09mA historic deal that heralds a new epoch of policymaking and campaigning has been agreed last Saturday in Paris. Yet the agreement falls far short of the grand rhetoric declared by world leaders at the opening of the Paris events two weeks ago. An ambition to keep global temperature rises below 1.5 degrees is a positive step forwards, but the Paris agreement falls far short of an adequate plan to make this a reality.

Martin Galea De Giovanni, Director of Friends of the Earth Malta said: “The Paris climate deal will require people-power to make politicians live up to their rhetoric, If we're going to avoid warming above 1.5 degrees a lot more needs to be done. People now know that this time, we can’t count on the goodwill of our governments to save the world. The transformation to socially-controlled, renewable energy, is underway, led by the real leaders – the people. If people's solutions are embraced universally, and not further held back by decision-makers, nor undermined by corporate incentives, we could together make huge strides along the path to climate-safe societies.”

Jagoda Munic, chairperson of Friends of the Earth International said: “Instead of acting with ambition and urgency, our governments are acting in the interests of powerful lobbies and corporations, but people are taking back the power. History will not be made in the convention centre, but on the streets of Paris and round the globe. The climate justice movement is unstoppable and will continue to expand in 2016 and beyond. A handful of politicians will not stop the energy revolution.”

Friends of the Earth International believes that despite the hype, the Paris agreement will fail to deliver. Politicians say it is a fair and ambitious deal – yet it is the complete opposite. People are being deceived. Rich countries must make their fair share of emissions cuts and provide finance and support to developing countries to help them adapt to the impacts of climate change. Instead, they are failing to cut carbon emissions and the finance they have offered is insufficient.

According to Friends of the Earth International three major problems stem from the Paris talks:
- The draft Paris deal states that 2 C is the maximum acceptable global temperature increase, and that countries should pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C. This is meaningless without requiring rich countries to cut their emissions drastically and provide finance in line with their fair share, and places the extra burden on developing countries. To avoid runaway climate we need to urgently and drastically cut emissions, not just put it off.
- Without compensation for irreparable damage, the most vulnerable countries will be left to pick up the pieces and foot the bill for a crisis they didn’t create.
- Without adequate finance, poor countries will now be expected to foot the bill for a crisis they didn’t cause. The finance exists. The political will does not.

On Saturday over 2,000 activists from the Friends of the Earth International federation, joined by thousands more from Paris sent a global message for climate justice and peace, writ large across the city in a peaceful protest. [1]

Friends of the Earth International is one of many civil society organisations that have used The People's Test on Climate 2015 to assess the Paris climate agreement.

The demands in the Test cover the key pillars of what would have constituted a just deal: a commitment to keeping us well below 1.5 C warming while dividing the carbon budget using the fairshares principle; finance and support in line with rich nations' climate debt; a just, systemic transformation; and justice for impacted communities, including compensation for irreparable climate damage. [2]


[1] Thousands of individuals spelled out “Climate Justice Peace” across Paris using geo-localisation software, recorded online here: http://www.climatejusticepeace.org/
The Friends of the Earth demonstration is followed by a number of peaceful demonstrations planned by a broad coalition of organisations including the French Coalition Climat 21.
Demonstrations include the ‘Climate State of Emergency’ gathering at the Eiffel Tower, co-organised by Friends of the Earth France, Alternatiba and allies, and a ‘Red-Lines’ action organised by 350.org, ATTAC and others.
[2] The People's Climate Test is available at http://peoplestestonclimate.org

A detailed policy analysis of the Paris Agreement will be available at http://www.foei.org/what-we-do/paris

Image credit:  Glen Slattery Photography/Friends of the Earth Malta


(Credit:  Glen Slattery Photography/Friends of the Earth Malta)

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