Auckland 19 December 2009 - Global leaders have today failed to act to avert catastrophic climate change, says Greenpeace.

A weak outcome has so-far emerged from the UN climate talks. The deal is not ambitious, unfair, not legally binding and likely to put the world on a path to at least a 3C temperature rise.

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. 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 New Zealand‘s Geoff Keey, who’s in Copenhagen, said the New Zealand Government’s attitude to climate change this year had without a doubt contributed to the near-farcical final negotiations and a weak outcome.

“This year the New Zealand Government did not take a serious approach to climate change on the international stage and in the final weeks of negotiations made a string of surprisingly negative and destructive public comments about the talks and developing countries.

The political declaration agreed today does not set a binding timeline for countries to continue negotiations.

However, Keey said Greenpeace believes a legally binding global agreement is an historic inevitability. “Leaders, especially John Key, have simply put more pressure on themselves by missing the opportunity to act at Copenhagen.”