Greenpeace welcomes Paris deal, but says yawning gaps exist

Paris, Dec 13 (IANS) With 196 countries coming together to agree upon the Paris accord on climate change, the human race has joined in a common cause, Greenpeace said on Sunday, but cautioned that there were “yawning gaps” that need to bridged in the 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,” Greenpeace international executive director Kumi Naidoo said in a statement.

The deal alone will not “dig us out of the hole we are in”, but makes the sides less steep, he said.

The landmark Paris Agreement on climate change was adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference by 196 countries, committing them to curb global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and outline a roadmap to raise $100 billion annually towards a green fund for developing nations.

“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,” Naidoo said.

Renewable energy is the only technology mentioned in the Paris Agreement, he said, adding that there was 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,” he said.

The NGO chief said this was not a moment for triumphalism, given the lives that have been lost as a result of climate change impacts.

This is a time for urgent action, the climate clock is ticking and the window of opportunity is closing fast, he said.

“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,” Naidoo added.

The Paris Agreement is a treaty under international law, so it is legally binding, but the national targets aren’t legally binding and nor are the financial commitments, the statement said, adding, “this is primarily to enable the United States to be part of this global agreement”.

Greenpeace also hailed initiatives around renewables like India’s solar alliance, launch of the Africa Renewable Energy initiative, among others.

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