Over 150 countries will today sign the Paris Climate Agreement at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The deal agreed last December aims to keep global temperature rises below 2C and make ‘best efforts’ to limit warming below 1.5C.

This historic international deal will come into force when 55 countries, who cumulatively account for over 55% of global carbon emissions, ratify the Agreement in their respective states, which will follow on from today’s signing ceremony.

Dr Richard Dixon, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, who attended the Paris Climate Conference said,

“Whilst this is undoubtedly an historic moment of global co-operation, we cannot count on the Paris deal alone to stop climate change. The scale of temperature rises we have already seen, combined with extreme weather such as floods and storms, demonstrate that we have absolutely no time to waste in tackling climate change.

“The pledges to cut carbon emissions submitted by each nation put us on track for 3 degrees or more of warming. The ceremony in New York is a chance for world leaders to pledge a meaningful increase in immediate actions, otherwise billions of people will be impacted and irreversible planetary tipping points will be breached.“

Climate science is clear that decisions taken in the next 10 years around the world must commit to keeping fossil fuels in the ground, building low carbon infrastructure and directing public investment to support clean development.

Dr Dixon continued:

“Since the Paris deal, Scotland has closed its last coal-fired power station and broken renewable energy records once again, but we must increase our momentum. Tackling climate change means we must urgently get on the path to a fossil free Scotland. We absolutely cannot afford to open up a new frontier of fossil fuels through fracking, and we must get public money out of destructive companies like Shell and BP, and invest in clean, renewable energy.

“The next Scottish Government must tackle our toxic transport system to get far more people out of their cars and walking, cycling and using public transport. The unions, businesses and the Government must also begin the much-needed conversation about how we transition away from North Sea oil and gas in a way that is fair to the workers and the communities currently dependent on this industry.

“The real climate leaders are not in New York signing this deal but are the brave activists standing up to fossil fuel companies, those risking jail to oppose new runways and the communities building the renewable energy schemes that we need. The political leaders in New York will feel the eyes of the world on them.“

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

 

1 .Up to 155 Countries Set to Sign Paris Agreement in New York, 22 April. United Nations Press Office http://newsroom.unfccc.int/paris-agreement/over-150-countries-to-sign-th…

2. March temperature smashes 100-year global record, 1.07C above average (15/4/16) http://gu.com/p/4tcj3/stw

3. FoES reaction to Paris Agreement (12/12/15) http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/paris-COP21-agreement

4. World's climate pledges not yet enough to avoid dangerous warming – UN. (30/11/15) http://gu.com/p/4dmh9/stw

5. Carbon Brief Explainer: The adoption, signing and ratification of the UN climate deal http://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-the-adoption-signing-and-ratificati…

6. FoES has launched a ‘Fossil Free Scotland’ campaign which aims to secure a just transition to a 100% renewable, nuclear-free, zero-fossil-fuel Scotland www.fossilfree.scot

7. 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.
www.foe-scotland.org.uk