Mission Possible – Governments must and can save the climate

New images of rapidly melting glaciers released

Press release - 2 November, 2006
Greenpeace today released new photographs of rapidly melting glaciers in Europe to call upon the world’s Governments attending next week’s Climate Conference in Nairobi to ‘wake up and smell the coffee’. The climate crisis is urgent: the science is indisputable, the moral obligation is unquestionable, and the economic imperative for urgent action is clear.

Composite image of 3 pictures showing glacier retreat from 1948 to 2006.From left to right: 1948, 2002, 2006

New photographic comparisons reveal the full extent of Alpine glacier retreat. The comparisons of glacier masses show that melting has accelerated dramatically in the past few years. On average, twice as much glacier mass melted between 1991 and 2004 than between 1961 and 1990. In the period from 2001 to 2004, glacier melting rates rose greatly. Greenland is now losing 240 cubic kilometres of ice each year – three times the rate before 2003.


Images can be viewed at http://www.greenpeace.org/international/press/picturedesk


"These new findings are a yet another wake-up call. The glaciers are literally melting before our very eyes, but the politicians are still doing nothing but giving speeches", said Steve Sawyer, Greenpeace International Climate & Energy Policy Advisor. "Governments have lost their last excuse; they must stop their delaying tactics and heed the call for urgent action to protect the climate. We CAN prevent the worst of dangerous climate change, but we need to act now,”


The spate of overwhelming evidence that has emerged over the last 12 months includes:


  • New and compelling scientific evidence pointing to the fact that climate change is upon us and happening faster than anyone could have predicted; we are at the threshold but we still have time to act. But that window will close within the next 10-15 years.
  • That the cost of fighting climate change is easily affordable and orders of magnitude less than the economic havoc that will be wreaked by inaction.
  • That developing countries are already being hit first and worst by the impacts of climate change, and the legal, moral and political obligation of the industrialized world to take the lead has never been clearer.
  • Energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies are rapidly maturing and with the right support for massive deployment can and must play the major role in decarbonising our economies. 

“Governments need to agree a clear process in Nairobi so that post-2012 action to protect the climate with at least 30% reductions from industrialized countries and expansion of carbon markets to drive clean technologies to developing countries is finalized no later than 2008,” said Sawyer. “The 163 governments that have signed up to the Kyoto Protocol need to put aside their short-term interests in favour of fighting this global menace. That is in everyone’s long-term interest.”


Other contacts: Steve Sawyer, Greenpeace International +31 653 504 715Mhairi Dunlop, Greenpeace International Communications, +44 7801 212 960Karsten Smid, Greenpeace Germany Climate & Energy Campaigner, +49 171 878 0821

VVPR info: The comparison glacier photographs are available from the Greenpeace International Photo Desk on +31 653 819 121