Don’t count on the Paris Agreement to stop climate change

Posted By: Friends of the Earth Canada Comments Off on Don’t count on the Paris Agreement to stop climate change

(Ottawa, ON, April 22, 2016) Today, Prime Minister Trudeau and representatives of over 130 nations are expected to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change bringing them one step closer to reducing emissions that cause climate change. Nations including Canada will then ratify the agreement in the coming months. Countries agree to limit the rise in global temperature caused by human activity to 1.5°C.

The signing event is being celebrated by government, industry and many other organizations around the world but where does this celebration lead? The Paris agreement is not binding. It is voluntary and all countries remain free to set their own targets for reducing emissions (called INDCs) and then to move from a pledge to their own enforceable regulations to reduce climate pollution.

Friends of the Earth Canada is concerned that a voluntary agreement is inadequate and will not lead to the significant regulations and controls on climate pollution required to avert the climate disaster that rising temperatures will cause.

“Scientists are now telling us that we have entered ‘decade zero’. Decisions taken in the next 10 years – investments in dirty mega infrastructure, exploitation of new fossil fuel sources, mobilisation and distribution of public finance, the scale of emissions reductions that are undertaken – whether we breech the 1.5 degrees or not,” said Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice and Energy Coordinator for Friends of the Earth International.

“As long as Canada continues expanding fossil fuel production and building pipelines, we won’t be able to stop climate change. We won’t protect our children,” said Beatrice Olivastri, CEO, Friends of the Earth Canada. “Neither the Paris Agreement nor its formal signing this week are enough to safeguard our planet from the ravages of the climate catastrophe,” she continued.

The climate science is clear.  Allowing global temperature to rise above 1.5°C poses an unacceptable risk of crossing irreversible tipping points, impacting billions of people. So without a meaningful increase of action now, the current pledges lead us to climate disaster.

“Preventing a climate disaster involves more than voluntary promises. The Paris Agreement is a step forward but we can’t count on it to solve climate change. Friends of the Earth organizations around the world will continue to oppose dirty fossil fuel projects and demand enforceable regulations to reduce emissions,” said John Bennett, Senior Policy Advisor, Friends of the Earth Canada.



  • Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice and Energy Coordinator, +258 840356599 or email