While the finely tailored and pampered leaders of the G8 met in Italy to talk the issue of climate change to death and do nothing tangible about it, activists with a more realistic sense of urgency started to take the necessary action to start cutting greenhouse gases right now.
Brave environmental activists from Greenpeace actually took a bold climate initiative today, doing so in my grandfather’s homeland of Italy, where they occupied four coal-fired power plants. It’s a shame they didn’t hold those plants hostage until they turn those plants into “clean coal” plants. Your Greenius wishes he was there with them because coal-fired power plants are the enemy of mankind and deserve to be shut down until they stop killing people and the climate.
In the United States, a different set of high climbers made another powerful statement this time directly on the face of Mount Rushmore with a banner as long as Lincoln’s face reading:
“Americans honor leaders, not politicians. Stop global warming.“
In case they haven’t gotten the clue yet, it’s now time for both the general public and the people who get paid to lead them to stop wasting time and lives and take crisis level action on climate change without any further delay.
As the smart folks at Solve Climate write in their coverage from yesterday:
Climate activists have reason to pour on the pressure. The world’s most-polluting nations had talked about a goal of halving emissions by 2050, but those numbers are nowhere in the lateset draft G8 statement because of opposition from China and India, Reuters reports.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made his position clear in a statement before the meeting: “What we are witnessing today is the consequence of over two centuries of industrial activity and high-consumption lifestyles in the developed world. They have to bear this historical responsibility.”
Outside Venice, 15 Greenpeace activists climbed a 160-meter-tall power plant stack and cranes to hang banners reading: “G8 – Take Climate Leadership” and “Energy Revolution = Clean Jobs”.
“There is no more time to waste,” British activist Ben Stewart said from the top of the smokestack. “The G8 leaders must stop putting the interests of big coal and other climate-polluting industries ahead of the planet and take strong, decisive leadership on climate change.”
Greenpeace is calling on the G8 leaders to agree to keep the global temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius, ensure that global emissions peak by 2015, commit to cutting emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, invest $106 billion in adaptation and mitigation in developing countries, and establish a fund to stop deforestation in the Amazon, Congo Basin and Indonesia by 2015.
The emissions goal, based on the recommendations of the IPCC, is far higher than what the U.S. Congress and President Obama are proposing, which is one reason Greenpeace came out against the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) bill that squeaked through the U.S. House last month.
In the U.S., Greenpeace climbers began rappelling down Abraham Lincoln’s forehead this morning at Mount Rushmore with their banner in a statement meant to challenge President Obama to greatness on global warming.
“If the rest of the G8 descends to President Obama’s stated goal of returning emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, then our children will inherit a world of droughts, famines and the climate catastrophe that scientists are warning us about,” Greenpeace USA Executive Director Phil Radford said from L’Aquila.
“The G8 heads of state must break the deadlock in the climate negotiations and stop blaming developing countries for their own inadequate climate policies.”
UPDATE: Eleven protesters were arrested at Mount Rushmore on charges of illegal climbing and trespassing. In Italy, the coal plant protesters were still going as night fell. One wrote on Twitter: “Goodnight from the top of Italy’s worst coal power plant, Brindisi, occupied for 20 hours so far.”