Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace Responds to Final Climate Deal

Press release - December 14, 2015
Reacting to the Paris Agreement at the conclusion of COP21, Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo said: “It sometimes seems that the countries of the United Nations can unite on nothing, but nearly two hundred countries have come together and agreed a deal. Today the human race has joined in a common cause, but it’s what happens after this conference that really matters. The Paris Agreement is only one step on long a road, and there are parts of it that frustrate and disappoint me, but it is progress. This deal alone won’t dig us out the hole we’re in, but it makes the sides less steep.”

“The deal sets out the objective of limiting temperature rises to 1.5 degrees, but the emissions targets on the table take us closer to 3 degrees. That’s a critical problem, but it’s one with a solution. Renewable energy is already doing heavy-lifting across the globe, but now its moment must come. It’s the only technology mentioned in the Paris Agreement. There’s a yawning gap in this deal, but it can be bridged by clean technology. We’re in a race between the roll-out of renewables and rising temperatures, and the Paris Agreement could give renewables a vital boost. The wheel of climate action turns slowly, but in Paris it has turned.”

“This is not a moment for triumphalism given the lives that have been lost already as a result of climate impacts, and the lives that are on the precipice as temperatures rise. This is a time for urgent action. The climate clock is ticking and the window of opportunity is closing fast.”

See further (still operative) Kumi Naidoo comments here:

Now governments need to revise their short-term targets to be in line with their new goals, and revise their energy policies to speed up renewable energy uptake. They must stop funding fossil fuels and end deforestation by 2020.

The Paris Agreement is a Treaty under international law, so it is legally binding. But the national targets (the so-called INDCs) aren’t legally binding and nor are the financial commitments. This is primarily to enable the United States to be part of this global agreement. 

The so called “Long Term Goal” is written in seemingly incomprehensible language (“to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century”), but combined with the 1.5C limit ,  it implies a goal of achieving net zero in all emissions by around 2060-2080. This effectively means we need to phase out fossil fuels by 2050.  

Indigenous Peoples rights are in the pre-amble and in the Adaptation section of the Agreement . But they’re not given the protection they deserve , particularly given that forest protection will be key to achieving 1.5 degrees. The Paris Agreement acknowledges that countries should respect and promote human rights in addressing climate change.


The conference saw good initiatives around renewables during the negotiations - though outside the official talks. India’s Solar Initiative, the launch of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, mayors and leaders of more than 1000 cities giving their support to a 100% renewable energy future, to name a few. In the text itself, renewables are recognised in the context of promoting universal access to sustainable energy in developing countries, in particular in Africa, through the enhanced deployment of renewable energy.


Contacts in Paris

Tina Loeffelbein - +49 151 167 209 15

To interview Kumi Naidoo, speak to Kate Blagojevic on +44 7801 212959

Greenpeace Germany press officer Gregor Kessler +49 151 72 70 29 18

Greenpeace UK press officer Joanna Mills +44 7791 493451