Governments need to put saving the climate back on the UN climate talk agenda

Press release - April 2, 2011
Following the climate conference in Cancun, where governments scrambled to salvaged international negotiations and acknowledged the need for more ambitious greenhouse gas emission reductions, it’s now time for saving the climate to be put back on the agenda.

From April 3-8, governments will meet in Bangkok with the aim of agreeing on a workplan for the UN climate negotiations in 2011, leading to COP17 in Durban.

“In the run up to the Deep Water Horizon and Chernobyl anniversaries and in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, an energy debate is raging around the world. People are asking how can we combat climate change without relying on dirty and dangerous energy sources like nuclear power and fossil fuels. Governments meeting in Bangkok have both an obligation and an opportunity to design a climate protection system which promotes clean and secure renewable energy systems,” said Tove Maria Ryding, Greenpeace International Climate Policy Coordinator.

“Governments must live up to their promise to take bolder and faster action on climate change,” continued Ryding. “In Bangkok, they will also discuss the function of a new international technology mechanism to promote green energy solutions. The world does not have to choose between climate disasters and disasters caused by dangerous energy like nuclear. We can choose a safe future where our societies are powered by renewable energy. But in order for that to happen, the world’s governments need to show a willingness to change their energy sectors and promote green technologies”.

Since the Cancun climate conference in December, some countries have already started to take further steps. In March the European Commission outlined a roadmap for achieving at least 80 % domestic greenhouse gas emission cuts in the European Union by 2050.  The roadmap confirms that Europe’s current 2020 climate target of 20 percent cuts is out of date, and actually worse than business as usual, because implementing EU’s existing targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency would already result in 25 percent cuts.

“Updating Europe’s domestic 2020 climate target to at least 30 % would mean more jobs, more investment, smaller energy bills and safer energy. So we are confident that by the COP17 in Durban the EU will have drawn conclusions and upgraded their target. Until that happens, the EU should stop any nonsensical talk about Europe’s climate leadership.”

Furthermore, China has adopted a Five-Year Plan  which includes actions for reducing its emissions.

“The perception that developed countries are the only ones setting binding targets for climate action is out of date. Like other big polluters, China’s targets are not strong enough, and should be seen as  minimum thresholds. But it is clear that along with other initiatives China is edging ahead in the race to the future by creating the most attractive renewable energy market in the world.”

For further information:

Greenpeace Communications, Caroline Chisholm, +31 64 616 2018 (in Bangkok)

Greenpeace International Climate Policy Coordinator, Tove Maria Ryding: +45 28 78 08 83 (in Bangkok)