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World has only 100 days left to achieve fair global climate deal, warn civil society groups

Bangkok, THAILAND _ The world has only 100 days to go before governments must agree on a new global climate treaty that will protect millions of lives and the planet’s ecosystem from devastating climate change impacts, civil society groups warned.

Calling for world leaders to protect the planet’s future, 100 school children aged between 12 to 14, waved umbrellas in a colorful parade to form a human clock and the messages “Tck Tck Tck and “ACT NOW!” outside United Nations Building in Bangkok which will host a crucial UN climate conference in about one month.

The children are from Tessaban 1 School in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, two hours north of Bangkok. The province is home to Thailand’s Khao Yai National Park, the country’s oldest national park and UNESCO World Heritage site.

“With a snail’s pace progress and disappointing outcomes during previous rounds of UN climate talks this year, it’s now high time for leaders to book their tickets to go to Copenhagen and take this matter into their own hands,” said Dinah Fuentesfina, a spokesperson for Asia Pacific’sTcktcktck campaign, whose name mimics the sound of a ticking clock.

“We want political leaders to be in Copenhagen and show historic leadership by signing a global climate deal that is ambitious and fair, and with legally binding targets for countries which contributed most to the problem.”

The campaign launched “100 Reasons Why Asia Needs A Fair Climate Deal” a list of threats facing the region if the world doesn’t manage to tackle climate change effectively. Among the highlights, gathered from various studies launched in recent years, is the fact that Southeast Asia is the world’s leading agricultural producer but at the same time the most vulnerable to climate change-induced disasters, with eight out of ten capital cities at risk from sea level rise being here.

Studies also showed the region has the largest number of unique species threatened by rapid human-driven climate and land-use change, with up to 50% of Asia’s total biodiversity being at risk.

“There is certainly no shortage of reasons for a breakthrough in Copenhagen, but a terrible lack of political will to ensure a low carbon future and concrete commitments to cut emissions”, Fuentesfina added.

The members of the campaign – among them some of the world’s leading aid and environmental nongovernmental groups – demanded a fair deal that is satisfactory to both developing and developed countries, while also effective in minimizing and slowing down the catastrophic impacts of climate change on people around the world, particularly the poor.

So far, developed nations have largely failed to make commitments to take decisive measures that would cap their emissions – despite strong scientific evidence that the impacts of climate change are already badly affecting people and nature around the world.

“Developed countries need to cut their emissions by at least 40% from 1990 levels by 2020 to avoid economic, social, and environmental catastrophe. This is not an option, but an obligation, if we are to save the lives that are already at risk,” said Fuentesfina.

“In order to achieve that, rich countries must provide financial and technical support for poor countries to help them adapt to the changing climates and make a smooth transition toward a low-carbon society”, she added.

“There’s no more time to waste. Leaders can still save lives or even reverse those disastrous impacts. You can still choose to make a difference.”

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EDITOR’S NOTES:

 At present, the European Union has committed to emission cuts of 20 percent on 1990 levels by 2020. The EU said it will up this target to 30 percent by 2020 if other countries endorse similar targets.
 Despite the call for scientifically-based reductions of 40 percent by 2020, supported by a growing number of New Zealanders, the government has committed to at most a 20 percent cut by 2020 if other countries agree an international climate deal in December, with a fallback of just 10 percent reductions if they don’t get their way in international negotiations.
 Australia will reduce up to 25% from 1990 levels by 2020, but both countries have made their targets heavily conditional on actions by other countries.
 In the US, the Obama administration has said it aims at bringing emission levels back to 1990 levels by 2020. The House of Representatives has passed legislation that would be slightly more ambitious, and that is now discussed in the Senate.
 Japan has announced a target to reduce emissions by 8 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. However, at the elections this weekend the opposition party DPJ might replace the leading LDP and raise the target. The DPJ has argued for 25 percent cuts from 1990 levels by 2020.
 The biggest emerging economies, countries like China, India, Brazil, Mexico or South Africa, have not yet announced absolute emission reduction targets, but a series of ambitious measures to cut CO2. India and China want industrialized countries to go for 40 percent cuts by 2020 instead of the weaker targets they are currently committed to.
 Scientists have warned the global average temperature must not exceed a 2 degrees Celsius rise if we want to avoid runaway climate change and keep Earth’s life support system going. Two degrees Celsius is the target endorsed by more than 100 governments. However, even warming of 2 degrees Celsius entails a devastating future for at least 660 million people and the world’s biodiversity.
 According to Global Humanitarian Forum Report, climate change already causes global economic losses of US$125 billion per year, with 90 per cent of the burden falling on developing countries.
 In the past few decades, cereal production has declined in many parts of Asia due to increasing water stress, partly linked to climate change (worsening drought from El Nino, warmer temperatures and less regular rainfall).

About Tcktcktck:

The Tcktcktck campaign brings together an unprecedented alliance of faith groups, NGOs, trade
unions and individuals at this crucial time to call for a new international treaty that will save the planet
from the dangerous effects caused by climate change. As world leaders prepare to strike a climate deal
in Copenhagen in December, tcktcktck will harness the voices of the people to demand an ambitious,
fair and binding new international agreement that reflects the latest science. Time is running out. You
can show your support by going to tcktcktck.org and joining the campaign.

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For more information, event photos and VDO footage, please contact:
Shailendra Yashwant, Campaigns Director, Greenpeace Southeast Asia,
Tel: +66(0)81 667 0103
Tara Buakamsri, Campaign Manager, Greenpeace Southeast Asia,
Tel: +66(0)8 947 69977
Uamdao Noikorn, Regional Media Coordinator, Oxfam GB
Tel: +66(0)81 855 3196

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