As Bonn Negotiations Conclude, U.S. Climate Leadership Still Missing

Reaction from Greenpeace USA Deputy Campaigns Director Carroll Muffett

Media release - April 8, 2009
“The diplomats and negotiators in Bonn have been treading water for two weeks, while back in the real world ice caps have continued to melt at alarming rates and flash floods have devastated parts of Australia,” said Carroll Muffett, Greenpeace USA deputy campaigns director. “As it stands, this exact same meeting will be repeated in June. Heads of State must now inject leadership and direction into the talks in order to avert catastrophic climate change.”

The Obama administration was represented in the climate negotiations for the first time in Bonn and the positive reengagement of the United States lifted the atmosphere, but unfortunately little or no formal progress was made on key issues and decisions.

"With the United States back on board, the atmosphere of the talks has clearly improved. Nevertheless, industrialized countries failed to agree on targets for reducing greenhouse gases, or the level of support needed to help poor countries already suffering severe climate impacts," Muffett said.  "The meeting also failed to establish commitments to provide the resources needed to prevent tropical deforestation, a key part of solving the climate crisis."

He said the United States must come back to the process with solid proposals in June and the rest of the industrialized world must knuckle down and close the gap between what is on the table and what is needed.

Greenpeace is calling on developed countries to agree to an aggregate emissions reduction target of 40 percent by 2020 and provide $140 billion annually to assist the developing world tackle climate change.

"We are on the brink of runaway climate change," Muffett said. "World leaders need to realize that they can't change what the science demands; they must urgently intervene and change the politics. Greenpeace will be working on behalf of the billions of people who will suffer to make sure that happens."

VVPR info: CONTACTS: In the US: Mike Crocker, Media Officer, Greenpeace USA, + 1 202-215-8989 cell; Carroll Muffett, Greenpeace USA Deputy Campaigns Director, + 1 202 425 2934 In Bonn: Cindy Baxter, Greenpeace International - Local: +49 170 195 5833 OR +31 646 197 332; Stephanie Tunmore, Greenpeace International, +44 7796 947 451