International celebrities to climate negotiators: “You must do better”

“Negotiators must remember that they are not merely talking numbers and dollars, but negotiating the lives of poor people already affected by climate change.”
Tim Gore
Senior Climate Change Policy Adviser
Published: 22 November 2010

Oxfam Global Ambassadors, Scarlett Johansson, Gael García Bernal and Djimon Hounsou are among eight major artists and celebrities from across the globe joining Oxfam today to call on international negotiators to protect the world’s poor from climate catastrophe at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico starting next week.

The open letter to climate negotiators will be formally launched by one of the signatories: ambassador and campaign photographer Helena Christensen at a press conference in Katmandu today, after seeing steps Oxfam is taking to help people survive the changing weather in Nepalese communities. The letter calls on negotiators to put people at the heart of their discussions in Cancun to ensure a safer future for future generations.
 
The letter describes the opportunity negotiators have to break through the current stalemate by setting up a new global climate fund that is fare and safe and enables vulnerable people, especially women, in poor countries to build resilience to the growing threats of a changing climate. Progress on climate funding will also help restore trust between poor and rich countries, opening new doors for more constructive dialogue.

To the negotiators, it states: “We know that the destructive impacts of climate change will mean more misery and pain for the world’s poor, and increasing instability and insecurity around the world unless action is taken. As you prepare for a new round of talks in Cancun, it is abundantly clear that you must do better. And fast.”

Tim Gore, senior climate change policy adviser, said: “Negotiators must remember that they are not merely talking numbers and dollars, but negotiating the lives of poor people already affected by climate change. Climate funding holds the key to unlocking the talks and steering the world to a global solution that tackles the threat and the reality of climate change.”

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Notes to Editors

An Open Letter to Climate Negotiators:

A year ago world leaders gathered in Copenhagen in an effort to take-on one of history’s greatest threats to humanity- climate change.  Some important progress was made but sadly not nearly enough.  In Cancun, you can make history.

For millions of people on the front lines of climate change, the time since Copenhagen has been the year from sheer hell as floods, droughts, fires, storms and other extreme weather events have wiped out crops and destroyed the livelihoods of some of the poorest people in the world.  We know that the destructive impacts of climate change will mean more misery and pain for the world’s poor, and increasing instability and insecurity around the world unless action is taken.  As you prepare for a new round of talks in Cancun next week it is abundantly clear that you must do better.  And fast.

At Cancun, climate funding to help poor communities protect themselves and develop in a low carbon way could help break through the current stalemate. Progress on setting up a new global climate fund that enables vulnerable people in poor countries to build resilience to growing threats - especially women who bear the hardest burdens - could be the key to moving the world closer towards a global deal. A fair, effective and accountable UN body is needed to give voice to those who need the money most and can use it best. These measures of success are within our grasp if you seize this moment in Cancun.

Time is running out but it’s not too late to prevent a climate catastrophe. We look to you to play your part in the historic challenge of our time so that a safer future is secured for us all and generations to come.

Yours truly,

Scarlett Johansson - US

Djimon Hounsou - Benin

Gael García Bernal - Mexico

Helena Christensen - Denmark

Miguel Bosé - Spain

Kristin Davis - US

Bill Nighy - UK

Angelique Kidjo - Benin


Download a PDF of the Ambassador's Open Letter

A release following Helena Christensen’s press conference will be available. Please contact: Georgette Ginn at GGinn@oxfam.org.uk  Tel: +44 (0)1865 472037 Mob: +44 (0)7824 503108

Contact Information

Ben Grossman-Cohen +202-777-2907, +202-629-6018 (mobile) - bgrossman-cohen@oxfamamerica.org