As the most important meeting on climate for ten years opened in Bali today, Greenpeace unveiled a giant thermometer outside the conference, warning delegates to avoid rising global temperatures from reaching dangerous levels.
The 6.7m high thermometer’s message: “Don’t cook the climate!” It will be there for the next two weeks.
“For years, governments have let us, their citizens, down by failing to get to grips with the problem of climate change. They’ve left us increasingly exposed to the biggest threat that civilisation has ever faced,” said Stephanie Tunmore of Greenpeace International.
”In Bali, Governments have to get down to business - and act on the basis of the alarming scientific findings about climate change that they themselves approved just two weeks ago. That means keeping the planet’s temperature as far below 2ºC as possible. Millions, especially the world’s poorest people, are already suffering from climate impacts such as storms and floods.”
In order to keep temperatures at safe levels, global emissions must peak by 2015 and then start falling. In real terms, this means industrialised countries committing to cut emissions by at least 30 per cent by 2020 and at least 80 per cent by 2050. Globally, emissions must be halved by 2050. This must happen under the Kyoto Protocol’s second phase, which comes into force in 2012.
The developed countries, responsible for over 80 per cent of all the man-made emissions currently in the atmosphere - must also find ways to help the developing world to deal with the impacts of climate change and to obtain clean technology.
“We also must see more developing countries agreeing to tackle their own emissions,” said Yang Ailun of Greenpeace China.
The 2009 agreement must also see funding for adaptation, a mechanism for the transfer of clean technology and a separate mechanism on tropical deforestation, which contributes about one fifth of global emissions.
Greenpeace believes it is possible to keep the worst impacts of climate change - such as extreme weather events, water crises and increased hunger - from putting millions of people at risk. This will take a revolution in the way we use and produce energy, and a strong commitment to stop deforestation worldwide.