Paris Climate Agreement Signals End for Fossil Fuels: Not fast enough; not fair enough
Yes, its historic. The Paris Agreement signals the use of fossil fuels must end.
But, people and their communities will have to show leadership and take necessary action to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Because developed countries have pushed through an agreement that is not fast enough nor fair enough. The much-publicized reference to 1.5 degrees warming is just that – a reference, not an obligation to keep below a level of warming that might, just might mean vulnerable, affected peoples have a chance to stay alive.
“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.” Richard Dixon, Director, FOE Scotland”
When measured against the People’s Test on Climate, the Paris Agreement fails on every point.
Test 1. A commitment to keeping well below 1.5 C warming while dividing the carbon budget using the fair shares principle
The agreement aims to keep global warming well below 2 degrees but provides only a very weak “to pursue efforts” to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees. 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.
Test 2. Finance and support in line with rich nations’ climate debt
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. 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.
Test 3. A just, systemic transformation
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 stocktaking will be done by 2023 and then every 5 years.
Test 4. Justice for impacted communities, including compensation for irreparable climate damage
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. 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.
Paris Is A Beginning Not An End
Governments and the Paris outcome are judged on the tests above, but we see Paris as a beginning rather than an end. COP 21 in Paris connected people’s demands for justice, equality, food, jobs, and rights, and strengthened the movement. Paris launches us into 2016 as a year of action – a year when people’s demands and people’s solutions take center stage.
Paris A Milestone – Canada Moves From Obstruction to Contribution
Canadians should feel proud of our government’s contribution to climate action – a clear move away from obstruction tactics. Now, the Prime Minister has set the clock ticking for 90 days work to craft a new strong target and climate plan. From the Prime Minister’s Web Site (http://www.pm.gc.ca/)
Canada’s current inadequate pledge is to cut emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 over 2005 levels. Canada was also the first country to back out of Kyoto in 2013.