Time is running out for the climate Hillary!

Feature Story - 2009-02-19
Greenpeace China took advantage of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Beijing to give her a small gift reminding her how crucial it is for the US and China to lead a global solution to climate change.

Greenpeace China Campaign Director Sze Pang Cheung delivers THE hour glass to Hillary Clinton.

Greenpeace China Campaign Director Sze Pang Cheung, shivering in the snow and the Beijing cold, delivered a 65cm hour glass, inscribed with the words "time is running out" to express the urgency of joint US-Sino action on climate change to the US embassy for Ms Clinton.

He also delivered an open letter. You can read it here.

This is what he said outside the US embassy:

Humanity is facing the most profound crisis it has ever had to deal with. China and the US, as the largest greenhouse gas emitters in the world, must lead the world in stopping climate change. There will be no solution without leadership from China and the US."

Why all the fuss now?

•Because in December the United Nations will hold a key international conference on climate change in Copenhagen.

•Because at that conference countries must agree to a strong effective plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

•Because the US has a new president, Barrack Obama, whose promises on climate change action are a breath of fresh air.

•Because this is the first visit by a senior US government official to China in Mr Obama's term.

•And because time is running out!

Clinton on the climate

Ms Clinton didn't actually say a great deal during her three-day trip to the Chinese capital.

After she met with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi she said it was "imperative that the United States and China cooperate on a range of issues from the economy to global climate change to development and so much else."

We think that's a tad vague.

Here's our official response.

The US and China have repeatedly expressed their good will to work together on climate change, and it is now time to move on to real joint action. Without dramatic and drastic action and strong leadership from the US and China, there is no solution to the climate crisis - the most profound crisis humanity has ever faced.

There are less than 10 months until the United Nations Copenhagen climate meeting and the world's governments must come up with a strong agreement at that meeting to stop climate change. Time is running out.

The time for action is now.

Sands of time

The hour glass we gave Ms Clinton runs for about nine minutes. Hopefully the world has longer than that - it's a little more than nine months to Copenhagen - but we need to start working on a plan now.

*A quick thank you to Beijing-based artist Joseph Ellis for designing and making the hour glass gift.

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