Call to Action: U.S. Obstructing Barcelona Talks

by Rolf Skar

November 4, 2009

This week in Barcelona, Spain, the United Nations climate change negotiations are tasked with setting the table for the long-awaited talks in Copenhagen. A lot of preparation needs to happen to create a fair, ambitious, and legally binding international treaty in December.

However, halfway through the week-long talks, that important work is not getting done. And the biggest impediment to progress in Barcelona is the United States. There are three main things the U.S. needs to do to move things forward:

1. Make ambitious science-based commitments to reduce its climate pollution (between 25-40% below 1990 levels by the year 2020).
2. Commit to deliver its share of funding to developing countries so they can slash climate pollution and deal with the effects of global warming.
3. Agree to an international treaty that will be legally-binding and enforceable.

Arctic ice melts while the U.S. drags down climate talks

But the U.S. delegation is claiming it cannot negotiate important issues without climate change legislation first being passed by Congress. There are three big problems with that excuse:

First, the bills have been corrupted by big polluters. They simply do not deliver anything close to what scientists say is necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change. Low emissions cuts targets and loopholes in the bills allow for dirty business as usual.

Second, even if the legislation was science-based and effective, Congress does not time before December to pass the bills. 

Third, the President is charged with leading U.S. foreign policy and negotiating treaties, not Congress. President Obama should not take the back seat as a slow-moving Congress drives U.S. climate policy towards failure.

The clock is ticking towards Copenhagen. We have about thirty days before those talks begin. Our climate and our future are too important to let political excuses get in the way of real action. 

Please call the person in charge of the U.S. delegation in Barcelona — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — at 202-647-5291 and tell her the U.S. needs to lead climate talks, not drag them down.

If you cannot get through on the number above call the lead U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern: 202-647-9884.

Use your own words, but here is a sample call script you can work from:

My name is _______, calling from ________. I’m calling because I think climate change is the single most important issue facing the world, and I understand that the US is continuing to obstruct real progress at the U.N. talks in Barcelona. This is outrageous, and it’s not what the American people voted for when they elected President Obama a year ago.

It’s time for U.S. leadership to stop listening to industry and start listening to science. We need a fair, legally enforceable treaty at Copenhagen, not more foot-dragging in Barcelona.

Spread the word — tell your friends and family to make a call today. You can use that retweet button on the top right of this post, or use those little icons up under the title of this blog to post a link to your Facebook, send an email, or post to most any other social network.

For the climate,


Rolf Skar

By Rolf Skar

Rolf Skar is the Campaigns Director at Greenpeace USA. Since 2007, Rolf has contributed to international Greenpeace campaigns to stop deforestation in the Canadian boreal forest, the Paradise forests of Southeast Asia, and the Brazilian Amazon.

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