"Massive" Civil Society Walkout at Warsaw Climate Conference Not So "Massive"


Ronald Bailey

The activist groups who flock to the United Nations' annual climate change conferences are pleased to style themselves as "civil society." These self-chosen representatives of the planet's people, frustrated that they are not being allowed to reorganize the entire world's energy economy yet, staged a "massive" walkout today at the Warsaw conference. From the Greenpeace press release:

In regards to the massive NGO walk-out today  from the UN climate negotiations, Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International said:

"The Polish government has done its best to turn these talks into a showcase for the coal industry. Along with backsliding by Japan, Australia and Canada, and the lack of meaningful leadership from other countries, governments here have delivered a slap in the face to those suffering as a result of dangerous climate change. The EU is being shackled by the Polish government and its friends in the coal industry, and must resume leading on the climate agenda if Paris is going to deliver a treaty that matters." …

"We believe in this process. We will never give up on it, because people around the world desperately need a global treaty on climate change. But a new treaty must also be meaningful. Warsaw has simply not been good enough. As civil society, we will be back next year with still more voices behind us, with more determination and with more ambition to succeed. We expect governments to do the same."

Setting aside Naidoo's grandiloquence, can a walkout of perhaps 100 white t-shirted people truthfully be characterized as "massive"?

Ronald Bailey

The number of journalists covering the event very likely equaled the number of perambulating activists.

Ronald Bailey

Still, I expect Naidoo and his fellow travelers to fulfill their threat to return in higher numbers when the next climate change meeting convenes in Lima in 2014.