Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse descend on Copenhagen

Press release - 14 December, 2009
As the Copenhagen climate summit entered its final week, with no less than 120 Heads of State participating, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse today descended on Copenhagen to remind them of what is at stake if they fail to take urgent action and agree a fair, ambitious and legally binding deal to avert a climate catastrophe in the coming days.

The four horses represent Famine, Pestilence, War and Death(1) - severe and interrelated impacts of unchecked climate change. They circled the Danish parliament and rode the streets of Copenhagen, sending an ominous reminder of what the future will look like if world leaders do not tackle the climate crisis.

"The spectre of the Four Horsemen is looming over these climate negotiations - tackling climate change is about life and death for millions of people," said Sini Harkki, from Greenpeace Nordic. "Yet, world leaders are still failing to grasp the urgency of the crisis."

"They must stop playing poker with the planet and lay their cards on the table to agree a fair, ambitious and legally-binding treaty that will banish the Horsemen. The time to pull us back from the brink of catastrophic climate change is now. If they act now they can change the future."

The horsemen and climate impacts:

Pestilence - the white horse represents the devastating health impacts millions will suffer as a result of climate change, worsened by malnutrition. Global warming will intensify diseases such as dengue and malaria and cause them to spread further.

War - the red horse represents the threat of increased violent conflict from climate change. Changing conditions for settlement, agriculture, mining, transportation, diseases and disasters will lead to local resource wars, and to international conflicts mainly through mass migration and power shifts.

Famine - the black horse represents the impact that climate change will have on already scarce food supplies across the world. In some areas of the tropics, a temperature increases of 1-2°C may destroy harvests, and crops will also be wiped out by more frequent and intense floods and droughts.

Death - the pale horse represents the fact that an estimated 300,000 people a year are already dying because of climate change. A toll that is projected to rise to at least half a million people a year by 2030.

Other contacts: Jo Kuper, Greenpeace International Communications
+31 646 162039

Christina Koll, Greenpeace International Communications
+45 28109021

For video: Maarten van Rouveroy +31646197322
For photos: John Novis +44 7801615889

Notes: (1) The 'Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse' come from the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The Four Horsemen are found in Chapter Six of the Book of Revelation. Often referred to as Pestilence, War, Famine and Death, they are part of an apocalyptic vision in which God summons and empowers them to wreak divine havoc on the world.