Climate chaos draws closer as G8 leaders fail to act: Greenpeace

Statement from Tobias Muenchmeyer, Greenpeace International Political Advisor

Press release - 9 July, 2009
“Leaders act and politicians talk. By failing to take the necessary and urgent decisive action on climate change today the leaders of the world’s most wealthy nations failed all of us, failed themselves and have risked placing the world on a pathway to runaway climate change with devastating social and environmental costs.”

“By failing to commit to the crucial mid-term targets and the US$106 billion which needs to be provided annually to help developing countries tackle climate change and fund forest protection, they have failed to agree on the most important building blocks to gain an historical agreement at the Copenhagen UN Climate Summit, which is just 150 days away.”

“While agreeing to keep temperature rise to below 2 degrees rise Celsius, without a clear plan, money and targets on how to do this the G8 leaders will not have helped to break the deadlock in the UN climate negotiations.”

“This is the first time the G8 has agreed global temperature rise should not exceed 2° Celsius above pre-industrial level. It is a new step for US, Canada, Russia and Japan, though 124 countries already support this or stricter warming limits.”

“Today the G8 failed to act, but individually the G8 leaders can help break the deadlock by committing as early as possible before the UN General Assembly meets on climate on September 22. Every leader counts, and every commitment to stringent 2020 and 2050 targets will bring us closer to the necessary climate saving deal in Copenhagen in December. The consequences of catastrophic climate change means that people everywhere must join together and compel their leaders to act.”

"Time is ticking for the climate, people and the negotiations. We may as well be agreeing to meet at the summit of Mt Everest, but the ropes, boots and oxygen are still in the shop. This is too little, too late,” said Tobias Muenchmeyer, Greenpeace Political Advisor.

Message to Obama on Mt Rushmore

Meanwhile, in the US, Greenpeace climbers have just hung a banner on Mount Rushmore challenging President Obama to show real leadership on global warming. The banner, measuring sixty-five feet high by thirty-five feet wide, features an unfinished portrait of Obama with the message, "America honors leaders not politicians: Stop Global Warming”

Italian coal plant update

Greenpeace activists remain on top of four Italian coal-fired power stations, where they have been since early this morning. Seven people have been arrested at the Porto Tolle plant.

At the Marghera plant, near Venice, the coal conveyor was shut down by the company, ENEL, but has now started up again. Greenpeace has been discussing the situation with the workers, but all remains calm. Since 5 a.m. this morning, activists have been occupying the cranes on the wharf, stopping a coal ship – the Bulk Brasil – from unloading its cargo from South Africa.

UK activist, Ben Stewart, said from the top of the Marghera plant chimney: “We can’t change climate science but we can change the politics and, if necessary, we must change the politicians. People across the world have to take action to let our leaders know we expect them to save the planet from climate catastrophe.”

Other contacts: at L’Aquila:*• Beth Herzfeld, Greenpeace International Press Officer: +44 (0)7717 802 891• Tobias Muenchmeyer, Greenpeace Political Unit: +49 (0)15114533073• Phil Radford, Greenpeace USA Executive Director: +1 202 907 6500• Guruswamy Ananthapadmanabhan +31 646 184 252Greenpeace International Programme Director*Greenpeace International contacts at coal plant occupations: *Cindy Baxter, (in Rome – and to set up calls with Julien) +31 646 197 332Venice: Jo Kuper (and to set up calls with Ben): +31 646 162 039Venice: Joris Thijssen, Greenpeace climate campaigner: +31 646 162 031Vado Ligure: Abigail Jabines Greenpeace International Climate campaigner (Philippino): +39 339 336 2674 Sara Pizzinato (Spanish) +39 349 711 8252For video footage contact or +31 634 738 790. For photos contact John Novis at or +44 207 865 8230.

Notes: For detailed updates, blogs and twitters from the activists - and further information: