For release December 7, 2009
Greenpeace Media Release
Greenpeace occupies Parliament roofs to shout “Climate inaction costs lives”
Harper and Ignatieff targets of climate action
(Ottawa) — On the opening day of pivotal climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, 19 Greenpeace activists have occupied roofs on the Parliament Buildings to highlight the failure of Prime Minister Harper and Opposition Leader Ignatieff to help end the growing loss of human lives from the ever-worsening climate crisis.
Watch live streaming video of the action now at: www.qik.com/gpcqik
The Greenpeace action targets Harper and Ignatieff for their failure to support legally binding, science-based targets that will lead to significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Greenpeace activists have unfurled banners on the Parliament reading “Harper/Ignatieff: Climate Inaction Costs Lives;” and “Harper/Ignatieff: L’inaction climatique coûte des vies.”
“Harper and Ignatieff are failing to take seriously the staggering human tragedy of the climate crisis,” said Mike Hudema, Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, hanging from the roof of the West Block. ”Hundreds of thousands of people die every year and millions more are displaced because Canada and other developed counties don’t take action on climate change. The Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF) warns that this is just the beginning of the human tragedy of climate chaos.”
The findings of the GHF report, “The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis”, indicate that “every year climate change leaves over 300,000 people dead, 325 million people seriously affected, and economic losses of US$125 billion. Four billion people are vulnerable, and 500 million people are at extreme risk.”(1) Canada’s response to this crisis is woeful. A recent report ranks Canada as the worst of all G8 countries on tackling climate change. Canada’s emissions are now about 34 per cent higher than the target we promised to meet by 2012 under the Kyoto Protocol, largely due to tar sands development.
In northern Canada, Arctic peoples face the complete transformation of their landscape and way of life. In addition, warmer temperatures have already allowed the pine beetle to ravage BC’s forests, led to increased forest fires, and melting of permafrost. Across the country, the severity and frequency of droughts, forest fires and floods is increasing as a result of climate change.
Greenpeace and 120 partners have mobilized 150,000 Canadians through the KYOTOplus campaign to demand action from Ottawa to prevent climate chaos. Both Harper and Ignatieff have ignored requests to sign on to KYOTOplus and listen to Canadians who want action on climate change.
“Harper says he only supports modest reduction targets, Ignatieff has issued his climate thoughts without any reduction targets at all. It’s unacceptable for them to ignore the demand from Canadians for action,” said Christy Ferguson, Greenpeace climate and energy campaign coordinator. “It is time Harper and Ignatieff stopped serving the interests of the dirty oil industry in the tar sands and helped lead the way to a just and ambitious climate agreement in Copenhagen. Millions of lives depend on climate action.”
This is the fifth action Greenpeace has undertaken since September to bring attention to climate inaction in Canada. The other four were in Alberta and targeted the climate crimes of tar sands development.
(1) Source: The anatomy of a Silent Crisis Human Impact Report: Climate Change Global Humanitarian Forum, Geneva, http://ghfgeneva.org/Portals/0/pdfs/human_impact_report.pdf
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