For Immediate Release
Greenpeace Makes Urgent Call for Climate Action From Face of Mt. Rushmore
Challenges President Obama to lead the world in fighting global warming
WASHINGTON - This morning, 11 daring Greenpeace climbers
hung a banner on Mount Rushmore challenging President Obama to show
real leadership on global warming. The banner, measuring sixty-five
feet high by thirty-five feet wide, features an unfinished portrait of
Obama with the message, "America honors leaders not politicians: Stop
Global Warming." The demonstration comes as President Obama meets other
G8 leaders in L'Aquila, Italy today to discuss the global warming
crisis in the lead-up to UN climate treaty negotiations in Copenhagen
**Watch Daring Protest Live at www.greenpeace.org/rushmore**
"This monument celebrates leaders who rose to the great challenges of
our past. Global warming is the greatest crisis humankind has ever
faced and it is the defining test of leadership for this generation.
It's an open question whether President Obama will pass that test,"
said Greenpeace USA Deputy Campaigns Director Carroll Muffett.
To highlight the issue, 11 activists completed a challenging climb to
the top of Mount Rushmore, and three rappelled down, hanging the nearly
2300-square-foot banner as they descended. The activists, highly
trained in rock and industrial climbing, took special care not to
damage the monument, using existing anchors placed by the National Park
Service for periodic cleanings. The demonstration follows a series of
protests in Italy this morning where other Greenpeace activists hung
banners on coal plant smokestacks calling attention to the collective
failure of leadership on global warming at the G8.
"We're at a moment in history where President Obama must show real
leadership on global warming, not only for Congress and the American
people, but for the world. Unfortunately, the steps taken to address
the crisis so far have been grossly inadequate," said Muffett. "While
President Obama's speeches on global warming have been inspiring, we've
seen a growing gap between the president's words and his actions."
The best science shows that to avoid catastrophic global warming,
governments must take action to keep global temperature rise as far
below 2 degrees Celsius as possible. "Given President Obama's pledge
to follow the science, it's troubling that his administration has not
yet endorsed emission targets strong enough to keep us below that
Earlier this year, the experience with climate legislation in the U.S.
House of Representatives, which was drastically weakened by lobbyists
for the oil and coal industries and other big polluters, showed that
unless the president provides strong leadership on this issue, special
interests will win out over the common interest.
"Doing what it takes to solve global warming demands real political
courage," Muffett added. "If President Obama intends to earn a place
among this country's true leaders, he needs to show that courage, and
base his actions on the scientific reality rather than political
Greenpeace is calling on President Obama to use every tool at his
disposal, both within and outside Congress, to strengthen U.S. climate
policy with scientific integrity, and to take that policy to Copenhagen
in December as evidence the U.S. will do what it takes to solve the
Specifically, Greenpeace is calling on President Obama to:
- Strive to keep global temperatures as far below a 2 degrees Celsius
increase as possible, compared to pre-industrial levels to avert
catastrophic climate change;
- Set a goal of peaking global emissions by 2015 and be as close to zero as possible by 2050, compared to 1990 levels;
- Cut emissions in the U.S. by 25-40 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels;
- Join and encourage other members of the G8 to establish a funding
mechanism that provides $106 billion per year by 2020 to help
developing countries adapt to global warming impacts that are now
unavoidable and halt tropical deforestation.
Greenpeace is also calling on President Obama to attend the Copenhagen
conference personally to ensure a strong, science-based agreement is
For live streaming video, pictures, and footage visit: www.greempeace.org/rushmore
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