Obama: When Will You Be a Climate Leader?

Press release - 2009-11-16
Greenpeace slammed the Danish/US attempt to lower expectations for Copenhagen during the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit that ended in Singapore yesterday. And along with over 30,000 Chinese people, Greenpeace also urged US President Barack Obama to demonstrate real climate leadership.

Climate and energy campaign manager Yang Ailun delivers our Obama: be a climate leader gift to the US embassy.

APEC represents most of the world's largest climate polluters, including the US, China, Indonesia, Japan, Australia and Canada.

"Instead of pushing for a successful Copenhagen deal, the Danish proposal, welcomed by the US, put President Obama's political difficulties ahead of preventing global climate disaster. EU and Chinese leaders must publicly oppose this back down from a legally-binding climate agreement in Copenhagen," said Yang Ailun, Greenpeace China's Climate & Energy Campaign Manager.

Tens of thousands of Chinese people are joining Greenpeace in an online petition (http://icare.greenpeace.org.cn/Obama/climateleader/index.html) to send a public call to President Barack Obama for urgently-needed climate leadership.

As of Monday November 16, more than 30,000 people had shown their support by turning the major part of a grey mosaic portrait of President Obama into a traditional paper cut design.

"This paper cut represents Chinese people's concern about climate change and their demand for President Obama's personal and direct responsibility. Climate change impacts are already affecting millions across the developing world and strong actions are needed now. There is no excuse for postponing an ambitious, fair and legally-binding outcome in Copenhagen," Yang said.

The paper cut, showing a confident-looking President Obama standing in front of wind turbines, is marked with the words: "Obama, Be a Climate Leader" in both Chinese and English. Two days ahead of the US President's visit, on November 13, Greenpeace delivered the paper cut to the US Embassy in Beijing.

"The US president is supposed to make foreign policy. Obama is instead defending the ability of Congress to make foreign policy and taking his cues from legislation he has taken little part in developing. He is stalling an international agreement just to protect Congressional politics. As if he wants nothing to do with climate policy decisions, he also won't campaign for stronger US legislation," said Kyle Ash, Legislative Director of Greenpeace US Global Warming Program.

US climate legislation, currently in the US Congress, translates into a weak target of only a 4-7% reduction in greenhouse pollution by 2020 over 1990 levels when scientific consensus argues for at least 25%.

"The world needs Obama to exert his executive powers to push for and sign a strong climate treaty at Copenhagen," Kyle added.

"It is not too late yet for President Obama to step up and make the US a real champion at the Copenhagen climate negotiations." Yang Ailun concluded.

VVPR info:

Hans Xu: Media officer for foreign correspondents, Greenpeace China

Office: +86-10-65546931-123, Mobile: +86-13401098073,

Ailun Yang: Climate Campaign Manager, Greenpeace China

+86-10-65512602 ext 106; +86-13910514449;

Kyle Ash: Senior Legislative Director, Climate Change, Greenpeace US

Mobile: +86-15311702272;