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Energy White Paper first test of Ireland's commitment on Climate Change

Issued in news on December 15, 2015 at 20:52:00.


Tomorrow morning, Wednesday 16th December, Minister Alex White will launch the long awaited White Paper on Energy.

Only days after the historic agreement on climate change was agreed in Paris, this is the first opportunity for Ireland to reveal its true commitment to playing its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and phase out fossil fuels.

Will it deliver? Friends of the Earth will be analysing it based on the following 6 questions.

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What I've been reading about the Paris Agreement

Issued in the blog on December 14, 2015 at 23:00:00.


I've been reading various assessments of Paris over the last 48 and I thought I'd share my round-up of the most pithy and insightful.

  • Bill McKibben came over all Michael Collins in the official response: "This didn’t save the planet but it may have saved the chance of saving the planet".

  • I like George Monbiot's line: "By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster".

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Only people power can bridge the gap between ambition and action in Paris Agreement

Issued in news on December 13, 2015 at 17:05:00.

people power

Weak agreement in Paris means people power will have to drive transition to climate justice and safety

EU pressure on Ireland for a credible action plan likely to increase, as focus shifts to national 2030 targets

The landmark Paris Agreement will not deliver the climate stability it promises without consistent public pressure for action and accountability, according to Friends of the Earth. It will however increase the pressure on Ireland as the attention turns to negotiations in Brussels, in the New Year, to agree each country’s 2030 target, according to the environmental justice organization.

Speaking from Paris, Friends of the Earth Ireland Chair, Dr Cara Augustenborg, said

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Weak Paris agreement requires people to drive transition to climate safety

Issued in news on December 12, 2015 at 17:26:00.

Friends of the Earth Ireland 

For Immediate Release

12 December 2015

Weak Paris agreement requires people to drive transition to climate safety

Ireland still has a mountain to climb to do its fair share

PARIS, FRANCE, December 12, 2015 – As the Paris agreement to address climate change was adopted this evening, Friends of the Earth Ireland has said that the agreement does not achieve all that the world requires and therefore demands people power to drive the transition to climate safety.

Commenting on the Paris agreement, Dr. Cara Augustenborg, chairperson of Friends of the Earth Ireland said in Paris,

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Climate negotiations widening the gap between ambition and action

Issued in news on December 11, 2015 at 17:06:00.


PARIS, FRANCE, December 11, 2015 –As efforts to reach a deal at the United Nations' climate negotiations in Paris intensify, Friends of the Earth has said there is a growing "credibility gap" between the new goal of keeping temperature rises to "well below 2⁰C" and rich countries watering down the 2050 emissions targets in the draft deal.

Commenting on the most recent draft text, Dr. Cara Augustenborg, chairperson of Friends of the Earth Ireland said in Paris,

“With each new draft of the climate agreement, the yawning gap between the ambition and real action is widening. The latest draft aims to keep the global rise in temperature 'well below 2⁰C' but fails to provide any credible plan to deliver on that ambition.

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Into the last few laps for COP21 – Three battles within the climate agreement

Issued in the blog on December 11, 2015 at 00:18:00.

With less than 48 hours to go in the United Nations’ climate negotiations, you’d think we’d have some idea of what shape the global agreement on climate might look like, but the Pareto principle seems to apply to COP21: It takes 80% of the effort to complete the last 20%. They’ve whittled down the text considerably but the core messages remain unclear.

In simple terms, the three most contentious issues that have yet to be resolved in the Paris climate agreement are:


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Baptism by fire – Cara's first day of COP

Issued in the blog on December 10, 2015 at 08:20:00.

Yesterday, I arrived at my first COP. What surreal world this is – A mini city where thousands of people go about their daily work of trying to combat climate change. It’s a tiered community where the colour of the badge around your neck determines what work you can and can’t do.

2015-12-10 09.23.02

I have a pink badge with the words “Party Overflow” written across it. This badge is allocated by the Irish government to representatives from Irish civil society groups. It is supposed to allow greater access than the yellow “Observer” badge many of my NGO colleagues have, though I have yet to find out how.

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Weak Draft Deal Sparks 'People Power' Protest at Paris Climate Conference

Issued in news on December 10, 2015 at 02:29:00.


Friends of the Earth
For immediate release
10 December 2015

Draft Paris Climate Deal Sparks 'People Power' Protest

*** High-res images of yesterday's mass sit-in at COP21 are available here and here ***

PARIS, FRANCE, December 10, 2015– After politicians tabled a weak draft agreement at the climate talks in Paris yesterday, hundreds of protestors including Friends of the Earth activists staged a loud protest inside the climate summit to expose the fact that politicians are failing to provide a fair and just climate deal in Paris.

At least 500 people staged a spontaneous sit-in at the talks. The loud protest was organised by Friends of the Earth International and civil society organisations, trade unions, and grassroots movements.

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The Fault Lines Emerge

Issued in the blog on December 10, 2015 at 02:13:00.

Paris Committee Wed 9 - The
The "Paris Committee" of all 194 countries at COP21 meeting on Wednesday evening to discuss the draft text produced by France. Photo: Cara Augustenborg

By this stage in the second week, COPs usually enter a crucial stage where the negotiations hit a wall. The issues are always the same, namely how the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibility (CBDR) is handled.Essentially, how much mitigation by the Developed Countries will occur and how much climate finance will they guarantee to the Developing World to aid their sustainable development and climate adaptation strategies. How should rapidly developing countries such as China, Brazil and South Africa be accommodated in a new world order of climate governance? Positive sentiments often give way to hard realities at this stage, and so it was today (Wednesday).

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En Route to COP21- A personal reflection

Issued in the blog on December 09, 2015 at 15:45:00.


Is it normal to be this excited about going to United Nations Conference of Parties (COP)? Last night, I was like a child on Christmas Eve, unable to sleep with the anticipation of today’s journey. I’ve heard from colleagues that the COPs can be awful, frustrating events and that I didn’t miss anything in Lima last year at COP20, but I’m cautiously optimistic that COP21 will be worth the effort to attend.

Change is in the air

Part of my optimism is borne from a growing sense I’ve had lately that public opinion and acceptance of the climate crisis has shifted considerably in the last few years. There are a number of possible reasons for this:

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