European Union leaders thank activists for pressure on global warming

“It was only thanks to your massive pressure over the past six months that we could so dramatically shift our climate-change policies…. To those who were arrested, we thank you.”

Ever heard such a statement from a politician? Me either. Yet, last week, EU leaders thanked European citizens who’d participated in months of non-violent direct action on the causes of global warming, and noted this activism had resulted in the political will to address climate change in a meaningful manner.

The catch? The edition of the International Herald-Tribune, in which these statements appeared, was fake… if you look closely at the online version of the spoof paper, you’ll see a date of December 19, 2009 (the end of the upcoming Copenhagen climate talks).

A collaboration between Greenpeace and The Yes Men (who also appeared at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival), the June 16th fake IHT was, according to Greenpeace’s official statement on the action, an “optimistic fairy tale” about what could come out of Copenhagen. The use of the term “fairy tale” doesn’t necessarily imply pessimism, though: Mike Bonanno of The Yes Men told me

The bright side of all this is that we know exactly what we need to do and its perfectly attainable. Cut emissions. A lot. It’s not rocket science — in fact quite the opposite… we are very hopeful that we’ll hit the tipping point soon on this issue, before its too late.

Daniel Kessler of Greenpeace echoed this sentiment, noting

Greenpeace is hoping against hope that our satirical piece was a glimpse into the future. We believe a fair deal in Copenhagen is possible, but only if the US begins to play a more active role. We are calling upon President Obama to commit to policies that will hold warming below 2 degrees Celsius. If the US leads, others will follow.

Want to help push the US into that leadership role? Want to be one of those activists that our leaders end up thanking?  You really don’t have to risk arrest. Instead, visit THE UNITED STATES OF EFFICIENCY, a campaign by Earthjustice and Sundance to pressure Secretary of Energy Steven Chu to focus on one of the easiest ways to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions: energy efficiency. Take a look at the resources on efficiency, and then sign the petition. It’s an easy way to stand up for strong political action on climate change, and help make sure that, when December 19 really rolls around, headlines like the ones created by Greenpeace and The Yes Men aren’t simply fairy tales…

Image credit: © Reynaers/Greenpeace Reproduced by permission, and reproduction permission must be sought from the original copyright source listed on these images.