Greenpeace challenges world leaders to accelerate UN climate negotiations

Chang(e) Caravan concludes outside Bangkok

Feature story - September 26, 2009
On the eve of the United Nations climate negotiations in Bangkok, and 72 days before the Copenhagen Climate Summit, Greenpeace today dared world leaders to stand up, show their mettle and take first step toward lasting climate solutions.

Members of the Chang(e) Caravan pose at the 'Bench of Public Appeals' in 'Ancient Siam,' during the conclusion of the Caravan. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people’s caravan for change which passed through Thailand’s climate change impacted areas aims to gather support in its call for world leaders, particularly United States President Barack Obama, to enact an ambitious, fair and binding climate deal this December in Copenhagen, and to make available necessary funds to protect Southeast Asia’s natural forests, to ensure the future of the region, its biodiversity and its people.

A Greenpeace activist stands in front of the elephants of the Chang(e) Caravan during a press conference at the 'Bench of Public Appeals' in 'Ancient Siam,' during the conclusion of the Caravan. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people’s caravan for change which passed through Thailand’s climate change impacted areas aims to gather support in its call for world leaders, particularly United States President Barack Obama, to enact an ambitious, fair and binding climate deal this December in Copenhagen, and to make available necessary funds to protect Southeast Asia’s natural forests, to ensure the future of the region, its biodiversity and its people.

Alongkot Chukaew of the Thai Elephant research and Conservation Fund speaks in an interview during a press conference at the 'Bench of Public Appeals' in 'Ancient Siam,' during the conclusion of the Caravan. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people’s caravan for change which passed through Thailand’s climate change impacted areas aims to gather support in its call for world leaders, particularly United States President Barack Obama, to enact an ambitious, fair and binding climate deal this December in Copenhagen, and to make available necessary funds to protect Southeast Asia’s natural forests, to ensure the future of the region, its biodiversity and its people.

Representatives from Greenpeace and Thai Elephant research and Conservation Fund conduct a press conference at the 'Bench of Public Appeals' in 'Ancient Siam,' during the conclusion of the Caravan. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people’s caravan for change which passed through Thailand’s climate change impacted areas aims to gather support in its call for world leaders, particularly United States President Barack Obama, to enact an ambitious, fair and binding climate deal this December in Copenhagen, and to make available necessary funds to protect Southeast Asia’s natural forests, to ensure the future of the region, its biodiversity and its people.

Elephants from the Greenpeace Chang(e) Caravan play outside the 'Bench of Public Appeals' in 'Ancient Siam,' during the concluding press conference of the Caravan. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people’s caravan for change which passed through Thailand’s climate change impacted areas aims to gather support in its call for world leaders, particularly United States President Barack Obama, to enact an ambitious, fair and binding climate deal this December in Copenhagen, and to make available necessary funds to protect Southeast Asia’s natural forests, to ensure the future of the region, its biodiversity and its people.

Elephants from the Greenpeace Chang(e) Caravan play outside the 'Bench of Public Appeals' in 'Ancient Siam,' during the concluding press conference of the Caravan. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people’s caravan for change which passed through Thailand’s climate change impacted areas aims to gather support in its call for world leaders, particularly United States President Barack Obama, to enact an ambitious, fair and binding climate deal this December in Copenhagen, and to make available necessary funds to protect Southeast Asia’s natural forests, to ensure the future of the region, its biodiversity and its people.

Elephants from the Greenpeace Chang(e) Caravan play outside the 'Bench of Public Appeals' in 'Ancient Siam,' during the concluding press conference of the Caravan. The Chang(e) Caravan, a people’s caravan for change which passed through Thailand’s climate change impacted areas aims to gather support in its call for world leaders, particularly United States President Barack Obama, to enact an ambitious, fair and binding climate deal this December in Copenhagen, and to make available necessary funds to protect Southeast Asia’s natural forests, to ensure the future of the region, its biodiversity and its people.

The challenge came at the conclusion of the Chang(e) Caravan, a 15-day journey which has taken Greenpeace activists, communities and five Asian elephants across the climate change-impacted central plains of Thailand to tell the story of Southeast Asia's most vulnerable populations and to call for immediate protection of the region's remaining forests, to combat climate change and to safeguard the planet's remaining biodiversity.

The Chang(e) Caravan, which began in the outskirts of Khao Yai National Park in Nakhon Ratchasima province 250 kilometers North of Bangkok last September 12, is one of the most remarkable journeys ever undertaken by the environment organization.

At the closing ceremony held at the 'Bench of Public Appeals' in 'Ancient Siam' in Samut Prakhan province today, Greenpeace expressed its disappointment with world leaders for failing to take decision on financing for adaptation, forest protection and the switch to clean energy in developing countries during the G20 economic summit in Pittsburgh in the United States. Tomorrow, Greenpeace representatives will deliver 'small change for climate,' a people's contribution for the Adaptation Fund to Mr. Yvo de Boer, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, at the opening of the United Nations climate meeting in Bangkok.

"We have heard the voices of some of the most vulnerable and least prepared people during our journey, we have documented impacts of climate change on our water, food and forests, and we have asked world leaders to listen. Today we finish our journey.  But world leaders have yet to take their first step," said Tara Buakamsri, Campaign Manager, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

A Local children play beside a house which lies abandoned in the coast of Klong Dan, Samutprakan province, 30 kilometers south of Bangkok, where coastal erosion has already washed away parts of the town, in this photo taken on September 7. Thirty kilometers out of the province's 45 kilometer coastline is already severey eroded. Sea level rise and storm surges due to climate change are expected to further aggravate the problem, submerging low-lying coastal areas extensively and further relentlessly eroding the remaining coastline.

The 15-day journey of the Chang(e) Caravan with five Asian Elephants rehabilitated by the Thai Elephant Research and Conservation Fund (TERF) is part of the global tcktcktck initiative. The Caravan has organized ground researches, workshops, public hearings and focus group discussions to document actual situations of people already suffering from climate change effects. As part of the journey, Greenpeace has also initiated a study on the climate vulnerability of the Bangpakong River Basin, an important agricultural area in Thailand, which is now experiencing climate change impacts such as flooding, drought, saltwater intrusion, and coastal erosion.

"The Chang(e) Caravan is only one chapter in the ongoing global clamor for climate change solutions, but it represents the challenge that world leaders face and must answer. This is a challenge they can no longer ignore." said Shailendra Yashwant, Campaign Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia. "It is imperative that industrialized countries contribute 140 billion US dollars to invest for the developing world to stop deforestation, adapt to climate change impacts, and shift to a low carbon economy." he added.

Greenpeace is urging developed countries, as a group, to agree to cut emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and deliver the 140 billion USD a year the developing world needs to stop deforestation, adapt to the already inevitable impacts of climate change, and shift to a low carbon economy.

The journey has ended but your voice still Chang(e)s

Ask President Obama to make the smart move by attending the Copenhagen Summit in December!

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