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Climate in Crisis, Leaders Asleep

Last year, the world seemed to wake up to climate change.

This year, it's falling back asleep.

Two weeks of global climate negotiations have just wrapped up -- with no real progress. The rich nations are the culprits, refusing to take the lead and commit to emissions cuts that will bring the rest of the world onboard.[1]

Our best hope: within weeks, those rich country leaders will gather at the G8 summit chaired by Japan. If Japan's Prime Minister offers bold leadership, the G8 summit could be a breakthrough. But, so far, he is pushing in the wrong direction.[2]

So it's up to us. Next Wednesday, June 18, we will hand-deliver our new climate petition to Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda. If we can muster 250,000 voices in a few short days, we can sound a global alarm on climate that Fukuda and the other G8 leaders cannot ignore. Sign the petition and forward this message to friends:

We've already shown that a global public outcry on climate change can move Fukuda's policy. Asahi Shimbun, Japan's second-largest newspaper, told the story in a lengthy article this January. At a critical, high-level meeting on global warming after the UN negotiations in Bali, the Environment Minister reportedly held up Avaaz's "Titanic" newspaper ad -- showing Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda, with Bush, steering towards climate disaster... along with a call for tough 2020 emissions targets, signed by 90,000 Avaaz members.

"The world sees Japan as a force resisting change! Are we okay with this?" the minister reportedly asked. The Chief Cabinet Minister suggested setting a target. Days later, after having steadfastly resisted the idea at Bali, Prime Minister Fukuda announced his decision: Japan would, indeed set a 2020 emissions target.[3]

Now, five months on, Fukuda has indeed laid out a target -- but it falls far short of what scientists say is necessary to avert a climate catastrophe.

This year's G8 summit will begin on the same day as the Tanabata festival, when citizens write their wishes on pieces of paper and hang them from bamboo trees. [4] This Wednesday, let's send the biggest-ever Tanabata wish: for a climate change treaty strong enough to save the planet.

Sign the petition here, and spread the word:

People created the climate crisis. If we join together, people power can end it.

With hope,

Ben, Ricken, Iain, Graziela, Galit, Paul, Pascal, Veronique, Mark, and Milena -- the team


[1] Reuters: "Rich nations fail to take lead at climate talk: UN." 12 June 2008.

[2] AFP: "Japan's move on climate "doesn't go far enough": UN climate boss"

[3] For more on Avaaz's campaigning in Bali, see the Asahi Shimbun piece linked off the petition page, or click here:

[4] Tanabata festival.