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

13 Dec 2015

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

The Paris Agreement is too weak to deliver climate justice and safety on its own. The gap between ambition and action in the deal is too big. The goal of limiting warming to 1.5C is welcome, but delaying our zero carbon future until the end of the century would be deadly. Deadly for the 1.5C goal and for the vulnerable communities, from Crossmolina to Chennai, already feeling the impacts of climate change.The 1.5C goal also puts fossil fuels on the wrong side of history, but leaders didn’t quite have the courage to say so in the deal."

“The good news is that the thousands of people who took to the streets around the world in the last few weeks weren’t afraid to say we have to keep fossil fuels in the ground. The climate justice movement came of age in Paris and it isn’t going away. Only people power can bridge the yawning gap between ambition and action in the Paris Agreement. Communities around the world are already taking action to end to our dependence on dirty fossil fuels and building a better future around clean, community-owned renewables. And Friends of the Earth will be standing with them.”

What does the Paris Agreement mean for Ireland?

Commenting on what the Paris deal means for Ireland, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan, said:

“The new agreement in Paris to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees will increase the pressure on Ireland to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions. With a 2C goal the EU already had a target of reducing emissions by 80 – 95% by 2050 compared to 1990, and the Irish Government has adopted the objective of reducing net national emissions by at least 80%, now underpinned by the Climate Action Bill which was signed into law on Thursday."

“Meanwhile, the latest figures from the EPA indicate that Irish emissions in 2014 were still marginally above what they were in 1990. With the Government so far exempting agriculture for making any pollution cuts that puts huge pressure on home-owners, businesses, transport and power generation to reduce their emissions. Otherwise the taxpayer faces fines running into billions of euro from 2020."

“The latest EPA figures make it all the more incredible that this Government will complete its 5-year term without producing either an Action Plan to reduce emissions or an Action Plan to cope with the impacts of climate change. The new Climate Law will at least make it illegal for the next Government to do that."

“In the New Year the focus shifts to the negotiations in Brussels between EU member states on national targets for 2030.While Ireland continues to plead for special treatment for Irish agri-business, I see no reason to believe that either the Commission or other member states will be any mood to reward Irish inaction, especially now that we are the fastest growing economy in Europe.”

ENDS

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