100 days to save the climate

Feature story - August 29, 2009
There are 100 days remaining until the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen, where urgent action is needed by world leaders in order to save our climate.

A child poses with one of the 100 ice sculptures of children Greenpeace placed at the Temple of Earth in Beijing, symbolising the disappearing future of the 1.3 billion people in Asia who are threatened with water shortages by the changing climate.

We now have 100 days until Copenhagen. Greenpeace China displayed 100 children carved from ice at the Temple of Earth in Beijing today, to symbolise the "disappearing future" for the 1.3 billion people in Asia at risk of water shortage as a result of climate change. This event, matched in India with another ice sculpture, marks the 100-day countdown before the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen - where we are urging governments to take strong, effective action to stop climate change.

The highly conditional 10-20 per cent targets announced by John Key and the National Goverment  are simply not good enough and here in New Zealand the number of people calling for 40 per cent targets grows daily. NZ has the opportunity to live up to our clean green image and lead the world on this issue.

The melting sculptures of 100 children are made from Himalayan glacier water from the source of Yangtse, Yellow and Ganges rivers. The ice sculpture in India is a huge "100" on a World Map and was unveiled in New Delhi to show "the world washed away" by glacial melts.

A climate tipping point is unfolding in the Himalayas. The rapid melting of glaciers caused by global warming is jeopardising the water supply for 1.3 billion Asians who live in the watershed of the 7 great rivers that originate in the region. If we cannot stop runaway climate change, babies born today - at this moment - will face a very different reality when they grow up, where water availability would be a serious problem.

The Himalayan glaciers are melting at a rate faster than recorded for other glaciers anywhere in the world.  The IPCC suggests that glacier coverage will fall by at least 43 percent and possibly as much as 81 percent by the end of the century - depending on how effectively we act to restrain our greenhouse gas emissions.

China and India together account for one-third of the world's population but both countries' water resources (per capita are far below the global average. The two largest developing countries share the challenge of balancing the goals of development and environmental protection. They must pursue a low-carbon development path if we are to avert environmental and humanitarian disaster.

Global countdown to Copenhagen

In other parts of the world - our activists staged public events to highlight the number of days left for our leaders to take action. In Brazil, we set up large clocks in eight cities together with the tcktcktck campaign. In Belgium, 10,000 people formed a giant human banner in the shape of a big clock. Our team in Switzerland placed a giant banner on a retreating glacier saying ' Our Climate, Your Decision' and there was bike riding activity in the Philippines.


We're proud to be part of the Tcktcktck campaign this year. It's a global campaign for climate action, which has launched 100 days ahead of the UN Climate Summit, and brings together an unprecedented alliance of faith groups, non-governmental organisations, trade unions and individuals at this crucial time. We're working with Tcktcktck to harness the voices of people from around the world - calling for an ambitious, fair and binding international agreement that reflects the latest science.  As December's meeting in Copenhagen approaches, tcktcktck will organise around major international meetings and other relevant events to demonstrate the support from citizens around the world in having world leaders attend the negotiations in Copenhagen and produce an ambitious, fair and binding agreement. www.tcktcktck.org

Time to take responsibility

The latest scientific research shows catastrophic climate impacts can be averted by reducing global greenhouse gas emissions after 2015 in order to keep global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius. We are urging developed countries, as a group, to agree to cut emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. And developing countries must reduce their projected emissions growth by 15-30 percent by 2020.

With 100 days until the most important meeting of our time, we're working together with other organisations as part of the global TckTckTck campaign to show that the world is ready for bold climate action. We're asking world leaders to ensure a fair, ambitious, and binding climate deal in Copenhagen this December

A strong climate treaty will not only reverse the march of dangerous climate change - it will also help us tackle the world's largest challenges. We will create millions of green jobs, reduce healthcare costs, lift millions out of poverty, and put renewable energy into the hands of everyday citizens in the developing world.

The next opportunity for world leaders to step up and show decisive leadership on averting a climate catastrophe will be at the UN General Assembly focusing on Climate, on September 22nd. Sign up to be a climate activist with us and find out what you can do to add your voice to this important process. We'll be keeping track of what's happening in the lead up to Copenhagen but here's a few online resources you might want to bookmark:

Adopt a Negotiator: a project to track and report on the activities of countries and their representative negotiators on the road to Copenhagen.

COP-15 (aka. Copenhagen climate summit) website and blog: set up by Denmark to bring the latest news and insight. 

Seal the Deal Newsroom: provides information on recent actions around the Copenhagen treaty summit.

It's Getting Hot in Here: a youth movement blog heavily involved in reporting on international climate treaty issues.

350's treaty tracker: planning actions and tracking Copenhagen climate treaty news.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: the official United Nation's site for the Copenhagen climate summit.

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