, Sustainability, Living Simply and Stewardship. 

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