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Monday, 14 December 2015 14:04

Many varied reactions to the climate change talks deal

Scores of responses from relevant organisations have come into the Environment Times office in reaction to the agreement reached at the UN climate talks in Paris over the weekend.

Snippets of most are presented below with fuller transcripts often contained by clicking the links. The main website for the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in the English language is  


Responding to the UN climate talks reaching a final agreement, Nick Dearden the director of Global Justice Now said: "It's outrageous that the deal that's on the table is being spun as a success when it undermines the rights of the world's most vulnerable communities and has almost nothing binding to ensure a safe and liveable climate for future generations. In fact the deal as it stands in the context of INDCs that have been submitted sets us firmly on the path to a devastating three degrees of global warming.

"Years ago it was the brinksmanship of the USA that lead to the Kyoto Protocol becoming a toothless and ineffective agreement, which they didn't even ratify. History has repeated itself in Paris, as the USA, with the support of the EU and the other rich nations, have ensured that the most important parts of the treaty are either stripped out of the text entirely, or watered down to the point of meaninglessness. Critical issues such as binding emissions reductions, legal responsibilities for loss and damage, and the recognition of human rights are all conspicuously absent from the main body of the text."

Christian Aid has hailed the final Paris climate agreement as a new era which has the potential to transform the global economy to address climate change.

Mohamed Adow, Christian Aid's Senior Climate Advisor said: "For the first time in history the whole world has made a public commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deal with the impacts of climate change. Although different countries will move at different speeds, the transition to a low carbon world is now inevitable. Governments, investors and businesses must ride this wave or be swept away by it."

Responding to the final Agreement text announced at COP21 today, ocean groups were positive about a growing recognition for the importance of the ocean in climate change but disappointed by the lack of overall ambition in terms of reducing levels of dangerous CO2 in the atmosphere.

Despite being the largest biosphere on Earth and a central component of the climate system, the ocean has not featured in previous Agreements. The Paris Agreement includes recognition for the ocean within the Preamble and in the Agreement itself, under the banner of Ecosystem Integrity. This provides a basis for greater understanding of the need for marine protection and should help to move the ocean onto the agenda for future meetings.

"The Paris agreement is a historic turning point for the whole world. One of the most remarkable outcomes of the agreement is that its objective is to "pursue efforts to limit" global warming to 1.5oC above preindustrial, while holding warming "well below 2oC". In doing so, the global community has recognised that the risks of global warming are far greater than previously understood, and that the scientific basis compelling very urgent action has never been stronger.

"It is a victory for the most vulnerable countries, the small islands, the least developed countries and all those with the most to lose, who came to Paris and said they didn't want sympathy, they wanted action."

On the agreement: "This is an exciting moment in history. The debate is over and the vision of the future is low carbon. The agreement coming out of Paris today contains a clear statement of international ambition which will give businesses, investors and cities the certainty they need to accelerate their efforts to tackle climate change and build a sustainable future. We know that it is possible. We know that it can be profitable. Now is the time for a step change in our levels of effort and action."

On business: "Not every business will thrive in a low carbon future, there will be winners and losers. The corporate voices calling for action in Paris and the a large number of businesses making their own strong commitments on climate change has been an important factor in giving politicians the confidence to come to a strong deal."

The European chemical industry strongly endorsed these international efforts to reach a binding global agreement and practices what it preaches. Today, our industry uses less than half the energy it used back in 1990, and we are developing innovative solutions which will be key to combating climate change. Whether it is insulation for buildings, lighter materials for cars or batteries for energy storage, there's chemistry inside.

Although representing only 10% of total global CO2 emissions, the EU remains at the forefront of the fight against climate change. Building on COP21, the hard work must now continue. "Paving the way to a successful transition towards a sustainable and competitive low carbon economy will take time, energy and innovative ideas. The European chemical industry is here to play its part", said Hubert Mandery, Cefic Director General.

Responding to the outcome of the Paris climate change conference, Matthew Spencer, director of Green Alliance said: "For once it is right to call this deal historic. It is a global agreement to create a one way street to net zero carbon emissions, and it will have a profound influence on the evolution of the earth's economy. It will accelerate the rapid technological change we have already begun to see in our energy system and in the development of the next generation of buildings, cars and household appliances. It challenges the widespread scepticism that politics can ever deliver a better world, because it just did."

