WASHINGTON, DC — US Green Party leaders expressed their dismay with the failure of the UN summit in Copenhagen to reach an agreement on international action to curb climate change.
Greens have been especially critical of the grossly inadequate emissions reduction proposals that the US and other rich countries brought to Copenhagen, the lockout of NGOs from the Bella Center while oil company executives were welcomed, the brutal treatment of protesters in Copenhagen, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s announcement by that concrete measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would be replaced by vows of transparency and good intentions.
Cynthia McKinney, 2008 Green Party nominee for President of the United States: “The ‘Copenhagen Accord’ announced on the final day of the summit is a sham. It was not adopted by UN delegates and carries no force. The US is trying to invalidate the UN’s efforts by pressuring developing countries to sign on to the Copenhagen Accord, threatening to withhold their share of the $100 billion in wealthy countries’ compensation from developing countries that refuse to sign. The compensation money is meant to help offset the economic effects of measures against climate change and the dire consequences of climate change that many developing nations will suffer. This is blackmail of the worst kind, placing billions of lives in danger. Unless a real and binding accord can be reached during next year’s meeting in Mexico, the Copenhagen failure risks a breakdown in global security, when the increasing effects of global warming lead to global conflicts over dwindling resources.”
Mike Feinstein, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States, former mayor of Santa Monica, California, and participant in the December 2007 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali: “What is the legacy of the Copenhagen meeting? No emissions reduction targets. No requirement for verification of progress from nations on emission reductions. No acknowledgment that developed industrial countries have created most of the problem and therefore must carry most of the burden of the solution. No firm commitment on mitigation and adaptation aid from developed countries to developing countries, especially in light of decades of exploitation and taking of resources from poorer nations and skyrocketing consumption rates in countries like the US. The US and its Canadian and European allies must be held responsible, as should growing large-scale greenhouse gas emitters like China and India, for placing the freedom of nation-states to continue polluting and growing in a cancerous, unsustainable manner ahead of the future of people and the earth. Failing to deal with climate change is a crime against our planet. Dividing the global community by pitting large emitters against the poorest and most vulnerable is a crime against humanity..”
Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party’s EcoAction Committee: “The two most important causes of climate change — excess consumption and excess population growth — were apparently never raised in or around Copenhagen. The solution to the former is the adoption of energy conservation as the linchpin of national energy policies in the industrialized world. The solution to the latter is the promotion of family planning, sex education, and contraception, which require securing rights and equality for women throughout the world. If we don’t take our own steps to check population growth, global warming will do it for us.”
Martin Zehr, co-chair of the EcoAction Committee: “International diplomacy has proven inadequate in addressing the most fundamental issue confronting humanity. The hedged bet will be paid by future generations. With or without an agreement in Copenhagen, Greens will continue to include the voices of scientists and environmentalists in policy development and work to reduce the dominance of corporations in decisions about climate policy. It is clear that states, such as California, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas need special attention in the national effort to reduce emissions. We’ve made water a top priority, since access to fresh water faces a particular threat from global climate change. The EcoAction Committee of the Green Party is increasing its role in public education, providing policy support to Green candidates and working with others towards a sharp reduction of GHG emissions at the federal and state levels no later than 2015. The failure of the Copenhagen conference to establish real targets for energy transition makes our work that much more important if we are to see any change in direction.”