Greenpeace – Yes Men spoof newspaper declares climate deal

Feature story - June 19, 2009
Readers of a free copy of the International Herald Tribune in Brussels today may have done a double take when they saw headlines like “Markets Soar on News of Copenhagen Climate Deal” and “Atmosphere Named World Heritage Site.” That’s because the newspaper, datelined six months into the future, was brought to them by Greenpeace and the Yes Men.

Greenpeace distributes 35,000 copies of spoof International Herald Tribune in Brussels.

Unbeknownst to the folks over at the International Herald Tribune, we created the hopeful hoax and distributed 50,000 copies of the paper outside of metro stops and street cafes in major cities from New York to Beijing to Brussels. (Along with a complimentary copy and a bottle of champagne to the chief editor of the real International Herald Tribune)  The headline read "Heads of State Agree Historic Climate Saving Deal."  So maybe we haven't actually seen our leaders stand up and take responsibility for leading the global community in the fight to a climate deal; we can't help but ask ourselves "Why not?"

Thousands of journalists gathering in the European Council building in Brussels were audibly chuckling as they awaited the news of the real outcome of discussions today, concerning how much money, if any, the EU will be putting on the table to help poor countries adapt to and mitigate the consequences of climate change.  According to the fictitious paper, the breakthrough moment enabling the December 2009 climate deal came today, when EU leaders broke the negotiation deadlock and agreed "US$ 50 billion (Euro 35 billion) for climate protection measures in developing countries."

Can't change the science? Change the politics!

The paper is an optimistic fairy tale of how our leaders set aside their national interests and work together to save the climate.  It's a story made of  satire and hope, about how civil society forced a new direction, and politicians responded to public protests around the globe demanding that world leaders do the right thing for the planet.  It tells the inspiring story of a climate deal that forced ambitious cuts in global carbon emissions, an end to deforestation and a fund for climate protection measures in the developing world.  It's a story that we want to come true, and a story you, dear reader, can help make happen

Check out the paper online or download the PDF

Less talk, more action

The real news is not so good. Negotiators are leaving meeting after meeting with little or no progress towards a climate deal that tackles climate change. The science demands that, as a group, developed countries  cut emissions to 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020. So far they have offered - at most - 15 percent. Unless they raise their game considerably over the next six months, the world will be heading for a global temperature rise of 3° C and the distinct possibility of runaway climate change, and irreversible climate impacts.  World leaders need to take charge and stop the compromise.

Scientists continue to warn against inaction. The public continues to demand action. But so far we haven't seen any. In December, 15,000 assorted politicians, negotiators, journalists, observers, caterers and cleaners will set up camp in the Copenhagen Bellacentre for the two-week Climate Summit. We expect world leaders to also be there, acting in our name and taking responsibility for our future. The international deal that saves the climate doesn't just have to be a headline in a spoof newspaper, it can be the real thing delivered by our Heads of State.

We can't carry on like this and still hope to get the outcome the planet needs at the Copenhagen Climate Summit. Something has to change. Take action now and Sign On to give NZ Prime Minister John Key the support he needs to show up and be part of the climate deal that will dictate the future of the planet.

Sign On

Take action now and Sign On to give NZ Prime Minister John Key the support he needs to show up and be part of the climate deal that will dictate the future of the planet.

Support us

To maintain its independence, Greenpeace accepts no money from governments or corporations. We rely entirely on millions of donors to keep us winning victories over polluters and creating environmental solutions.