Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

What a Nasty, Scandalously Rigged System

Activist media events are a shockingly institutionalized part of UN climate negotiations.


The Climate Action Network’s press conference featured speakers from CEE Bankwatch, the European Climate Foundation, and Greenpeace. Click to enlarge.

I’ve often wondered why practically every news story written about UN climate negotiations contains quotes from green activists. Well, that mystery has now been solved.

As week number two of the Warsaw summit kicked into high gear this morning (following a weekend lull), the degree to which activist groups are embedded in the climate negotiation process became horrifyingly clear.

Here at the summit there are two rooms set aside for press conferences. One of them was the site of six separate activist media events today.


Anti-coal activists from Friends of the Earth, the PanAfrican Climate Justice Alliance,, and the Jubilee South Asia Pacific Movement. Click to enlarge.

At 10 am, the green group Germanwatch had the floor for 30 minutes. At 11, the World Resources Institute provided its views.

At 12:30 – to a packed house – the Climate Action Network presented the perspectives of Greenpeace and others regarding the first week of the conference. Then an anti-coal coalition released a statement.

At 1:30, we heard from a five-person World Wildlife Fund panel. At 2:30, women’s groups did their thing.


Today’s press conference schedule. Click to enlarge.

I mean, journalists have no need to flip through our rolodexes or to actually dial our phones. The UN connects us directly to the summit’s harshest critics.

Today it gave activists an official platform to spew bile and denunciation at host country Poland, Tsunami-traumatized Japan, Australian democracy, big bad corporations, finance ministers the world over, and so on.


The WWF’s press conference – featuring five of its employees. Click to enlarge.

What a nasty, scandalously rigged system this is.



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