The protesters were placed on the pavement outside the entrance of the building with their banner. However, they refused to remain silent and instead displayed their banner, chanted, sang, and read a prepared statement to the watching media and members of the public. The statement [full text at the bottom of this press release] began:
"We're here today because climate change is not a business opportunity. It is already responsible for 300,000 deaths per year - it's a global emergency, not a chance to make money. The Climate Group supports carbon trading as the solution" to the climate crisis, but carbon markets are nothing more than an excuse to continue to pollute as usual, while also profiting from a whole new market in hot air."
The Climate Group meeting was targeted not just for the policies being discussed, but in protest at the undemocratic way in which these kind of events give privileged access to industry lobbyists. According to one of the protesters, Sara Horne: "It's not surprising that delegates from the Global South have started walking out of the COP15 summit, when the interests of their people are being sidelined in favour of business interests at cosy backroom meetings like this one. The Climate Group is
pushing an agenda based on profits, dubious technical fixes and failed market ‘solutions'. We need real climate solutions - food and energy sovereignty, localisation of production and consumption and full recognition of Indigenous peoples' and local communities' rights. These solutions don't make any profit for industry, however, so you won't hear them discussed by the Climate Group."
The activists were then led away one by one by police and arrested. The last protester was removed at around 12.00 noon.
ACTIVISTS' STATEMENT IN FULL:
"We're here today because climate change is not a business opportunity. It is already responsible for 300,000 deaths per year - it's a global emergency, not a chance to make money. The Climate Group supports carbon trading as the "solution" to the climate crisis, but carbon markets are nothing more than an excuse to continue to pollute as usual, while also profiting from a whole new market in hot air.
We're here as part of Climate Justice Action . Like you, we have travelled to Copenhagen because of a deeply-held belief that the world must act now to prevent runaway climate change. Unlike you, we believe that the solutions to climate change must be based on effectiveness and global justice, not the needs of big business.
The Climate Group presents itself as a network of organisations who are seeking equitable solutions to climate change. Yet with members from the oil, aviation, and global finance industries , it is hard to believe it is free from vested interests. Relationships with profit-seeking multinationals are at the very heart of the organisation.
We want to highlight the deep hypocrisy of this meeting. The Climate Group claim that they want to "reconcile development goals and climate protection", but carbon trading is simply a way for the Global North to retain its dominance and effectively privatise the future of our planet.
Similarly, the exclusivity of this meeting is an excellent example of the way in which climate negotiations favour the rich countries who have caused the climate crisis in the first place. Where are the cosy meetings with indigenous peoples and Southern farmers' movements? Why are the voices of those most affected by climate change being excluded, while business gets this kind of exclusive access? None of this can "reconcile development goals and climate protection".
Markets fundamentally cannot solve climate change. Their purpose is to maximise profits, not reduce emissions. Putting business concerns, rather than social concerns, at the forefront of solving climate change completely ignores the fact that corporations and economic growth have caused this problem in the first place. There are real solutions to climate change, but you won't find them in this room."