War on Want demands climate justice at COP25 and climate talks in Madrid and Santiago

2 December 2019 - 3:00pm
Press release

War on Want demands climate justice at COP25 and climate talks in Madrid and Santiago (2 – 13 December) as global climate emergency devastates the lives of millions

Opening artistic intervention at the Cumbre de los Pueblos (People's Summit) in Chile. Image Credit: Cumbre de los Pueblos

War on Want will participate in the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP25, (2 – 13 December) and the Social Summit for Climate (7 – 13 December), both in Madrid; and the alternative climate talks at the People’s Summit in Santiago (2 – 7 December).

War on Want will demand:

  • Developed countries commit to delivering their fair share of action and finance to prevent a global heating rise above 1.5°C
  • An end to the  global mining industry’s plans for a new wave of ‘green’ extraction
  • The world’s biggest polluting companies are held liable for their climate damages
  • A Global Green Deal for People that tackles the multiple crises of climate and inequality

Record levels of greenhouse gases are already leading to killer floods, droughts and famines which are disproportionately affecting some of the poorest people in the world. Despite the countless warnings by climate scientists, the response of rich developed countries to the climate emergency has failed to reduce emissions, or address the systemic inequalities and injustices at its core.

With climate talks entering a critical phase before the Paris Agreement formally comes into force in 2020, COP25 talks will focus on strengthening the weak pledges that will lead to a warming of at least 3°C, preventing governments and the private sector from trading their emissions, and  delivering climate finance to address loss and damage caused by global heating.

War on Want will highlight the work of our partner organisations in the Global South on the front lines of climate violence, and put forward the case for a justice-oriented approach to the climate crisis, as part of a Global Green Deal for People.

War on Want’s Executive Director, Asad Rehman, will participate in COP25 talks and the Social Summit for Climate in Madrid. War on Want’s Senior International Programmes Officer for Latin America, Sebastian Ordoñez Muñoz, will participate in the People’s Summit in Santiago.

COP25 talks were moved to Madrid in early November after President Sebastian Piñera’s government announced Chile’s withdrawal from hosting the summit in late October, after massive anti-austerity and anti-government protests across Chile. Campaigners condemned the decision as an attempt to evade scrutiny on policies that have led to widespread economic and climate injustice.

Asad Rehman, Executive Director at War on Want, said:

“With the cost of climate damages racking up to a possible $4 trillion by 2030, the time for warm words about the climate emergency is over. We are in the last chance saloon. Governments such as the UK’s can no longer claim they are acting on the climate crisis whilst trying to shift the burden to act onto poorer countries, and whilst UK companies continue to profit from environmental injustices. The UK must show real leadership by committing to its fair share of the global effort, by paying its climate debt and by holding UK companies to account for the damage they are causing.

Despite countless UN reports warning of the need for urgent action, the climate crisis is already devastating the lives and livelihoods of millions, plunging the poorest into yet another crisis of hunger and poverty. An opportunity exists to tackle both the climate crisis and the crisis of inequality with a Global Green Deal for People that guarantees everyone the right to dignified life. Our political leaders will not be forgiven if they fail to grasp it.”

Sebastian Ordoñez Muñoz, Senior International Programmes Officer – Latin America at War on Want, said:

“The Chilean government’s decision to withdraw Santiago as the host city of COP25 is a desperate attempt to divert attention away from the social inequalities and environmental injustices harming communities across the country, and the state’s violent repression against the uprising. The crisis unfolding in Chile cannot be isolated from the country’s water crisis – a mega-drought caused by the overexploitation of resources by industrial agriculture and mega-mining industries. Meanwhile, the global mining industry is using the climate crisis as an opportunity to greenwash its image and carbon emissions, while increasing its destructive extraction of 'green' or 'critical' metals such as copper. To resist Green Colonialism, we need to embrace grassroots-led transformations towards post-extractivism.”

Sebastian Ordoñez Muñoz and Asad Rehman are available for comment on request

Key Dates and Events

  • 2 – 7 Dec: People’s Summit in Santiago, Chile
    • Thurs 5 Dec, 3-5pm (6-8pm GMT) - Ecological Crisis, Energy Transitions and Mining Extractivism - Sebastian Ordoñez Muñoz speaking
    • Sat 7 Dec, 11am-1pm (2-4pm GMT) - Declaration of the People’s Summit at final plenary
  • 6 Dec: Global Mobilisation Day worldwide day of action and protest in solidarity with the people of Chile, including in Madrid and Santiago. In the UK, the COP26 coalition will hold a demonstration outside the Chilean embassy
  • 6 – 13 Dec: Social Summit for Climate in Madrid, Spain
    • Weds 4 Dec - Make the Polluters Pay launch - War on Want is a founding signatory
    • Sat 7 Dec – ITUC Just Transition event – Asad Rehman speaking
    • Tues 10 Dec, 4-5:45pm – ‘The hidden face of the energy transition: mining extractivism of lithium, copper, tungsten’ – Asad Rehman speaking


Press Contacts

TJ Chuah, Communications Officer: media@waronwant.org | 020 7324 5065

Holly Blaxill, Head of Communications and Engagement: hblaxill@waronwant.org | 020 7324 5060

Notes to Editors

About War on Want

War on Want is a charitable membership organisation of people who are committed to social justice. Our vision is a world free from poverty and oppression, based on social justice, equality and human rights for all. War on Want works in partnership with grassroots social movements, trade unions and workers’ organisations to empower people to fight for their rights. We run hard-hitting popular campaigns against the root causes of poverty and human rights violations.

Visit our website to find out more: www.waronwant.org

Follow us on Facebook and @WarOnWant


Asad Rehman, Executive Director, War on Want

With over 35 years of experience campaigning around social, economic, climate and racial justice issues, Asad has worked as a policy analyst covering the UN climate talks for over a decade. He works directly with developing countries and helps co-ordinate a network of climate justice groups from across the world at the UN climate talks. He has helped develop civil society interventions around the issues of equity, fair shares, energy transition and the global green new deal. Asad provides regular media commentary and analysis of the talks and wider climate justice issues and appears regularly on both national and global media, including the BBC, Newsnight, Sky, CNN, MSNBC, Al Jazeera, The Guardian and Democracy Now.

Sebastian Ordoñez Muñoz, Senior International Programmes Officer (Latin America), War on Want

Sebastian works closely with grassroots movements, indigenous and Afro-Latin-American communities resisting destructive, exploitative industries and challenging the corporations and governments that support them. His focus is the recognition and protection of the human rights of affected peoples and supporting the search for effective redress and justice. Sebastian has written for the Guardian, The Independent, Open Democracy and Red Pepper among others on issues of popular democracy, environmental justice and food sovereignty.


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