The road to Copenhagen

Feature story - November 26, 2008
Vital UN climate talks are taking place in Poznan, Poland, from 1-12 December 2008. A lot hangs on these talks. The world needs action, not just a load of hot air! The world now has just one year to agree on a way to stop the global climate crisis.

The Greenpeace Climate Rescue Station in Poland.

Why one year?

One year ago, at the tail end of a searingly hot day on the Balinese peninsula of Nusa Dua, governments from around the world agreed on a plan to save the climate. They pledged that by December 2009, they'll have nailed down an agreement to achieve the global emission cuts urgently required to keep climate change in check. In doing so, they acknowledged that it's now or never; that if they fail to reach that agreement, they will be unable to look the future in the eye.

A year is a long time in today's climate; temperature increases, global emissions and loss of ice at the Arctic and Antarctic have now overshot scientists' worst case scenarios. The Arctic icecap has entered what's being called a 'death spiral'. For the first time in human history, you can take a ship right around the North Pole. There may be no summer ice left at all at the North Pole within five years. The British foreign secretary's special representative for climate said the challenge of fighting climate change must be treated more seriously than the threat from the Cold War, and that industrialised countries should essentially put their economies on a war footing. The scientific imperative for action is growing by the day, and we have just one year left to reach a deal that sees global emissions peak in the next eight years at the very latest, and then drop.

All roads now lead to Copenhagen.

The next stop on that road is Poznan, Poland. A clear draft agreement must be borne out of Poznan if a deal is to be reached in Copenhagen. As US President Elect Barack Obama said recently, the work at Poznan is vital for the planet, and the stakes could not be higher.

Leaders of developed countries like New Zealand must agree to binding emissions reductions of between 25-40% by 2020 (on 1990 levels), and  agree an overall emissions reduction target for developed countries that's consistent with achieving the above reductions by 2020.

New Zealand has consistently refused to do so. And with our new Government's embarrassing backtrack on climate, we're at serious risk of becoming an international climate pariah. The fact that the National Government has just announced that it may actually review the science of climate change shows it simply does not grasp the urgency or seriousness of the situation. Meanwhile New Zealand's emissions are on the rising at double the rate of the US.

TAKE ACTION: Postcards to Poznan

New Zealand is sending a delegation of about 18 officials to the meeting. To get the message to our delegation we have been collecting signatures on classic Kiwi postcards to give the delegation. You can sign a postcard here:

     Write a postcard to the NZ delegation in Poznan

Greenpeace in Poznan

Greenpeace has set up a Climate Rescue Station on the edge of a vast open pit coal mine in Konin, Poland near Poznan. The Rescue Station is a four storey tall globe, and will stay here to highlight the true cost of coal in the lead up to crucial UN climate negotiations taking place in Poznan, Poland from 1-12 December 2008. On 8 December, a week into the talks, the dome will be moved to Poznan town square.

Representatives from 15 different countries will be staying at the station to tell the story of how coal is affecting the entire planet. The earth dome - using electricty generated from clean renewable energy - is a visual representation of the climate tipping point that the earth is currently perched on - showing the dark future ahead of us if we don't get serious and act now.

Send a postcard

Send a postcard to the New Zealand delegation


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