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Greenpeace Activists Greet G20 Leaders with Massive Banner on the West End Pittsburgh Bridge
“Road sign” underscores the danger of global warming inaction
WASHINGTON - September 23 - Greenpeace activists are in the process of rappelling off of Pittsburgh’s iconic West End bridge with a massive banner displaying their message to G20 leaders gathering for tomorrow’s summit. The banner, nearly 80-feet by 30-feet in size, took the form of a stylized “road sign” that warns of the political maneuvering and delay that have put a international climate treaty in jeopardy as the world enters the final stretch on the road to Copenhagen.
The message comes on the heels of a major address by President Barack Obama on climate change at the UN, where he warned of the tremendous danger the world faces from global warming but failed to commit his country to the science-based action necessary to stop it.
Key to the meeting here is a commitment by wealthy nations to invest at least US$140 billion annually by 2020 in order to help the developing world adjust to unavoidable climate impacts, build a clean energy economy, and preserve tropical forests. In July, President Obama and other leaders tasked G20 finance ministers to work on climate finance and report back on progress at the G20 summit.
“It is imperative that developed world leaders do not fail again in Pittsburgh. They must put money on the table to support developing countries” said Damon Moglen, Greenpeace USA’s global warming campaign director. “It is also critical for G20 leaders agree to kick-start economic recovery through clean energy investment. Both of these elements are vital to achieve a good deal in Copenhagen and avert catastrophic climate change. (1)
Economic recovery is dependent on tackling climate change. If leaders fail to take the actions urgently needed this year, climate impacts will likely cost over 20 percent of global output—more than the Great Depression and both World Wars combined— in addition to the human deaths and species’ extinction, according to Lord Nicholas Stern, former World Bank chief economist. (2)
Tackling climate change and investing in energy would be a fraction of this cost, just one or two percent of global GDP (3). A recent report from Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council shows the renewable power industry could support 8 million jobs by 2030, if governments switched from carbon intensive energy to renewables. (4)
The G20 leaders of developing countries must demonstrate leadership in Pittsburgh, the final time they will meet ahead of the Copenhagen climate summit, and break the deadlock plaguing climate talks by:
- Kick-starting growth by agreeing here and now to develop clean technologies for the future, creating jobs while lowering carbon emissions to keep global temperature rise as far below 2 degrees Celsius as possible.
- President Obama, Chancellor Merkel, President Sarkozy and other industrialized country leaders must take responsibility and send a strong signal that they will put money on the table – at least US$140 billion annually by 2020 – to support clean energy and other mitigation activities, forest protection and adaptation in developing countries.