Three Monkeys Online

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World Leaders credit campaign of civil disobedience for Global Climate pact

World leaders like Angela Merkel, Lula De Silva, and Ban Ki Moon appear on the front page of the ‘International Herald Tribune’ announcing a historic climate-saving deal. Full details here

There was only one catch: the paper was fake.

Looking exactly like the real thing, but dated December 19th, 2009, a

million copies of the fake paper were distributed worldwide by thousands

of volunteers in order to show what could be achieved at the Copenhagen

climate conference that is scheduled for Dec. 7-18, 2009. (At the

moment, the conference is aiming for much more modest cuts, dismissed by

leading climate scientists as too little, too late to stave off runaway

processes that will lead to millions or even billions of casualties.)

The paper describes in detail a powerful (and entirely possible) new

treaty to bring carbon levels down below 350 parts per million – the

level climate scientists say we need to achieve to avoid climate

catastrophe. One article describes how a website,,

mobilized thousands of people to put their bodies on the line to

confront climate change policies – ever since way back in June, 2009.

Although the newspaper is a fake (its production and launch were

coordinated by Greenpeace), the website is real. is part

of a growing network of websites calling for direct action on climate

change, building on statements made in recent months by noted political

figures. (For example, in September Nobel laureate Al Gore asserted that

“we have reached the stage where it is time for civil disobedience to

prevent the construction of new coal plants.”)

Leading American environmentalist Bill McKibben was enthusiastic about

the newspaper’s message and the methods calls for. “We

need a political solution grounded in reality – grounded in physics and

chemistry. That will only come if we can muster a wide variety of

political tactics, including civil disobedience.”

“Non-violent civil disobedience has been at the forefront of almost

every successful campaign for change,” said Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes

Men, who helped write and edit the newspaper and are furnishing the

technology for “Especially in America, and especially

today, we need to push our leaders hard to stand up to industry

lobbyists and make the sorts of changes we need.”

“Roosevelt would never have been able to push through the New Deal if

people hadn’t taken to the streets, occupied factories, and demanded

it,” noted newspaper writer/editor and University of California

professor Lawrence Bogad. “Segregation, British rule in India, and

apartheid wouldn’t have ended without a lot of people being creatively

uncooperative – even if that meant getting arrested. Nonviolent civil

disobedience is the bread and butter of progress.”

The fake newspaper also has an ad for “Action Offsets,” whereby those

who aren’t willing to risk arrest can help those who are.


Today’s fake International Herald Tribune is part of a rash of recent

publications which mimic prominent newspapers. Last November, a fake

edition of the New York Times announced that the Iraq War was over. A

few days earlier, a hoax USA Today featured the US presidential election

result: “Capitalism Wins at the Polls: Anarchy Brewing in the Streets.”

And this April 1st, a spoof edition of Germany’s Zeit newspaper

triumphantly announced the end of “casino capitalism” and the abolition

of poor-country debt.

The rash of fakes is likely to continue. “People are going to keep

finding ways to get the word out about common-sense solutions those in

power say are impossible,” said Kelli Anderson, one of the designers of

the fake International Herald Tribune and co-designer (with Daniel

Dunnam) of

“We already know what we need to do about climate change,” said Agnes de

Rooij of Greenpeace International. “It’s a no-brainer. Reduce carbon

emissions, or put the survival of billions of people at risk. If the

political will isn’t there now, it’s our duty to inspire it.”

See this ‘historic climate-saving deal newspaper front page here’

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