Protest marks US press conference at climate talks

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Caixin, Katowice, Poland

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.

今年的波兰卡托维兹气候大会,美国官方代表团依旧保持低调,直到第二周才召开首个发布会,连主题都与去年雷同。根据美国国务院的一份声明,该活动将“展示尽可能干净,高效地使用化石燃料的方法,以及使用零排放的核能”。

发布会由美国总统唐纳德·特朗普任命的国际能源和气候顾问韦尔斯·格里菲斯(Wells Griffith)主持。其他演讲嘉宾包括美国能源部的化石能源助理部长,澳大利亚外交部的小组成员,一名支持核能和水力压裂技术的专家和一名天然气出口商。他们认为发展中国家将在很长一段时间内严重依赖煤,石油和天然气,找到更有效的方法来开发和燃烧这些燃料符合世界的利益。

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. 

来自民间的抗议者们依旧早早聚集在发布会会场门口,发布会开始前一个小时,就有近百名公众在门外排起了长队。

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.

“美国拥有丰富的自然资源,不会让它们留在地下。”格里菲斯说,他们坚信,任何国家都不应该牺牲经济繁荣或能源安全来追求环境的可持续性。

演讲嘉宾之一,澳大利亚环境大使帕特里克•苏克林(Patrick Suckling)也同意“化石燃料预计将成为未来很长一段时间内的主要能源。”他赞成采用从煤电厂捕获并封存二氧化碳的技术,并指出这种技术可以出口。

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.

“我正在起诉的政府,因为它正在延续全球的气候变化危机。”维克·巴雷特高喊,2015年,21名年轻人在“朱莉安娜诉美国”一案中起诉政府允许危害气候的活动,19岁的巴雷特是原告之一“年轻人正站在解决气候危机的前沿,我们不会退缩。”

另有抗议者们在演说中谈到核电的肮脏本质和铀矿造成的污染,洪水和干旱交替肆虐也正在破坏他们的家园。

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。