Greenpeace Calls for Climate Action in Acrobatic Banner Hang

Urges Major Emitters to Move from Words to Deeds

Media release - April 27, 2009
Washington–Greenpeace today urged government ministers from the world’s 17 biggest greenhouse polluters (1) to "Stop Global Warming" and "Rescue the Planet" from the devastating effects of climate change. The international environmental group greeted the ministers with the banner message hung from a construction crane near the State Department as they assembled in Washington D.C. for climate talks under the Major Economies Forum (MEF) process.

"Time is running out. This meeting is an opportunity to fast-track discussions on avoiding catastrophic warming and inject some much needed urgency and cooperation into the ongoing UN climate talks, which are dragging on at a snail's pace," said Karen Sack, Greenpeace International Political Director.

"President Obama has said that the US is ready to lead on global warming," said Carroll Muffett, Greenpeace USA Deputy Campaign Director. "Now we need the President to move from words to deeds and engage leaders in Congress and the world's governments to lead them toward climate solutions."

A peak in global emissions by 2015 followed by a rapid decline to as close to zero as possible by 2050 is crucial to protect the climate. The industrialized world must commit to deeper cuts in emissions and provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries to enable them to switch to clean energy, stop deforestation and adapt to those climate impacts that are now unavoidable.

"Greenpeace is calling on world leaders to take personal responsibility for guaranteeing a strong, legally binding and fair agreement at the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen, in December. That means they must be there in person," said Sack.

This week, climate will be on the agenda at both ends of Pennsylvania Ave. While nations gather at the State Department, members of Congress will be discussing the Waxman-Markey draft legislation, a good first step in cutting emissions, but a bill that needs to be strengthened by the removal of government giveaways to the coal industry and the removal of greenhouse gas reduction shortcuts in the form of off-sets.

Last month, Greenpeace released its roadmap for slowing climate change, the Energy [R]evolution, which shows that the US can cut emissions 25 percent by 2020 while creating millions of jobs in the renewable energy sector and avoiding taxpayer subsidies to the coal and nuclear industries.

To read the full-report, visit: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/press-center/reports4/energy-r-evolution-a-bluepr

Visuals of the banner are available at: http://usaphoto.greenpeace.org/20090427emitters/

Notes to editors:

(1) Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

A fair deal at Copenhagen would require:

  1. Global emissions to peak by 2015 and decline rapidly thereafter reaching as close to zero as possible by mid-century.
  2. Developed countries, as a group, must reduce emissions by at least 40 percent by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels). At least three quarters of these reductions must be achieved domestically.
  3. In the spirit of a gradual widening, deepening and strengthening of global action, developing countries must reduce their projected emissions growth by 15-30 percent by 2020, with support from industrialized countries.
  4. A funding mechanism must be established to stop deforestation and associated emissions in all developing countries by 2020.
  5. Developed countries need to commit to adequate funding to enable developing countries to speed up the switch to clean technology, rapidly reduce tropical forest destruction and to adapt to unavoidable climate change impacts on a wide scale. Public funding in the region of $140 billion a year will be required.

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