PARIS, FRANCE, 27 November 2015 – Over 147 Heads of State will launch a two-week United Nations Summit on November 30, expected to deliver an unprecedented but weak global climate agreement which should come into effect in 2020.

Friends of the Earth International – the world’s largest grassroots environmental network – does not have high expectations for the UN Paris Climate Summit.

“Unfortunately, our governments lack ambition. Where is the commitment to urgent action needed to avert irreversible climate change and protect people from its impacts? Based on the proposed text, we can see the Paris agreement will fail to ensure a safe climate or justice for impacted people. This is in stark contrast with the actions of people mobilising around the globe, increasing the resistance to fossil fuel extraction and leading the way towards climate-safe societies,” said Jagoda Munic, chairperson of Friends of the Earth International.

On the eve of the Summit, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets in some 150 countries to call for real action on climate change. Activists and experts from Friends of the Earth International and its member groups will participate in marches on Nov. 28 and 29 in many countries. They will organise several side events in Paris during the Summit and will follow the talks closely. [1]

“People know that this time, we can’t count on the goodwill of our governments to save the world. We need civil society pressure in Paris. 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,” said Lucy Cadena, climate justice and energy programme coordinator at Friends of the Earth International.

“A Paris agreement can only be a success if it meets the demands of the People’s Test: if each country commits to their fair share of urgent, domestic emissions cuts; if the deal includes adequate North-South finance and technology transfer and a separate mechanism for loss and damage; if it addresses the need for a just transition to ensure workers’ rights; and if it focuses on transformational, real solutions, not the false solutions peddled by the corporate lobby. Unfortunately we have no confidence it will meet those demands, which only strengthens our resolve to push harder, now and into 2016,” she added.

Millions are already paying with their lives for our governments’ continued inaction. The climate crisis disproportionately affects the poorer nations and the poorest people, who are not responsible for the climate crisis we are facing. The world’s richest, developed countries are most responsible for climate change, having polluted their way to progress. These nations have taken up much more than their fair share of atmospheric space and must urgently make the deepest emission cuts and completely transform their economies and societies, according to Friends of the Earth International.

“Many politicians are under pressure from transnational corporations that profit from fossil fuels and dirty energy. Corporate pressure leads to the promotion of coal, fracking, nuclear, and false solutions such as carbon markets, offsetting and industrial agriculture at the UN and nationally. And the French Government is no exception: it chose dirty fossil fuel and nuclear companies such as EDF and Engie to sponsor the climate summit,” said Malika Peyraut, energy campaigner at Friends of the Earth France.

Big corporations are spending vast amounts of money, through lobbying and ‘greenwashing’, to undermine action on climate change. The December 3 Pinocchio Climate Awards in Paris will highlight some of the companies most guilty of undermining climate action. [2]

SEE BELOW FOR BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON THE PARIS CLIMATE SUMMIT

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Spokespeople:

Jagoda Munic, chairperson of Friends of the Earth International: +385 98 17 95 690 or +33 6 07104213 (29 Nov-12 Dec) or email jagoda@zelena-akcija.hr

Lucy Cadena, climate justice and energy coordinator, Friends of the Earth International, +44 7580 270129 or +33 6 07103962 (29 Nov-12 Dec) or lucy.cadena@foe.co.uk

Malika Peyraut, energy campaigner, Friends of the Earth France, + 33 6 88 48 93 68 or Email: malika.peyraut@amisdelaterre.org

Press officers:

Friends of the Earth International media line: +31 6 510056 30 or +33 6 07104509 (29 Nov-12 Dec) or email media@foei.org

Pierre Sagot, Friends of the Earth France communications officer, + 33 6 7104509 or email communication@amisdelaterre.org

Francesca Gater, Friends of the Earth Europe communications coordinator + 32 485 93 05 15 or email francesca.gater@foeeurope.org

NOTES TO EDITORS

[1] Activists and experts are available to brief journalists on developments at the talks and to tell their personal stories and struggles, often from areas affected by climate injustice. The contact details of delegates from FoEI and from its member groups in Paris from 28 November are available here:
https://www.foei.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Foei-PRESS-contact-sheet-from-28-Nov-Sheet1.pdf

[2] http://www.pinocchio-awards.org/
For more information on the Pinocchio Climate Awards contact Sam Fleet, Friends of the Earth Europe communications officer: + 32 470 07 20 49 or email samuel.fleet@foeeurope.org

PARIS CLIMATE SUMMIT – BACKGROUND INFORMATION

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE PARIS CLIMATE TALKS ?

Political leaders are mostly offering empty false solutions, including expanded carbon markets, REDD and weak voluntary pledges of insufficient emissions cuts.
Our governments’ inaction is obvious: their non-binding pledges and other empty promises in Paris will be totally insufficient to address the urgency of the climate crisis.
The current INDCs (‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions’) on the table in Paris put us on a trajectory of over 3.5°C average global warming, which clearly spells climate disaster. So far, rich governments have not contributed their fair share to reduce global emissions to halt average global warming under 1,5 degrees. They are also failing to integrate a commitment for a timely phase out of fossil fuels as soon as possible (and no later than 2050). Their financial commitments for countries impacted by climate change and those that already now experience losses and damages from climate change are woefully inadequate.

PARIS CLIMATE SUMMIT: WILL IT SUCCEED OR FAIL?

Back in June 2015 an unprecedented statement by social movements of climate-impacted communities from the global South as well as faith, labour, environmental, and anti-poverty groups representing tens of millions of people from around the world was delivered to ministers from around the world gathered at the UN General Assembly to discuss climate change.
The statement, titled The People’s Test on Climate 2015, set out the minimum needed from the Paris climate summit is available in English, French and Spanish at http://peoplestestonclimate.org
If the politicians fail this test, they and their Summit will have failed.
Given the current status of the negotiations and the nationally determined climate action plans, Friends of the Earth International believes that the climate summit in Paris will not deliver on the urgently needed action. The emissions reductions observers expect to be agreed in Paris will not suffice to limit warming to 1,5 or even 2 degrees. Also, the distribution of emission reductions on a global scale will not be done based on science and equity principles. We also believe that the financing that will be agreed upon in Paris will not be sufficient to support southern peoples to adapt to climate change as well as to pay reparations to those who suffer irreparable losses and damages because of climate change.

WHAT ARE THE REAL SOLUTIONS TO THE CLIMATE CRISIS ?

There are real solutions to the climate crisis. Around the world, people are involved in creating the clean and safe energy solutions we need, and are refusing and stopping dirty energy projects. They include stopping fossil fuels, building clean, sustainable, socially-owned energy solutions, steep reductions in carbon emissions, transforming our food systems, and stopping deforestation.
Our current energy system is unsustainable but an energy revolution is possible to build a climate-safe, just and sustainable energy system which ensures the basic right to energy for everyone.
The movement for true alternatives grows bigger and stronger day by day and 2016 will be a year of action – a year when people’s demands and people‘s solutions take centre stage. People across the world demand a transformation away from our current corporate driven fossil fuel system towards a socially controlled and owned renewable energy system.
People want a commitment to a green, safe, sustainable, just energy future based on energy savings and socially controlled energy. Nothing less than a systemic transformation of our energy systems will suffice to solve the climate crisis.

Photo: Luka Tomac