Paralysed EU unable to make a difference in Copenhagen

Press release - December 19, 2009
Copenhagen/Brussels, International — The greenwashed declaration made by world leaders in the dying hours of the Copenhagen climate conference today was aided by the EU’s reluctance to use its political muscle in the negotiations, said Greenpeace. Negotiations under the UN have all but failed today and have been unable to deliver an agreement that even comes close to what is needed to keep climate change in check.

Commenting on the outcome of the summit, Greenpeace International  Executive director Kumi Naidoo said: "The city of Copenhagen is a climate crime scene tonight, with the guilty men and women fleeing to the airport in shame. World leaders had a once in a generation chance to change the world for good, to avert catastrophic climate change. In the end they produced a poor deal full of loopholes big enough to fly Air Force One through. We have seen a year of crises, but today it is clear that the biggest crisis facing humanity is a leadership crisis."

"Climate science says we have only a few years left to halt the rise in emissions before making the kind of rapid reductions that would give us the best chance of avoiding dangerous climate change. We cannot change that science, so instead we will have to change the politics - and we may well have to change the politicians."

"This is not over, people everywhere demanded a real deal before the Summit began and they are still demanding it. We can still save hundreds of millions of people from the devastation of a warming world, but it has just become a whole lot harder."

Greenpeace EU climate policy director Joris den Blanken said: "Copenhagen was the biggest political meeting the planet has ever seen and the EU decided to take a back seat. The EU may claim it has political weight, but it has failed to lean on either the US or China by showing greater ambition on emission reductions."

"The EU's current 'I'll show you if you show me' attitude is not what gave us the Kyoto agreement and brought the US to the climate negotiations. Europe needs to come out of the hole it is hiding in and start acting like a power bloc again. It must increase its emission reduction target or we will be staring climate catastrophe in the face. The shame of Copenhagen must swiftly be replaced by the resolve to achieve a meaningful deal by the middle of next year."

A series of empty promises on emission reductions and financial aid to fight climate change in developing countries will set the world on course for at least a 3C increase in temperature that threatens the very existence of our civilisation.

Other contacts:

Joris den Blanken - Greenpeace EU climate policy director: +45 526 555 82, +32 476 961 375,

Mark Breddy - Greenpeace EU communications manager: +45 526 556 72, +32 496 156 229,