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"Don't Let Us D(r)own"

One Day Left For A Deal To Stop Dangerous Climate Change Greenpeace Call To Conference: "Don't Let Us D(r)own"

THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS, Nov 23rd 2000 - An alarm the equivalent volume of standing next to a plane taking off was set off by Greenpeace activists outside the United Nations climate conference to sound the alarm of one day left to determine the future of the climate. Activists also climbed a building opposite the conference and unfurled a banner which read "Don't let us D(r)own" while inside the US was getting it’s way in ensuring that rich countries make money from these negotiations while poor countries bear the brunt of climate change.

A new report released at the conference by the World Health Organisation, stated that "strategic climate policies could prevent 8 million deaths globally that would occur between 2000 and 2020 as a result of pursuing business as usual," meaning that if no action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

"It's crunch time for the world's climate and this conference," said Greenpeace campaigner Stephanie Tunmore. "If the country delegates can't agree on a strong climate treaty to cut greenhouse gases, we will face catastrophic changes in world weather patterns. The recent extreme flooding in Europe and Australia will become a regular event."

The United States is leading a group of countries comprising; Australia, Canada and Japan, which is attempting to create large loopholes in the text of the climate treaty to avoid their commitments to cut greenhouse gas emissions at home. The European Union has rejected the U.S. proposal and is trying to close these major loopholes.

"Small changes in the text of the treaty can allow countries to increase their emissions by millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and could result in millions of deaths," said Tunmore.

The Kyoto protocol commits the 39 industrialised nations to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to an average of 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by the period 2008-2012. The major greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, which is emitted mainly by burning fossil fuels. The Kyoto Protocol will not take effect until it is ratified by 55 percent of the nations representing at least 55 percent of the greenhouse gas reduction commitment. Political leaders from 180 countries arrived last week for two weeks of negotiations on how to implement the Kyoto Protocol. The negotiations end officially on Friday.

While the US-led group of countries continues to stall on taking action, warnings from the world's scientific community are growing stronger about the dangers of climate change. The 3,000 scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in a final draft of its third five year scientific assessment, reportedly states that human pollution has "contributed substantially" to global warming and the earth is likely to get a lot hotter than previously predicted.

The assessment reportedly concludes, that if greenhouse emissions are not curtailed, the earth's average surface temperatures could be expected to increase from 1.5-6.0 deg by the end of this century, much higher than their previous 1995 estimate of 1.0-3.5 degrees Celsius. This temperature increase would be a larger and faster than at any time since the last Ice Age and is predicted to lead to widespread extinction of plant and animal species which cannot adapt to such rapid changes.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jon Walter, Greenpeace International, Press Office, (m)+31(0)653504731 Susan Cavanagh, Greenpeace International, Press Office(m) +31(0)621296910 or www.greenpeace.org Stills and footage available: { HYPERLINK http://www.greenpeace.org/library/picturedesk.html }http://www.greenpeace.org/library/picturedesk.html or contact: John Novis +31 (0)653819121 or Martin Atkin +31 (0)627000057

end

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