G-8 inaction on climate will hit coastal Asians hard

Greenpeace calls for Global Energy [R]evolution

Feature story - July 7, 2008
Greenpeace called on G8 countries for decisive action against climate change, pointing that developing countries like Thailand face dire consequences of inaction by the world’s richest countries. Activists from Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior unfurled a banner saying “G8 Stop Climate Change – Lead the Energy [R]evolution” at the popular mermaid monument on Samila beach of Songkhla, where the impacts of sea-level rise due to climate are predicted to hit hard.

Activists from Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior unfurled a banner saying “G8 Stop Climate Change – Lead the Energy [R]evolution” at the popular mermaid monument on Samila beach of Songkhla,Thailand July 7, 2008. The impacts of sea-level rise due to climate are predicted to hit hard on coastal countries in Asia. Greenpeace called on G8 countries for decisive action against climate change, pointing that developing countries like Thailand face dire consequences of inaction by the world’s richest countries.

Activists from Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior unfurled a banner saying “G8 Stop Climate Change – Lead the Energy [R]evolution” at the popular mermaid monument on Samila beach of Songkhla,Thailand July 7, 2008. The impacts of sea-level rise due to climate are predicted to hit hard on coastal countries in Asia. Greenpeace called on G8 countries for decisive action against climate change, pointing that developing countries like Thailand face dire consequences of inaction by the world’s richest countries.

Activists from Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior unfurled a banner saying “G8 Stop Climate Change – Lead the Energy [R]evolution” at the popular mermaid monument on Samila beach of Songkhla,Thailand July 7, 2008. The impacts of sea-level rise due to climate are predicted to hit hard on coastal countries in Asia. Greenpeace called on G8 countries for decisive action against climate change, pointing that developing countries like Thailand face dire consequences of inaction by the world’s richest countries.

"Climate change is the greatest threat humanity faces, and has mainly been caused by G8 countries. Over 80 percent of the emissions in the atmosphere today have been produced by the G8. These countries still emit more than 40 percent of global CO2 emissions, despite being home to only 13 percent of the global population but its developing countries who will bear the brunt of climate change. It is the responsibility of G8 leaders to make clear binding commitments to fight climate change," said Tara Buakamsri, Campaign Manager of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

Even under the most conservative scenario, sea-level will be about 40 cm higher than today by the end of 21st century and this is projected to increase the annual number of people flooded in coastal populations from 13 million to 94 million. Almost 60% of this increase will occur in South Asia, while about 20% will occur in South-East Asia, specifically from Thailand to Vietnam including Indonesia and the Philippines. (1)

Over 80 percent of the emissions in the atmosphere today have been produced by the G8. These countries still emit more than 40 percent of global CO2 emissions, despite being home to only 13 percent of the global population but its developing countries who will bear the brunt of climate change.

The G8 summit was founded in 1975 as a response to the economic impact of rising oil prices. Climate change is a relatively recent addition to the G8 agenda. In 2000, the G8 proposed an ambitious programme for the expansion of renewable energies but it was never followed up.

"The environmental and economical impacts of oil and coal 's recent spurt in prices and the inevitable reality of climate change demands that a future powered by renewable energy is the only way to secure the worst impacts of climate change and ensure economic security," said Mareike Britten, Greenpeace International campaigner on board the Rainbow Warrior. "There must be no support for coal as there is no such thing as 'clean coal'. G8 leaders and the World Bank are set to announce new Climate Investment Funds at Toyako. These Funds fail to define the 'clean technologies' they are meant to support. Therefore, they are part of the problem not the solution, and likely will end up subsidizing the world's worst energy choice: coal. Subsidising coal in the name of climate protection is madness and these funds are opposed by Greenpeace, communities in Asia and other civil society groups."

"There must be no support for coal as there is no such thing as 'clean coal'. G8 leaders and the World Bank are set to announce new Climate Investment Funds at Toyako. These Funds fail to define the 'clean technologies' they are meant to support. Therefore, they are part of the problem not the solution, and likely will end up subsidizing the world's worst energy choice: coal."

Mareike Britten

Greenpeace International campaigner

Greenpeace is demanding that the G8 leaders in Japan keep global average temperature increases way below a 2 degree Celsius rise as possible compared to pre-industrial levels. Industrialised countries must take the lead and commit to 30 percent cuts by 2020 and 80-90 percent by 2050 compared to 1990 levels.

Greenpeace has shown that global energy demand can be met without nuclear energy or carbon capture and storage coal: www.energyblueprint.info.

After successful campaigning in New Zealand and Philippines, the Rainbow Warrior is in  Thailand to spearhead the Greenpeace "Quit Coal, Lead the Energy [R]evolution Tour". The tour aims to promote solutions to stop climate change -- an energy revolution that heralds a massive shift to renewable energy to ensure energy security and peace. 

1) (Wassmann et al., 2004). IPCC 2007, 4th Assessment Report WG2 Chapter 10 P. 484

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