16 Jun 2008

Hope for climate action: petition Japan now

Two weeks of global climate negotiations have just wrapped up with no real progress. The rich nations are clearly the culprits, refusing to take the lead and commit to emissions cuts that will bring the rest of the world on board. Campaigners now think the best hope is the G8 summit chaired by Japan in a couple of weeks time. If Japan's Prime Minister offers bold leadership, the G8 summit could be a breakthrough. But, so far, he is pushing in the wrong direction.

Photos: Beech trees in Standish woods at the weekend - already in SE England and East Anglia beech trees are suffering from the changes weather conditions. Ecologists are suggesting we could loose most or all beech trees from the SE in coming years as a result of climate change - see here.

Next Wednesday, June 18, international campaign group Avaaz will hand-deliver their new climate petition to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. They want 250,000 voices in a few short days. Sign the petition:

We've already shown that a global public outcry on climate change can move Fukuda's policy. Asahi Shimbun, Japan's second-largest newspaper, told the story in a lengthy article this January. At a critical, high-level meeting on global warming after the UN negotiations in Bali, the Environment Minister reportedly held up Avaaz's "Titanic" newspaper ad - showing Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda, with Bush, steering towards climate disaster... along with a call for tough 2020 emissions targets, signed by 90,000 Avaaz members. The minister reportedly said: "The world sees Japan as a force resisting change! Are we okay with this?"

The Chief Cabinet Minister suggested setting a target. Days later, after having steadfastly resisted the idea at Bali, Prime Minister Fukuda announced his decision: Japan would, indeed set a 2020 emissions target. Now, five months on, Fukuda has indeed laid out a target - but it falls far short of what scientists say is necessary to avert a climate catastrophe. This year's G8 summit will begin on the same day as the Tanabata festival, when citizens write their wishes on pieces of paper and hang them from bamboo trees. This Wednesday, Avaaz are calling us to send the biggest-ever Tanabata wish: for a climate change treaty strong enough to save the planet.

Report warns of dangers

It is only a few weeks ago that a decisive report showed the extent to which climate change is already disrupting global ecosystems and the planet's wildlife. The report was compiled by eminent independent climateologists and scientists from around the world and published in the science journal 'Nature'. It offers conclusive evidence that 90% of environmental damage and disruption around the world can be explained by rising temperatures, most likely driven by human activity.

This report not only appears to confirm what we already know, but demands urgent policy frameworks to prevent the most damaging consequences of climate change - a global temperature rise of above 2oC. Here was Green MEP Caroline Lucas' comment: "Unlike the three grey political parties, the Green Party has the policies and ideas that propose serious solutions to climate change. Such policies would mean ensure that cutting emissions would bring immediate benefits in the shape of increased employment, decreased fuel poverty, and stronger communities - as well as demonstrating good faith with developing nations by adopting the 'Contraction and Convergence' model which places the greatest onus for reducing emissions on the developed nations which are most responsible for producing them."

Call for Feed-in tariffs

Another petition you might consider signing is for feed in tariffs - in Germany, electricity generated by householders and industry, using new renewable technologies such as solar power, attract a favourable price set by the Government and fixed for a number of years. There is an obligation for the energy companies to buy that electricity at the set tariff. Once the new technology has been established and become economically viable, as for example with wind power, the tariff is reduced to the regular market rate. In the U.K., solar and geothermal power on a small and large scale, and the budding but underfunded wave and tidal power industries, would benefit greatly from such a tariff. The U.K. could be self sufficient in renewable energy, and a world leader in wave generation technology, but only if Government help is forthcoming. The Government recently gave the impression they had ruled this option out but now seem to be warming to the idea again.

If you agree to the UK having the same chances of renewable energy security that the Germans already have, why not sign the petition:

One way to campaign - but not mine!!

Watch a short film of French man Alain Robert's climb of the NY Times Building here.

A grand jury has just rejected all criminal charges against the guy. He faced charges of Trespassing, Graffiti, Reckless Endangerment and Disorderly Conduct, which could have resulted in up to one year in jail. But the grand jurors listened, about the time taken to assure the climb would be safe to onlookers and the climber. Two counts of disorderly conduct remain, but these are not criminal charges - more like a parking ticket under New York law. Alain said afterwards: "As long as greenhouse gas emissions continue to climb, so will I.
But we need as many people as possible with us."

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