Philippe Joubert, Chair of The Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group (CLG), which brings together 23 global businesses employing 2 million people in 170 countries, said: "COP21 has delivered the first ever universal climate agreement. Countries have demonstrated true leadership by agreeing to a target of net zero emissions and a five-year review to strengthen climate ambition. The text also improves accountability and includes a welcome reference to the 1.5°C goal.

"Business leaders and investors now have a clear direction of travel, a global framework to speed up and scale up of their solutions. The Paris agreement will accelerate the shift to a new sustainable, equitable and decarbonised world."

Claire Jakobsson, EEF's Head of Climate Policy said: "We welcome this landmark global agreement to tackle climate change and while this development in climate action is to be applauded, it is only the beginning of what is necessary to ensure a level playing field for UK manufacturing. Equally important, is what steps are taken next if the Paris conference is to be judged a lasting success.

"Although the world's economies have successfully agreed targets and actions, these alone are not enough to prevent serious competitiveness impacts on the UK's manufacturing, particularly for energy intensive trade exposed industries such as steel. Until such a time when comparable actions are being taken, we must continue to have strong measures in place to ensure that investment, jobs and emissions are not simply off-shored to the detriment of both the UK economy and the global environment. There must also be a major focus on investing in innovative research and development for our UK industries to compete in an increasingly carbon constrained economy."

Friends of the Earth CEO Craig Bennett said: "This climate deal falls far short of the soaring rhetoric from world leaders less than two weeks ago. An ambition to keep global temperature rises below 1.5 degrees is all very well, but we still don't have an adequate global plan to make this a reality. This agreement leaves millions of people across the world under threat from climate-related floods, droughts and super-storms.

"However, this is still a historic moment. This summit clearly shows that fossil fuels have had their day – and that George Osborne's outdated, backward energy policies must be reversed if he wants to be on the right side of history.

"Energy efficiency and renewable power should form the backbone of Britain's future energy policy, yet ministers have spent the past seven months undermining investment in these crucial areas at every opportunity. The Prime Minister must also end Britain's scandalous support for fossil fuels, including fracking. This nation is the only G7 country to be actively expanding fossil fuel subsidies."

"People power across the world has forced Governments to start taking this issue seriously – and people power will win the day."

"Saving the principle of equity was the single biggest battle. Despite the intense political pressure which the United States put on the leaders of several developing countries, the principle of equity that will take us to climate justice was successfully defended. However, the devil is in the detail." Chee Yoke Ling, Director, Third World Network.

"The US is a cruel hypocrite. Obama spoke about embracing the US's role of creating the problem and the need to take responsibility. This is all talk and no action. They created a clause that excludes compensation and liability for the losses and damages brought on by climate chaos. This is a deliberate plan to make the rich richer and the poor poorer." Lidy Nacpil, Asian People's Movement on Debt and Development

"The Paris Agreement will be known as the Polluters' Great Escape since it weakens rules on the rich countries and puts the world on a pathway to 3C warming where, so far, only China appears to be doing its "fair share." Kerry came to town with no confirmed funds for GCF, and an INDC at risk from a hostile U.S. Congress." Victor Menotti, International Forum on Globalization.

climate paris talks kellyS&Ds PROMISING NEW ARCHITECTURE FOR A CARBON FREE WORLD - Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament

Gianni Pittella, and members of the S&D delegation participating in the COP21 Paris climate talks welcome the historic agreement against climate change because it paves the way for the end of the fossil fuel era.

President Pittella and MEPs Kathleen Van Brempt, Matthias Groote, Gilles Pargneaux and Miriam Dalli, also welcome the new 'Paris spirit': for the first time there was a real impact and commitment of all civil society partners and stakeholders to make a change and this global effort will continue. They also praise the good work of the French for facilitating a successful outcome, in particular minister Laurent Fabius.

"Nature is a powerful ally in our fight against climate change," says Inger Andersen, IUCN Director General. "We are encouraged to see such a strong focus on nature-based solutions in the new agreement, which lays a solid foundation for the world to move towards a more sustainable, resilient and low-carbon future. We cannot afford to leave nature out of the equation; no climate action can possibly succeed without it."

