Bail out the planet or you're not getting out

Posted by jamie — 10 March 2009 at 6:20pm - Comments

Greenpeace volunteers blockade a meeting of EU finance ministers in Brussels

Bailing out the planet in Brussels © Eric de Mildt/Greenpeace

Hundreds of Greenpeace volunteers from 16 countries arrived in Brussels today and set up a barricade around the conference centre where EU finance ministers are meeting to discuss funding options to tackle climate change. Linking arms to block the exits, the volunteers were determined not to let the politicians out until they agreed a proposal to bail out the planet.

(Twitter was a-buzz with regular updates from the scene - look back over the #climateaction tag.)

We've seen the obscene amounts of money which have been thrown at the ongoing financial crisis; now we need another large cash injection to protect us from the worst effects of climate change. As one Greenpeace campaigner in Brussels put it, "If the planet were a bank, they would bail it out."

The specific proposal being discussed was funding for developing countries which would help them reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Extra finance is also needed by these countries to cope with the effects of a changing climate which we're already witnessing.

The figure Greenpeace is proposing for this is 35bn euros per year by 2020 which, yes, is a lot, but up against the cash being pumped into economic recovery plans around the world, it's starts to look like small change. South Korea alone has $36bn slated for its plan, while President Obama's much-discussed plan comes in at $787bn. Numbers on this scale are usually associated with the distances between stars and galaxies, not spending plans.

These talks will have a direct impact on the stance that the EU takes at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen this December, and the action taken this morning shows how far global talks have to go before we get the green bail out we need. (Coincidentally, Copenhagen is also the venue for the International Scientific Congress on Climate Change being held this week where leading climate scientists are discussing the latest evidence from round the world, and already the news isn't looking good.)

Unfortunately, the volunteers were arrested and remvoved by police before decision time and despite their tenacity, most of them have been arrested. We're still waiting for the outcome of the meeting, but the ministers present certainly knew what was going on outside.

If that's a compliment, thanks!

web editor

If that's a compliment, thanks! web editor gpuk

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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