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Greenpeace: Time is Running Out!

Time is Running Out!

Montreal, Canada - Greenpeace today unveiled a four metres tall hourglass outside the UN Climate Change Conference in Montreal to remind the arriving delegates that time is running out. The climate summit - the first since the Kyoto Protocol entered into force - opens today, beginning two weeks of crucial negotiations on climate protection.

"Time is running out for the climate. Climate change is not a distant problem to be dealt with sometime in the future. In fact we have very little time left to avoid the most catastrophic impacts. Without prompt, decisive action from governments here we will soon find ourselves riding a runaway train and it will be impossible to apply the brakes," said Stephanie Tunmore, Greenpeace International Climate Campaigner in Montreal.

If climate change goes unchecked many of its effects will be irreversible. Glaciers in western China are expected to have largely disappeared by 2100; summer sea ice in the Arctic could be lost well before the end of the century according to some models, leaving polar bears, ice-dependent seals, walruses and certain sea-birds facing extinction; and over the next several decades there is a risk that regional climate changes combined with the effects of forest clearing could flip the ecosystems of the Amazon from forest to grassland or desert.

Greenpeace believes that the goal of climate policy should be to keep global average temperature rise to below 2ºC above pre-industrial levels, a position also adopted by the European Union Heads of Government. It is still economically and scientifically possible to do this with known technological means. The decisions made in Montreal will determine whether or not those options remain viable.

Greenpeace also believes that by strengthening and expanding the Kyoto Protocol for the next phase (2013 - 2017) a strong signal will be sent that will increase confidence in the carbon market and encourage business to invest in low carbon technology. The process for this should begin here in Montreal and be completed by 2008.

"The 156 Governments who have ratified the Kyoto Protocol now have the obligation to show that they mean it. They must get on with negotiating the next phase of Kyoto, with much stronger emission reduction targets for industrialised countries. We hold this planet in trust for our children and our children's children. Are we really prepared to look them in the eye and say 'Sorry, we just ran out of time'?" concluded Tunmore.

Greenpeace is an independent, campaigning organisation, which uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutions essential to a green and peaceful future.

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