Meeting that challenge will define a generation and dictate the extent of the impacts to be felt by generations to come. Governments will write the next chapter of this saga in Copenhagen, in December 2009. Here they must step up to this challenge and put the world on the path to sustainable development. New science demonstrates that an increase in global temperature of even 1.5°C could lead to irreversible impacts. We therefore need a pathway that will keep us as far below 2°C as necessary.
Climate change is not just a human tragedy but changes the very basis of survival on this
planet. Failure to agree on a strong, effective deal in Copenhagen will accelerate the demise into competing smaller entities, resource wars, disruption, refugees, and natural catastrophes.
The road to Copenhagen, for Greenpeace is to encourage and provoke countries into thinking hard about the level of ambition, scope and detail that needs to be agreed in Copenhagen, the path to get us there and what comes afterwards.
The overall ambition of the Copenhagen deal must be to keep the rise of the world’s average annual temperature as far below 2°C warming as necessary, compared to pre-industrial levels, to avoid catastrophic climate change. We need a global plan that peaks global greenhouse gases’ emissions as soon as humanly possible and enables us to return to well below current levels.
All countries must contribute to preventing dangerous climate change. However, the largest share of responsibility for staying within the carbon budget rests with the industrialized countries, obligating them to reduce emissions at home whilst enabling and supporting developing countries to develop in a low-carbon manner. The Energy [R]evolution scenarios show that it is technically possible to greatly reduce emissions without resorting to nuclear power.
For avoiding a catastrophic climate change, it is needed a legally binding emissions reduction obligation for industrialized countries, as a group, of at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2020, three quarters of which need to be met by domestic actions.
Developed countries must make deeper and quicker cuts in their greenhouse gas emissions than previously thought (in the 15-30% range respect to the forecasted growth).
Greenhouses gas like carbon dioxide stay in the atmosphere for a long time (a century or so); that’s the reason why rich countries have more responsibilities and are asked to make the biggest effort and to provide significant financial, technological and capacity building support that can be monitored and measured to ensure that developing countries have the means to stay within such a carbon constrained budget and to begin to remedy the historical inequities.
In Italy, in July, We had the important G8 summit. It was a step in the road to Copenhagen. Over 100 Greenpeace activists from 15 countries occupied four coal-fired power stations across Italy, demanding that the G8 Heads of State meeting in L’Aquila take decisive leadership on climate change.
On my desk there’s a copy of an International Herald Tribune dated December 19, 2009. The headline read “Heads of State Agree Historic Climate Saving Deal.” Is a spoof newspaper by Greenpeace, but it is a hope too, because it is still not too late .
Greenpeace Press Officer in Italy