The United States government has, as usual, been keeping a low profile at the U.N. Climate Summit (COP24) in Katowice. As in last year’s COP, the U.S. only held their first press conference on the second week of the Summit and adopted a similar topic. According to the U.S. State Department, the event was intended to “showcase ways to use fossil fuels as cleanly and efficiently as possible, as well as the use of emission-free nuclear energy”.
The press conference was led by President Trump’s top White House adviser on energy and climate, Wells Griffith. He was joined by Steve Winberg, assistant secretary for fossil energy at the Energy Department, representatives from the Australia delegation, an expert on nuclear energy and hydraulic fracturing and a natural gas exporter. In their views, developing countries will continue to rely heavily on coal, petrol and natural gas for a long time and it is in the world’s interests to find more effective ways to extract them.
Public protesters also, as usual, gathered early at the event’s entrance. An hour before the press conference, close to a hundred members of the public were seen forming a long queue outside the entrance.
At the press event, Griffith said, “America has a wealth of natural resources and we will not let them stay in the ground.” He and his team strongly believe that no country should give up their economic prosperity and energy security to pursue environmental sustainability.
One of the speakers, Australian ambassador Patrick Suckling, also said that “fossil fuels are projected to be a major source of energy for a significant time to come.” He said he is a supporter of the use of carbon capture and storage technology, and that it is a technology that can be exported.
Just as Griffith was saying at the event’s opening, “If we are serious about eradicating poverty and providing universal access to affordable and reliable energy, energy innovation and fossil fuels will continue to play an important role”, raucous laughter ruptured from the floor, which was followed by protestors shouting, “Keep it in the ground!” They then unfurled a banner blocking the speakers behind it. Several activists gave their short protest speeches.
当格里菲斯在会议开场演说时表示“如果我们是认真的想消除贫困，并提供全球适用的廉价和可靠的能源。显然，能源创新和化石燃料将继续发挥作用。”时，会场上突然爆发出持续的嘲笑声，随后抗议者们纷纷站起来，高喊口号“让它们（化石燃料）待在地下（KEEP IT IN THE GROUND）！” 随后抗议者们在会场拉起横幅，将台上的演讲者们挡在身后，几名民间代表发表了简短的抗议演说。
“I’m currently suing my government for perpetuating the global climate change crisis, ” said Vic Barrett. He was one of 21 young adults who filed a lawsuit in 2015 against the U.S. government for allowing activities that harm the climate. The 19-year-old plaintiff said, “Young people are at the forefront of leading solutions to address the climate crises and we won’t back down.”
Other protesters spoke about the dirty nature of nuclear power and the pollution caused by uranium mines, and how their homelands have been inundated by floods and droughts.
Towards the end of the event, the protestors shouted, “Shame on you!” at the speakers and left the room.
最后，抗议者们对嘉宾席高喊着“真不要脸（Shame on you）！”，离开了会场。