Arabs Are More Than Oil, Says Lebanon's IndyACT Before Copenhagen Climate Meeting

In a pretty radical move, Lebanon’s IndyACT organizes protest against what it calls Saudi obstructionism in climate change talks. Watch this vertigo-inducing video of their silent protest at Barcelona, a pre-Copenhagen climate meeting last month.

In the last week of November activists from the Global League of Activists, IndyACT, carried out a peaceful action in the Annual Conference of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development – AFED in Lebanon, to demand the Arab states for active participation in the United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen.

The group based in Beirut, Lebanon, urged members to not to be drawn behind the obstructive oil-rich Arab states in the negotiation process. In response to obstructives measures by Arab states, the group also launched the campaign and website: You Can’t Drink Oil.

IndyACT also called on Arab states to take their moral responsibilities to insure the safety of the Arab world and the planet from a tragic fate. This is the message they will be taking to next week’s climate meeting COP15 at Copenhagen, Denmark. Lebanon will be sending their PM, and acknowledges that is has emissions disproportionate to Lebanon’s population size.

In an unprecedented action, two activists from IndyACT lifted a banner during the opening session of the conference, which criticized the obstructive role played by some oil exporting Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia in the climate negotiations.

The banner said “Arabs are more than oil” to indicate that the current Arab position is based on protecting the oil trade more than protecting Arab citizens from the catastrophic impacts of climate change.

Other activists carried a banner in front of the entrance to the conference’ hall that says “we can’t drink oil,” while wearing diving suits, highlighting two major impact of climate change: shortage in fresh water and the rise in sea levels due to the melting of the polar ice caps.

The activists also distributed hundreds of leaflets that explained the expectations of the activists and Arab citizens from their representatives in the Copenhagen negotiations.

Fossil fuel, like oil and coal, are the main cause of climate change. To solve this problem, nations must cut their dependence on oil and coal as the main source of energy and turn into renewable energy, says IndyACT.

That’s why Saudi Arabia considers the war against climate change as a threat to its oil trade, its main source of economical and political power, the group claims.

“Oil is a limited and very valuable resource and we should preserve every drop of it for future generations. Most of the products we consume today are made of petroleum derivatives. If we burn all the oil now we will deprive future generations from all these products and we will destroy the human civilization by causing climate change,” said Wael Hmaidan, Head of the climate change campaign in IndyACT.

A new report by the International Energy Agency showed that OPEC nations will increase their profits four folds between now and 2030, even if all nations in the world cut their carbon emissions to the level needed to avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change.

“AFED report showed today that the Arab world will extremely suffer economically and socially due to climate change, and all of the world’s oil will not make up this loss”, concluded Hmaidan.

Wael Hmaidan was born in 1976 in Lebanon, and had never left the country until he joined the Greenpeace ships at the age of 22. He then held the position as the Arab World Campaigner for Greenpeace, and one of his achievements was establishing a Greenpeace presence in Egypt. Wael worked independently on the oil spill caused by the Israeli attack on the Jiyeh power plant. Since 2007, he has been building IndyACT.




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