With just 10 days left to avert climate crisis, Greenpeace calls on Amazon leaders to take climate action in spite of US inertia

Press release - 26 November, 2009
As Heads of States that represent the Amazon Basin - including French President Sarkozy, representing French Guyana - arrived in Manaus to agree a common position for December’s UN Copenhagen Climate Summit, Greenpeace activists today climbed the city’s famous opera house and unfurled a large banner in Portuguese, English and French stating: ‘Obama, Lula, Sarkozy - Make history, Save the Climate’.


“Amazon leaders need to agree serious cuts in greenhouse gas emissions today and that means committing to end deforestation. Stopping forestdestruction in the Amazon and around the globe is one of the quickest and most cost effective ways to avert runaway climate change  - it must be a central part of the upcoming Copenhagenclimate deal,” said Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon campaign director. (1)

The destruction of tropical rainforests is responsible forabout a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. Scientists predict thatclimate change will have significant impacts on the Amazon rainforest’s ecosystem and could reduce up to 40% of the forests to savannas by 2014. This would further propel climate change by reducing the forest ability to regulate the global climate and would cause mass species extinction. (2)

Deforestation in the Amazon has gone down in the last few years but still accounts for 52% of the Brazil's greenhouse gas emissions, causingit to be the world's fourth largest climate polluter. Two weeks ago, President Lula presented a set of national actions to cut the country’s emissions by 36%or 38% by 2020. Greenpeace considers this insufficient and is urging Lula to end deforestation in order to make the cut required to avert catastrophic climate change.

Today’s action (3) comes as President Barack Obama is attempting to relegate the Copenhagen Climate deal to nothing but a political statement and to postpone and waterdown critical decisions on a legally binding agreement.

The Obama administration yesterday proposed a reduction of 17% of emissions against 2005 levels - which is equivalent to only a 4% cut from 1990 levels.  Climate science calls for industrialised nations such as the US to cut their emissions by 25 to40% from 1990 levels by 2020. Yesterday, the White House announced that the President will attend the international climate talks in Copenhagen on December 9th, over a week before other heads of state are due to arrive to negotiate an ambitious and comprehensive climate deal.

 “President Obama has a great deal of work to do if the US is not to become a dead weight that causes the climate negotiations to fail – so far, he has got the numbers wrong, the money wrong, and even the date wrong.”

“The world cannot be held hostage by internal American politics and vested national interests. Obama must take his leadershipseriously and live up to the biggest challenge in human history. He must commit to ambitious cuts in his country’s greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to aglobal fund for forests so that the Amazon Basin, Indonesia and Congo can end tropical deforestation,” concluded Adario.


Other contacts: In BrazilCaroline Donatti, Greenpeace Brazil media officer +55 11 8272.6926In Europe:Andre Muggiati, Greenpeace International forest campaigner +31615007407

Notes: (1) Greenpeace estimates that ending global deforestation requires industrialised countries to invest $42 billion (€30 billion) annually in forest protection.(2) IPCC, 2007, “Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability”.(3) Greenpeace is also taking direct action against deforestation in the Indonesian rainforest. Greenpeace activists from 11 countries have been detained by police following a non-violent action that shut down the export facilities of a giant pulp and paper mill in the heart of the Indonesian rainforest today. The mill is operated by Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) and owned by Sinar Mas, a main driver of global climate change due to its leading role the destruction of Indonesia’s forests.

Exp. contact date: 2009-12-23 00:00:00