DANGER: Climate destruction ahead

Feature story - September 23, 2009
PITTSBURGH, United States — For the G20 leaders meeting in Pittsburgh, we made it clear what millions of us want at the top of their agenda: it's the climate, stupid.

World leaders need a wake up call. Have you phoned yours yet?

Our activists rappelled from a Pittsburgh bridge with a massive banner displaying a message to G20 leaders gathering for tomorrow's summit. The banner takes the form of a stylised "road sign" that warns of the destruction ahead, if political maneuvering and delay continue to plague an international climate treaty in jeopardy.  

World leaders must not fail again in Pittsburgh. They need to put money on the table to support developing countries. It is also critical that G20 leaders agree to kick-start economic recovery through clean energy investment. Both of these elements are vital to achieving a good deal at the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December and averting catastrophic climate change.

Saving the environment and the economy

World financial representatives and leaders of the G20 (19 of the world's largest national economies, plus the European Union) are meeting in Pittsburgh to discuss both the global financial crisis and the global climate crisis.

At this meeting US President Obama, German Chancellor Merkel, French President Sarkozy and other G20 leaders will have an opportunity to kick-start growth and put us on a path to stopping climate change by agreeing to invest in clean, cutting edge technologies for the future. Global prosperity is not in conflict with preserving the environment -- in fact, our prosperity depends on it. The decisions our leaders make at this meeting will help to decide whether we create millions of green jobs or face ecological and social collapse.   

Climate change affects the economy

Already, the price tag of climate change on global economies is staggering - costing US $125 billion per year, according to the Global Humanitarian Forum. If leaders fail to take the actions urgently needed this year, climate change impacts will likely cost over 20 percent of global GDP -- more than the Great Depression and both World Wars combined, in addition to the human deaths and species extinctions, according to Lord Stern, former World Bank chief economist.

Given the predicted impacts - and the associated costs -- we simply can't afford not to tackle global warming.

We're calling on developed countries to contribute at least US$ 140 billion a year by 2020, to developing countries in order to enable them to adapt to and take action on climate change and to finance forest protection.

We can use this economic crisis as an opportunity to invest in our future.  By massively increasing energy efficiency and investing in renewable, sustainable energy sources like solar and wind power - world leaders will stimulate their economies, create jobs, promote sustainable growth and address the climate crisis.  But failing to do so would be more than a missed opportunity -- it could spell disaster for our planet.

Check out a blog from Michelle, on the ground in Pittsburgh

"Nail biting as Greenpeace activists are hanging from bridge in Pittsburgh"

 See twitter updates, comments and images on the live feed

Shaping our future

Science clearly tells us that only dramatic action can prevent the catastrophic impacts of climate chang. With just 10 weeks left until Copenhagen, further delay is not an option. Gordon Brown has already recognised the substantial climate investment needed for developing countries. Now Obama, and other industrialised world leaders need to step up and do the same

If industrialised countries reduce their emissions by 25-40 percent (below 1990 levels) in the next decade, we may still be able to pass on a safe climate to our children. But time is running out.

Take Action

Our activists are risking everything to stop climate change. How far will you go?

Support Us

Without donations from individuals like you - we couldn't afford the equipment necessary to pull off an action like this as world leaders arrive in Pittsburgh for the G20. Be part of a greener future - donate now.