As the Paris climate change conference closed, Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“Despite the hype and the extra day of negotiations, the Paris climate talks have failed to deliver a deal that urgently tackles the climate crisis and the needs of those most vulnerable to its impacts. With bullying tactics and throwing in some piecemeal pledges, rich countries have pushed through an Agreement that spells bad news for people and the planet.

“By delaying critical action to cut greenhouse gas emissions and failing to put sufficient finance on the table leaders have effectively signed a death warrant for millions of the poorest people around the world.”

Key problems in the Paris Agreement:

The agreement aims to keep global warming well below 2 degree but only a very weak “to pursue efforts” to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degree

Instead of percentage reductions or a date to end the use of fossil fuels we have only a peak in global emissions “as soon as possible” and net zero emissions by 2100.

There is no legally binding way forward to address the problem of lack of ambition of current national contributions towards post-2020 action – a very weak “facilitative dialogue” in 2018 with no obligation to actually improve these plans

More formal global stocktake will be done by 2023 and then every 5 years.

A very weak mechanism on Loss and Damage – the recognition that some of the impacts of climate change are irreparable. The text specifically excludes compensation and liability for people who suffer these impacts.

The only legally binding obligation on finance in the Agreement is for developed countries to report on the finance they provide – there is no obligation to actually provide it.

Richard Dixon continued:

“However while world leaders argued, tens of thousands of people all over the world have been taking to the streets to demonstrate their commitment to the climate movement. It's clear that the fight for climate justice does not end in Paris. Communities around the world are already taking action to put an end to the dirty energy sources that are polluting our planet and building a better future around clean, community owned renewables.

“We always knew that this conference would not do enough and we’ll be working with others across Europe to make up for the lack of will from world leaders. Friends of the Earth Scotland will be fighting fossil fuels, including fracking, promoting community renewables and campaigning to shift investment out of fossil fuels. Yesterday we launched our new Fossil Free Scotland campaign which aims to make Scotland fossil free within a generation.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. FoE Scotland launched a new climate campaign, Fossil Free Scotland, yesterday http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/FossilFreeLaunch and fossilfree.scot

2. Thousands of people are on the streets of Paris for climate demonstrations, including Friends of the Earth Climate Justice Peace action, spelling out giant words across the face of the City through GPS tracking of 1200 individual groups http://www.climatejusticepeace.org

3. Friends of the Earth Scotland is:
* Scotland's leading environmental campaigning organisation
* An independent Scottish charity with a network of thousands of supporters and active local groups across Scotland
* Part of the largest grassroots environmental network in the world, uniting over 2 million supporters, 75 national member groups, and some 5,000 local activist groups.