The people’s climate test for Paris

29 June 2015

Today ministers from around the world gathered at the UN General Assembly to discuss climate change received an unprecedented statement by Friends of the Earth and social movements of climate-impacted communities from the global South as well as faith, labour, environmental, and anti-poverty groups representing tens of millions of people from around the world.

Nothing less than a systemic transformation of our societies, our economies, and our world will suffice to solve the climate crisis and close the ever-increasing inequality gap, the groups said in a statement sent to the president of the UN general assembly and key ministers including the French environment minister, who will preside over the Paris UN climate talks. 

The statement, titled The People's Test on Climate 2015, sets out the minimum needed from the climate summit due at the end of the year in Paris, and is seen as a 'people's climate test'.

The statement reads: "The urgency to keep temperatures down is not just about the planet and the environment. It is about people, and our capacity as humanity to secure safe and dignified lives for all.

"We take hope from the fact that while the scale of the challenge is enormous, people already have solutions and alternatives that work at the scale we need. From decentralized community-owned renewable energy for mitigation, poverty reduction and sustainable development, to agro-ecological methods for adaptation, there already exists a wealth of proven ideas and experience from which to build a global transformation way."

There are 10 negotiating days to go before 195 countries will meet for the COP21 to try to adopt a new international climate agreement.

Susann Scherbarth of Friends of the Earth Europe said: "We believe while the climate talks in Paris at the end of the year key, they are not the end of the road. The COP21 will not solve our problems and impacted people and civil society will continue holding our governments to account for strong, just climate action well after the negotiations are completed. Paris will also be a moment to recognise that real leadership is happening at the local and community level, and to catalyse global action based on people's demands and solutions."

The People's Test on Climate outlines four primary demands for the Paris talks:

  • Emissions reductions – urgent short-term action leading to a long-term global goal phasing out all fossil fuel use;
  • Support for transformation in developing countries – public finance, technology transfer, and capacity building for both mitigation and adaptation action;
  • Justice for impacted people – including compensation for loss and damage and a just transition for workers; and
  • Focus on transformational action – rather than false solutions like biofuels or geo-engineering.

People will be watching our governments and judge the COP21 outcome according to this test.

Friends of the Earth is calling for an Energy Revolution and is bringing more and more people together to build the real changes needed to transform a corporate driven fossil fuel energy system into one that clean and renewable and owned and controlled by citizens. Join us!