Greenpeace ship arrives for Earth Summit

CAPETOWN, South Africa – The Greenpeace ship Esperanza arrived here on a cold, blistery Aug. 14 morning in connection with the upcoming U.N. World Summit on Sustainable Development. The Summit will open Aug. 26 in Johanesburg, South Africa.

Capetown has a big port and is also home to South Africa’s parliament. Greenpeace activists hope to focus attention on the importance of the summit.

Mike Townskey, Greenpeace spokesperson said that the environmental movement’s mission is to highlight three objectives. First “that there are 2 billion people on the planet, or one in three, who have no electricity. It is possible in today’s world to give them electricity through renewable energy and not nuclear power.”

Greenpeace is advocating a program that calls for 10 percent of the world’s energy to be based on renewable sources by 2010, Townskey said.

Second, Townskey stressed that it was important to focus on “rescuing” world goverments. “Government needs to take back the authority they were elected for. That means taking it back from corporate control.”

Third, Greenpeace is also stressing the importance of Multi-Environmental Agreements (MEA’s) taking precedence over World Trade Organization-type accords.

“Greenpeace is working at naming and shaming the bad guys,” said Townskey. He argued that the environment and development are two sides of the same coin.

Commenting on the recent floods in Europe and Asia he maintained that “climate change is real and is happening. It is too great to ignore. Bush’s failure to sign the Kyoto protocol must be seen in this context.”

“Europe is starting to wake up,” he continued. “If Bush sits it out, the U.S. itself will pay the price.”

The author can be reached at jsims@politicalaffairs.net