George A. Papandreou (born June 16, 1952) is Former Prime Minister of Greece, current President of Socialist International, a Member of the Hellenic Parliament and former President of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). He served as the 11th Prime Minister of Greece from October 6, 2009 - November 11, 2011, after PASOK’s victory in the October 2009 national elections.

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Initiatives for collective action to revert climate change

George A. Papandreou’s call for collective action, in his capacity as President of Socialist International, addressed to the Secretary General of the UN, the President of the USA and the Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives, in order to revert climate change.

H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon
Secretary General of the United Nations

“Dear Secretary General.

I write on behalf of the Socialist International to urge you to make global warming one of the top priorities of the United Nation under your new leadership.

I am well aware that on taking up your new post you declared your intention “to do far better in the mission to halt climate change” and pledged to put this issue, which presents a grave threat to economic and social development and the very future of humanity, high on the United Nations agenda. Only a few days ago, you reiterated this commitment during your meeting with Mr. Yvo de Boer, Secretary of UNFCCC.

The consequences of climate change are growing more visible and alarming daily, just as the resulting costs are mounting. Unfortunately, progress in international negotiations to achieve a just, effective, and comprehensive policy to protect our environment and reduce global carbon emissions beyond 2012 is not going forward with a speed commensurate with the urgency of the problem.

At the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, the Secretary of UNFCCC identified the major obstacle to be that “industrialized countries fear unwillingness on the part of their developing country competitors to act and are therefore reluctant to take the first step themselves”. At the same time, “developing countries fear that a new round of climate negotiations would impose on them obligations that would hurt their economic goals.”

But as the recently published Stern Report and IPCC report conclusively prove, all parties face far worse consequences if we fall to take immediate and collective action to revert climate change and develop more sustainable and secure sources of energy and patterns of production. Such action need not harm developing countries’ efforts to improve their citizens’ quality of life though the eradication of poverty, better healthcare and economic development.

While the onus lies with developed countries, who are both the biggest polluters and the strongest economies, the developing world is also being called upon to undertake their responsibilities and adopt concrete measures for the protection of our planet. This is a particularly sensitive issue. As a matter of social equity, I believe we need to develop support mechanisms for developing countries that would allow them to comply with their responsibilities, while at the same time safeguarding their development.

It is our belief at Socialist International that your good services and efforts are urgently required to mobilize the necessary leadership at the level of heads of state and government in order to break the current deadlock and move the process forward quickly for the benefit of all the citizens of the world. In this respect, rest assured that you have a large number of allies around the world, including the European Union, whose 27 Member States are currently considering action to cut carbon emissions unilaterally by at least 20% by 2020, with an increase to 30% if other major carbon emitters join this commitment. And, of course, you have the full and unconditional support of the Socialist International.

We must work together to ensure that future generations are not deprived of their right to a secure, clean, and sustainable environment.”

George A. Papandreou
President of PASOK &
President of Socialist International

* * * * * * *

The Honorable George W. Bush
Presldent of the United States of Amerlca

Cc: H.E. Mr. José Manuel Barroso
President of the European Commission

“Dear President Bush,

The clear slgns of global warming In every corner of the world are now too numerous to ignore. The adverse consequences of this phenomenon endanger all aspects of our health, economy, social fabric, and development potential, not to mention the many species of fauna and flora now threatened with extinction. The international community cannot afford to delay further. We must commit to urgent and binding initiatives to ensure that the biosphere on which we all depend is not damaged beyond repair.

The scientific consensus that global warming is now a reality we must all face – or face devastating consequences – is no longer refutable. The IPCC Report, released this week by the world’s most respected scientists and environmentalists, including eminent scientists from the United States, provides conclusive evidence that our future is fraught with environmental dangers. All major international studies, such as the recent Stem Report, point out that delay in addressing the problem will result in much higher impacts and miff gation costs.

On January 10, the European Commission put forth proposals calling for a minimum 20% unilateral reduction of the European Union’s GHG emissions by 2020, to be increased to 30% if other major carbon emitters join our commitment. It is clear that the European Union alone cannot reverse the continuing increase of global carbon emissions.

The United States continues to be the largest single GHG emitter and also the world’s largest economy. This dual responsibility, but also the development opportunities that may result from developing alternative, renewable sources of energy, has been acknowledged domestically by a number of state authorities, major corporations and prominent US politicians, as evidenced by the 2005 Sense of the Senate Resolution and the draft bllls introduced in Congress.

We, of the Socialist International, call on you to join the global effort to address climate change now. The Kyoto Protocol is a good starting point to coordinate our efforts. We ask you to take the initiative to immediately take binding measures to reduce carbon emissions in the United States and to engage fully, constructively and with the same sense of urgency felt by the majority of the world’s citizens in the ongoing international negotiations to curb global carbon emissions post 2012.

We urge the United States to join the nations of the European Union and other like-minded nations to make sure that future generations are not short-changed or denied their right to a secure, clean, and sustainable environment.”

George A. Papandreou
President of PASOK &
President of Socialist International

* * * * * * *

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC.

“Dear Nancy,

In your new capacity as Speaker of the House, the priorities and initiatives that you have already announced bode well for a better, brighter future for the people of the United States and, we hope, the rest of the world. Please rest assured of our full support and cooperation in all areas of common concern.

I am taking the initiative on behalf of the Socialist International to convey our full agreement with your recent statement that “for the sake of our future generations, America must provide strong leadership to reduce emissions that are responsible for global warming”.

The clear signs of global warming In every comer of the world are now too numerous to ignore. The adverse consequences of this phenomenon endanger all aspects of our health, economy, social fabric, and development potential, not to mention the many species of fauna and flora now threatened with extinction. The international community cannot afford to delay further. We must commit to urgent and binding initiatives to ensure that the biosphere on which we ail depend is not damaged beyond repair.

As you know, the United States continues to be the largest single GHG emitter, as well as the world’s largest economy. This dual responsibility puts the onus on the United States to be at the forefront of the fight to address this threat to humanity.

In recent years, the Unlted States has not been as active as it was in the 1990s when its leadership was instrumental in creating the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and wen the Kyoto Protocol. However, during the last year, thanks to the initiative of members of both houses of Congress, a new momentum is building. The Sense of Senate Resolution of 2005 and the latest draft resolution of Senators Biden and Lugar, the draft legislation introduced by, among others, McCain, Lieberman, Bingaman, Kerry and Snow in the Senate and Waxman, Oliver and Gilcrest in the House, and the Committee hearings announced by Chalrrnen Dingell, Boxer and others all provide heartening evidence that the tlde is turning. At State level, the groundswell for action has already swept the Western Pacific Northeastern states.

On January 10, the European Commission put forth proposals calling for a minimum 20% unilateral reduction of the European Union’s GHG emissions by 2020, to be Increased to 30% if other developed and developing countries join this commitment. It is clear that the European Union alone cannot reverse the continuing increase of global carbon emissions.

We, of the Socialist International, call on you to take a leading role in carrying through legislation that would result in an immediate reduction of carbon emissions in the United States and a full and constructive re-engagement with international negotiations. We must act collectively, with the same sense of urgency felt by the majority of the world’s citizens to achieve a global course of action to revert global warming, building on the existing framework that the United States was so instrumental in formulating in the 1990s.

We urge you to press for concrete action from Congress to ensure that the US, hand-in-hand with the EU and other like-minded nations, leads the good fight so that future generations are not deprived of their right to a secure, clean, and sustainable environment. Unless we a d now, it may be too late.”

George A. Papandreou
President of PASOK &
President of Socialist International

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