Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Politicians talk, leaders act: Greenpeace

by Ben O’Halloran
GREENPEACE ships have sailed into Copenhagen to turn up the heat on climate change delegates during the two-week conference.
The environmental activist group has two ships moored in the city's harbours, with another on the way.
Greenpeace spokesman Sini Harkki said the Arctic Sunrise, its premier ship, is moored near the airport.
Its message - Stop Climate Change Here - can be seen by visitors flying into the Danish capital.
Greenpeace have messages all over the city including advertisements inside the airport aimed at particular heads of states, including American president Barack Obama and French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Ms Harkki said the ads, such as the Greenpeace ad opposite, contained images of what world leaders such as Obama and Sarkozy would look like 10 years from now if no agreement is reached at COP15. The images include the caption, ‘Sorry, we could have stopped catastrophic climate change, but we didn’t’.
“The ads are very scary but they help take our message to delegates and heads of state,” she said.
Greenpeace has a big presence inside and outside the conference at Bella Center, with awareness campaigns, youth delegations and action rescue teams planned for the conference.
Ms Harkki said she is optimistic about the conference and believes negotiators will agree to a legally binding treaty.
She said there was a political momentum building: “There are over 100 heads of state coming, Obama is coming … so it would be a waste of this momentum not to have an agreement made here.
“I don’t think we will gain anything by postponing, it might just mean that things that are already agreed on will be re-opened for negotiation for the next rounds, and that’s something we should try to avoid,” she said.
Greenpeace wants an agreement forged in Copenhagen to contain significant and clear commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
“We need to stay as far below a two degree temperature rise and we know that to get that we need a 40 per cent reduction in emissions by industrialised nations by 2020,” she said.
“We also need to get cuts in the emissions growth from the developing countries.
“We’re hoping for some kind of action plan that does not compromise these counties development.”
Greenpeace would also like to see funds from the industrialised countries go to developing countries to help ease the burden and help developing countries adapt to any change an agreement would impose.
With such a presence at COP15, Greenpeace hopes to shake the foundations of political debate and work with delegates inside the Bella Center and in the streets with the people of Copenhagen.
“There is really no time for political talk anymore, we need to get clear commitment on paper in a legally binding manner,” Ms Harkki said.

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