Clean Energy Now!

Press release - January 2, 2000
NEW DELHI, India — From around the world Greenpeace today sent a message to the environment ministers of the G8 governments currently meeting in Trieste, Italy, calling for action now to protect the climate. Activists from 14 different countries [1] demonstrating against ongoing climate destruction and the indifference of governments, held up the letters which together read CLEAN ENERGY NOW.

"It's a simple message - governments must sit down now and agree to save the climate," said Greenpeace climate campaigner Steve Sawyer from Trieste. "In the face of indisputable scientific evidence of climate change and its growing impacts, the indifference of governments is condemning millions of people to increased suffering from floods and storms and economic ruin."

In January, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported on the last five years of research [2] stating that "there is new and stronger evidence that most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities". Furthermore, the anticipated increase in temperature over the next century has increased to 1.4 - 5.8°C and "The projected rate of warming is much larger than the observed changes during the 20th century and is very likely without precedent during at least the last 10,000 years...".

In Geneva, in February, a second report [3] from the IPCC concluded that current rates of human-induced climate change: - risk large scale and irreversible impacts, such as the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the shutting down of the Gulf Stream, and massive releases of greenhouse gases from melting permafrost and dying forests; - will have severe impacts on a regional level. For instance, in Europe, river flooding will increase over much of the continent; and in coastal areas, the risk of flooding, erosion and wetland loss will increase substantially; - and will have the greatest impacts on those least able to protect themselves from rising sea levels, increase in disease and decrease in agricultural production in the developing countries in Africa and Asia. "The solutions to climate change are simple - a switch away from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency," said Sawyer. "Governments failed in the first small step on this road when the climate talks collapsed in The Hague last November. It is urgent that governments adopt environmentally sound rules for the Kyoto Protocol at the resumed COP6 this summer. The G8 must agree on a timetable for the ratification of the Protocol that would secure its entry into force by the time of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio + 10) in Johannesburg in the summer of 2002."

"If governments - especially the US under President Bush - continue to act irresponsibly then people from rich countries will need to build ever higher and wider dikes, from where they can watch the rest of the world suffer and drown from climate change. Either that or politicians must act to expand access to clean energy and energy efficiency," said Sawyer