While biodiversity and ecosystems are threatened by climate change, their conservation, restoration and sustainable management generate significant and practical nature-based solutions to climate change. Terrestrial ecosystems store almost three times the amount of carbon found in the atmosphere, while healthy oceans absorb over 25% of annual carbon dioxide emissions.

Statement by Bertrand van Ee, CEO, Climate-KIC: "President Obama ended his speech at the opening of the COP21 climate change summit with "Let's get to work." I would now like to recall those words on the day of the historic Paris Agreement.

The deal struck in Paris has unlocked a blue ocean of uncontested opportunities for business. The trajectory of staying "well below" two degrees warming is achievable, but achieving it requires a major shift in the global economy. That shift represents a highly lucrative economic opportunity. Already, there's a $5.5 trillion market for low carbon technologies and products. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

The exact working of today's deal will not dictate the solutions needed to capitalise on the opportunities of the zero carbon economy. A single silver bullet will not be sufficient to bring about the systemic change required. We need an armoury of silver bullets to transform how we live, what we consume, and how we do business.

Victoria Stulgis, Senior Associate, Carbon War Room commented: "Despite calls to regulate shipping from the European Parliament, Denmark and the Marshall Islands, as well as multiple industry leaders including Maersk, it is disappointing to learn that shipping has not been included in COP21's global climate change agreement.

"Shipping contributes approximately the same amount of CO2 as Germany in terms of global emissions. Yet, while Germany is targeting an 80% emissions reduction by 2050 outside of any commitments arising out of the recent Paris negotiations, the IMO GHG Study 2014 states that shipping is on course to increase emissions by 50-250% by the same year. The latest EU Parliament report predicts that by 2050, shipping will represent 17% of global GHG emissions."

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: "The Paris deal heralds an exciting opportunity for business. We now have a climate deal agreed by the world's leaders that puts us on a sustainable low-carbon path and which can provide the framework for business to invest with confidence.

"It will now be for governments to show how they plan to turn global ambition into national reality. Businesses will want to see domestic policies that demonstrate commitment to this goal and none more so than in the UK. While the UK is making its voice heard at global talks, more needs to be done at home. The Government must provide a stable environment that enables investment in cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy generation, including renewable technologies and new gas plants.

"As other nations start to play a greater role and increase their ambition, the UK needs a level playing field for carbon costs, so that our energy intensive industries can compete effectively in a global, low carbon market place."

Further to the historic climate agreement that was signed in Paris over the weekend at COP21, the UK Solar Trade Association is calling on the Chancellor and the Energy Secretary to put their commitments into practice in a decision on support for solar PV in the UK.

The final decision on the Feed-in Tariff for solar and other renewables is widely expected to come later this week and the STA is concerned that this will be too soon to reflect the increased commitments made by countries around the world to reduce emissions including by the UK.

Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs at the Solar Trade Association said: "The critical importance of solar power in tackling climate change came up time and time again at the Paris conference. Has the British Government now realised the value of backing its superb domestic solar industry within an International Solar Alliance expected to mobilise $1trillion of investment in solar power?"

"Amber Rudd herself has been citing solar power as an example of a technology that can rapidly drop in cost, but that depends on a mass market and effective national policies. Now that Amber Rudd and her team are back in London, the next thing they have to do is decide on Feed-in Tariffs for solar. Will they go ahead with their proposed extreme cut of up to 87% or will they choose a more gradual, tapered reduction in support consistent with the actual fall in the costs of installed solar?"

The global shipping industry, represented by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) throughout the United Nations Climate Change Conference, greatly welcomes the 'Paris Agreement', adopted unanimously on 12 December by 195 nations.

The shipping industry remains committed to ambitious CO2 emission reduction across the entire world merchant fleet, reducing CO2 per tonne-km by at least 50% before 2050 compared to 2007.

Despite the absence of an explicit reference to shipping, ICS says that the message from the world's governments is clear. "I am sure IMO Member States will now proceed with new momentum to help the industry deliver ever greater CO2 reductions, as the world moves towards total decarbonisation by the end of the Century," said ICS Secretary General, Peter Hinchliffe.