Friday, 19 June 2009 9:21 AM

As UN Talks Flounder, Greenpeace Sounds the Alarm for the Climate

Greenpeace activated a loud alarm outside the UN climate talks in Bonn last week, Friday, calling for emergency action on climate change.

Press Release: Sydney, Australia

Locked onto the back of a truck, activists set off the siren in an attempt to wake up governments who are sleepwalking their way into catastrophic climate change instead of working towards a strong climate agreement to be concluded in Copenhagen in December.

"There is a group of countries who clearly have absolutely no intention of saving the planet from dangerous climate change," said Steve Campbell, Greenpeace Australia Pacific Campaign Director. "Australia, the US, New Zealand, Japan and Canada are acting as if there is no climate crisis at all, and are putting their own short term political self-interest ahead of this global emergency"

As it stands, the combined average target for the developed world amounts to greenhouse gas emission cuts of a mere 8-15% below 1990 levels by 2020. Australia will only act if others do; Japan will cut emissions by only 8%; New Zealand has yet to make any commitment to a target at all; Canada's emissions are likely to increase; and the US is dragging its feet with a paltry 4% cut.

To have any chance of staying below a global temperature rise of two degrees C, these countries must make combined cuts of 40% by 2020 and virtually eliminate their greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To date, the targets they have announced could see the world heading towards a three degree C average global temperature rise, or more, which would wreak havoc on the climate.

"A three deg C rise in global temperature would lead to catastrophic and irreversible consequences for the planet. We would effectively sign the death warrants for the Great Barrier Reef, Australia's agricultural heartland and Kakadu National Park. We could lose every third species on the planet, most of the Amazon rainforests and trigger irreversible melting of Greenland and West-Antarctic ice sheets.

Countries are gambling with gigantic consequences which, if triggered, cannot be reversed with all the money in the world. Yet we are seeing none of the same urgency or seriousness with which the world has treated the global economic crisis".

"Prime Minister Rudd must take personal responsibility to turn the talks around by attending December's Copenhagen Climate Summit. Global heads of state must avert a climate catastrophe and guarantee the strong climate deal the world needs," said Campbell.

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