US Government puts climate saving deal at risk: Greenpeace

Press release - 29 May, 2009
As government representatives head for the next round of UN climate talks in Bonn starting Monday, hopes for an agreement that would avert catastrophic climate change are being seriously undermined by the developed world in two key areas: targets for emissions cuts and finance for developing world mitigation and adaption, Greenpeace said today.

Developing countries - such as China - are showing the willingness to take real action, provided that industrialised countries show leadership. 

However, a small group of rich countries are placing the climate in peril because of their lack of commitment to make dramatic cuts in emissions.  Most notable is the US, closely followed by Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

"If the US doesn't strengthen its position significantly, President Obama will put a meaningful agreement in Copenhagen at risk," said Martin Kaiser of Greenpeace International. 

Kaiser warned, however, that the weak US position should not be used as an excuse for inaction by other developed countries.

"The leaders of Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand should be calling on President Obama to lift his ambitions rather than using them as an excuse to lower their own. The goal here is to keep global temperature rise to well below two degrees C.  You can't change the science, the politics can and must be changed."

* The EU, which promotes itself as a leader but still hasn't come up with the long-promised financial commitment to help developing countries adapt to climate change, stop deforestation and move to a low carbon economy.

EU Finance Ministers, who meet on June 9, in the middle of the UNclimate talks, must agree to pay 35bn euros a year to help developing countries adapt to climate change, stop deforestation and shift to alow carbon economy.

* Japan is in the midst of finalising its targets, but appears to be bowing to industry lobbying by considering a target that would see its emissions increase by 2020 instead of agreeing the aggregate targetof 40% reductions by 2020 which is needed.

* Canada is being driven by the dirtiest fossil fuel industry inthe world, tarsands, to come up with, at most, a minus 2% cut by 2020.

*Australia is known as a nation of sheep and coal and things are no different with their climate policy. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is taking a "no we can't" attitude, insisting that other countries commit to taking action before Australia adopts serious targets. The coal industry is thriving.

* New Zealand has abandoned the majority of its climate policies.It has no 2020 target and a weak 2050 target.  Some members of the government don't even accept the climate science.

"Governments need to appreciate that, given the most recent scientific studies on climate change, they are now negotiating an emergency rescue plan for the climate and they have only six months in which to do it. That means over the next two weeks on Bonn we need to see industrialised countries getting behind an aggregate target of 40% cuts by 2020 - and putting money on the table," said Kaiser.

Greenpeace Copenhagen demands: international/press/reports/ climate-demands-short