View of the front of the Grey Glacier where it 'calves' or falls into the glacial lake. The glaciers of Patagonia are some of the fastest retreating glaciers on Earth.
Yesterday, world leaders gathered in New York City for the
largest United Nations meeting on climate change since the Rio
Earth Summit in 1992. Top officials from 150 countries (including
80 heads of state) plus big names like Al Gore and Arnold
Schwarzenegger were in attendance - and so were we.
"The time for doubt has passed," as UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon said in his opening address. Ban sees the world's response
to global warming as something that, "will define us, our era, and
ultimately the global legacy we leave for future generations"
Gore told the world leaders, "We have to overcome the paralysis
that has prevented us from acting". Governor Schwarzenegger called
for, "action, action, action".
One by one, heads of state stood up and essentially echoed their
sentiments. Our own Lo Sze Ping, from Greenpeace China, told the
attendees that the world's worst per capita emitting countries need
to stop using developing countries as an excuse not to act.
Lo went on to call for an energy revolution with massive uptake
in energy saving and renewable energy technology world wide, and
real action by world leaders rather than more talk.
"At the climate negotiations in December, you must therefore
agree to nothing short of a Bali Mandate," he said. "Not a road map
to nowhere, not a wish list."
Watch the webcast |
Read his speach ]
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 percent by 2020,
and at least 80 percent 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 at the end of the
current Kyoto Protocol commitment period at the end of 2012.
US remains isolated
US President George W. Bush was not among the heads of state at
the high level UN climate change meeting. He only showed up late
at the end of the day to dine with a select group.
Instead, Bush has scheduled his own
meeting for this Thursday and Friday in Washington, DC, limited
to the countries with the largest global warming emissions. Bush's
meeting, imaginatively dubbed the "Major Emitters Meeting", is
widely seen as part of his strategy to avoid legally binding caps
on greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, Bush is pushing for
voluntary, "aspirational" targets with no weight behind them. Bush
is just pretending to care. The world must not be fooled.
our meeting with Ban, last Wednesday, Greenpeace USA executive
director, John Passacantando, reassured the UN Secretary General
that people in the US are ready to tackle climate change, and
dismissed the Big Emitters Meeting as a diversion tactic from a
president no one is listening to anymore.
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