Greenpeace response to the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh


Pittsburgh, United States — Greenpeace today called on leaders of the industrialised world to match rhetoric on climate change with action as the world counts down to the Copenhagen Climate Summit in December.

Following a high level climate change meeting at the U.N. in New York, leaders of the G20 traveled to Pittsburgh, where climate finance, a key part of sealing the deal in Copenhagen, was on the agenda. Unfortunately, the G20 economic summit wrapped up today with no decision on financing for adaptation, forest protection and the switch to clean energy in developing countries, choosing instead to instruct finance ministers to take the issue to their next meeting.

“In their UN speeches, leaders sounded the climate alarm but they got to Pittsburgh and hit the snooze button,” said Patricia Lerner of Greenpeace International. “The G20 has proved to be yet another meeting where climate change and clean energy were discussed but concrete commitments were postponed to sometime in the future.”

The G20 agreed to phase out fossil fuel subsidies ‘in the medium term’ but did not set a specific date asking finance ministers and relevant institutions to report back to the leaders at the next summit.

“Greenpeace has been calling for the phase out of perverse fossil fuel subsidies for more than a decade so we welcome this acknowledgement from the G20 leaders that we are in a hole and need to stop digging. However, there must be a timeline for putting down the shovel.” said Lerner

The Copenhagen Climate summit begins in 72 days.

“In all, this has been an unacceptable week for anyone worried about climate change and anxious to see real action to tackle it,” said Lerner

“While China and Japan made encouraging statements that could help to move climate negotiations forward in New York, US President Barack Obama failed to show the world his country is willing to do what is necessary to avert a climate catastrophe.

“In contrast, the leaders of more than 40 small and low-lying islands put forward a strong moral imperative for early and decisive action – their survival - a harsh reality that should inform the actions of the industrialised world’s leaders from now forward.”

“Fast forward to the G20 and the leaders of the developed world, notably Obama, Merkel and Sarkozy, once again failed to take the step that could rebuild trust and generate momentum towards Copenhagen – putting money on the table for developing countries to respond to climate change.”

Contact information
Patricia Lerner, Senior Political Advisor, Greenpeace International: +1 202-412-8787 or +31 646 162 027

Steve Herz, Climate Finance Advisor, Greenpeace International: +1 510 2824792

Beth Herzfeld, Greenpeace International Media Officer: +1 202 683 0237 or +44 (0)7717 802 891

Stephanie Tunmore, Greenpeace International Communications: +44 (0)7769 94 7451

Michael Crocker, Greenpeace USA Media Director: +1 202 215 8989


Published on: 2009-09-27



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