World Leaders Unite for Action on Global Warming

Feature Story - 2007-09-25
World leaders are gathering in New York City for the largest United Nations meeting on climate change since the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. And, Greenpeace is there to make sure that the agenda includes strong action to combat global warming—and not just a lot of talk.

Greenpeace China Campaign Director, Lo Sze Ping, addressing world leaders at the UN High Level meeting on Climate Change about strengthening the Kyoto Protocol and China's action to address climate change.

In attendance at the meeting is Greenpeace China's Lo Sze Ping who challenged world leaders to strengthen the Kyoto Protocol, the one global agreement to combat climate change. In addressing the United Nations, Lo Sze Ping urged world leaders to engage in an energy revolution.

An Energy Revolution

The time to act is now. We have all the technology we need to start the job of preventing dangerous climate change. It's high time that world leaders replace talking about combating global warming-with real action before it's too late.

To prevent an apocalyptic future, we need an energy revolution that delivers us renewable energies and increased energy efficiencies. We can no longer invest in dangerous nuclear power or dirty coal (did you know that coal burning produces carbon dioxide-the main cause of global warming).

Making Strides in China

With a population hovering around 1.3 billion it's no surprise that China is the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world. Lo Sze Ping understands that many look to China to act first to combat global warming, and in fact, they are well ahead of the United States. He is proud to point out that China has committed to a renewable energy target of 15% by 2020. Yet, China should have bigger ambitions to develop wind and solar energies. In fact, China has the capacity to develop 118GW of wind power and 25GW of solar PV power by 2020. In 2002 China signed onto the Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement (negotiated in 1997) by which industrialised nations have committed to combating global warming by substantially reducing their emissions of greenhouse gases by 2012. While more than 160 countries have signed onto the agreement, disappointingly the United States has not.

Bali Mandate

The next meeting on climate change negotiations under the Kyoto Protocol will take place on the island of Bali in December. Greenpeace is pushing for world leaders to strengthen the Kyoto Protocol at these meetings. Industrialized countries must begin the process of negotiating emissions reductions of 30% by 2020, and at least 80% by 2050 in order to prevent climate chaos.  This is what the best and latest science tells us is needed now to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

The meetings in Bali must advance a negotiating agenda, a Bali Mandate, to combat climate change on all fronts, including adaptation, mitigation, clean technologies, deforestation and resource mobilization. All countries must do what they can to reach agreement by 2009, and to have it in force by the expiry of the current Kyoto Protocol commitment period in 2012.

What Next?

This meeting in New York was good news: the biggest environmental gathering of government leaders in many years shows that the world is finally waking up to the urgency of climate change. Bureaucrats coming to the climate negotiations in Bali in December now know that they are being watched - by their bosses as well as concerned citizens worldwide. They'd better get on with it. Kyoto - just do it.

Diplomacy was the order of the day today. But over the next few days the gloves have to come off. The US Administration is fighting the mandatory emission reductions the world needs to stop dangerous climate change. This is unacceptable. We need a strengthened Kyoto Protocol - not more diversions and dead ends like the Major Emitters meeting at the end of this week.


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