Updates: news releases and updates

Statement on President Obama's Nobel Prize

Posted Oct. 9, 2009 / Posted by: NBerning

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Nick Berning, 202-222-0748
Kelly Trout, 202-222-0722

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica had the following statement on today's announcement that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to President Barack Obama, in part because of his work on climate change:

"We offer our sincere congratulations to President Obama for receiving this honor. It reflects his commitment to tackle profoundly important issues and re-engage the world community, as well as his ability to inspire hope and optimism that bold change is possible. The award will heighten the global community's already-high expectations of our President for more responsible U.S. engagement in the world.

"We have concerns though, that the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded President Obama this award on the basis of expectations that have not yet been met. While President Obama has pledged to solve climate change at the international level it is important to note the United States is still playing a counter-productive role in the ongoing climate negotiations. At this moment U.S. negotiators are in Bangkok attempting to undermine existing agreements and shirk wealthy nations' responsibility to lead the way in solving the climate crisis.

"We must also note that the United States' war in Iraq continues while the country debates a massive escalation of the war in Afghanistan. In addition, the United States is still committing serious human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay and Bagram Airbase. We hope President Obama acts, consistent with the recognition he has received today, to end these wars and stop human rights abuses.

"Failing to solve the climate crisis in a just and equitable way and end the ongoing wars will undermine peace in our world and undermine basic human rights. We hope that President Obama's receipt of this award prompts him to re-think his administration's approach. The United States must play a leadership role in the world. While the President's openness to diplomacy and international negotiations are a welcomed change, they must be matched by tangible action.

"President Obama will receive his award in Oslo, Norway, on December 10 -- the same time that climate negotiations will be taking place in Copenhagen. We urge him to travel to Europe at this time not just to accept an award, but also to ensure that a strong and fair climate agreement is achieved."

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Friends of the Earth and our network of grassroots groups in 77 countries fight to create a more healthy, just world. We're progressive environmental advocates who pull no punches and speak sometimes uncomfortable truths to power. Our current campaigns focus on clean energy and solutions to global warming, protecting people from toxic and new, potentially harmful technologies, and promoting smarter, low-pollution transportation alternatives.

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