Greenpeace expects big action from the big economies at the Climate Summit

Press release - 30 November, 2015
Paris, 30 November 2015 - As world leaders set out their response to climate change today in Paris, Greenpeace is calling on the leaders of the G7 and the BRICS countries to do more to transform their energy systems, and to switch to 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2050. Their leader's fine words at the COP must be matched by action at home so global warming is limited to 1.5 celsius or below. This is a matter of survival for millions of people.

The member countries of both the G7 and the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), together responsible for some 65% of global carbon emissions, have huge renewable energy potential. Greenpeace is today releasing an analysis of their energy sectors, showing that none are taking full advantage of this potential, to the detriment of their economies and the world’s climate.

While all the G7 countries have seen falls in their carbon emissions, and a clear turning-away from coal, this transition has been patchy. Even in Germany, which has shown the political will to move to renewables, the transition is not happening fast enough and there is no political agreement yet to phase out coal.

Among the BRICS, China is changing, breaking the link between economic growth and emissions growth, and turning its back on coal. Its investment in renewables is huge; since Copenhagen, China has shifted from a country with virtually no wind and solar to the world leader in renewables.

Martin Kaiser, head of international climate politics at Greenpeace, says:

“Change is blowing through the world’s energy sector. We have seen how quickly that change can happen when it is supported by political will. This summit must accelerate that change, and mark the beginning of the end of the era of coal, oil and gas. It should be the springboard for a new energy era, based on 100% renewables for all.”

He added:

“With power comes responsibility. The countries whose action matters the most should embrace the full potential of renewable energy much faster than they are currently planning to. The survival of millions of people, who are not responsible for global warming, depends on a faster global transition from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

“We’re in a race between rising temperatures and the renewables revolution, and if they get it right in Paris then the politicians will help clean energy win.”

The success of the Paris climate summit is largely dependent on a small number of key leaders. They hold the responsibility for the world’s climate in their hands. President Obama and President Xi Jinping have already shown that they are ready to take a leadership role on climate change. Greenpeace calls on the two leaders to increase their ambition, and use their influence to bring other countries on board.

India, on the other hand, is sending mixed messages. The country itself is highly vulnerable to climate change, and today Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to launch a solar initiative that could be a key milestone for India’s energy transformation. Yet India has not given its support to the global decarbonisation goals called by the Vulnerable Countries Forum, and is planning a huge expansion of coal-fired electricity over the next 15 years. So what role will India play in Paris?


Notes for Editors:

The BRIC energy profile factsheet can be found here.

The G7 energy profile factsheet can be found here.


Tina Loeffelbein, Political Communications Lead, +49 151 167 209 15 

Joanna Mills, Media Officer , +44 7791 493 451 or +33 6 3134 61 59