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Climate negotiations widening the gap between ambition and action

11 Dec 2015

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.

"To give us a decent chance of limiting global warming to 1.5⁰C we need the word's energy to be 95% fossil free by 2050, with OECD fossil free by 2030, according to leading climate scientists speaking in Paris today.

"Instead the latest draft deal has removed decarbonization targets for 2050 and instead talks vaguely about greenhouse gas neutrality by the end of the century.

"This is the deadly contradiction at the heart of the proposed deal.

"Deadly for vulnerable communities from Crossmolina to Chennai where we have seen the impacts of flooding this week.

"And that's with just 1⁰C of global warming. Right now, national action pledges have us heading for almost 3⁰C and current policies for closer to 4⁰C, which would be totally catastrophic.


Commenting from Dublin, Friends of the Earth chief executive, Oisin Coghlan commented:

“Ireland too is suffering from a growing credibility gap. While calling for an ambitious global deal Minister Kelly told the media in Paris that he had ensured the text placed no limit on the expansion plans of Irish agri-business.

"Then the Minister the left the COP early on Friday afternoon to come back to Ireland to deal with the flooding threatening the homes and livelihoods of farmers and fellow citizens across the Shannon basin.

"We need to realise that is in Ireland's national interest that all countries and all sectors do their fair share to prevent runaway climate change.

"The fact that this Government will go through its entire five year term without producing either an Action Plan to cut emissions or an Action Plan to cope with the impacts of climate change speaks volumes.

"The Climate Action Bill that was signed into law yesterday places a legal obligation on future Governments to produce action plans on mitigation and adaptation at least every five years."

*** Below is analysis of the draft text by Friends of the Earth International experts in Paris ***

Analysis from Friends of the Earth International

Reacting to a draft Paris climate agreement released on Thursday night, Lucy Cadena, Friends of the Earth International climate justice and energy coordinator, said: “Rich countries have moved the goal posts so far that a just deal in Paris is inconceivable. If this text indicates what will be agreed here, we will be left with a deal that fails humanity.”

“This text dismantles the core foundations of the UN climate convention,” Cadena continued. “The pillars of a just agreement – ambition and equity – have been completely undermined. After all the warm words of developed countries on a 1.5 degree limit, the new text contains no obligation to stay under this threshold. Shockingly, the text could allow for carbon emissions to continue until 2099.”

The draft also leaves the door open to false solutions such as unproven Carbon Capture and Storage techno-fixes and carbon markets.

“Incredibly, references human rights have been stripped from the body of this UN agreement on the very day that people around the world mark Human Rights Day,” said Friends of the Earth International climate justice and energy coordinator Sara Shaw.

“Critical issues have been kicked down the road when they should have been addressed with ambition and urgency. Empty words can’t stop the climate crisis,” she added.

A summary of reactions to developments in Paris by @FoEint campaigners are available here:


Friends of the Earth International climate justice and energy coordinator Sara Shaw: + 33 6 71 71 38 31 (until 12 Dec) or + 44 79 74 00 82 70 or email

Lucy Cadena, climate justice and energy coordinator, Friends of the Earth International, +44 7580 270129 or +33 6 07103962 (until 12 Dec) or

Asad Rehman, Friends of the Earth International spokesperson at the Summit in Paris, + 33 753 92 59 04 (until 12 Dec), or

Friends of the Earth International media line: +31 6 51 00 56 30 or +33 6 07 10 45 09 (until 12 Dec) or

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