Poland Climate Talks a Missed Opportunity

Focus Shifts to Obama, Congress

Media release - December 12, 2008
At the close of the Poznan climate summit, Greenpeace today labeled the meeting a major missed opportunity for action and challenged the U.S. government to end its obstruction and demonstrate real leadership looking ahead to next year’s Copenhagen meeting.

"After eight years of obstruction and denial, the Bush administration said farewell to the world with more of the same,” said Greenpeace Deputy Campaigns Director Carroll Muffett. “Scientists say we must act within ten years to avoid runaway global warming, and we’ve just wasted one of them.”

A comprehensive deal at the next major climate negotiation in Copenhagen in January 2009 is within reach, Muffett said, but only if the incoming Obama administration lives up to its promise to engage the world and take science-based action to solve global warming. Messages delivered by Senator John Kerry and former Vice President Al Gore in Poznan during the last two days reconfirmed that the Obama administration is committed to tackling global warming in the United States and to achieving a ratifiable agreement next year.

“Just as the world breathes a collective sigh of relief at the prospect of restored U.S. leadership in combating global warming, a handful of countries have retreated from their obligations and now threaten to squander this opportunity,” Muffett said.

Because of procrastination in Poznan, negotiations on deeper cuts for developed countries now won’t start in earnest until June, largely due to the efforts by Australia, Canada, Japan and New Zealand who fought every move to make headway on this issue.

“Saying the same thing that you said a year ago is not progress,” Muffett said. “This is no time to retreat from obligations or weaken commitments. The countdown to Copenhagen has begun. The world is watching.”

VVPR info: CONTACT: Glenn Hurowitz, Greenpeace Media Director, 202-552-1828

Notes: For photos visit http://www.flickr.com/photos/polarpicpool/?saved=1.