Paris climate talks

Planetary emergency - a global problem needs a co-ordinated solution.

The world's leading scientists have given stark warnings about the planetary emergency we're facing: the impacts of climate change are here, and will get worse unless we take immediate and concerted global action.

You don't have to be a scientist to see the impacts of climate change.

We are heading for a catastrophic temperature rise of at least 4 degrees Celsius unless we do something to change it.

The climate change negotiations that will happen in Paris in late 2015 need to decide on the global framework that will guide emission reduction efforts in coming years.

The UN says of the Paris meeting:

the aim is to reach, for the first time, a universal, legally binding agreement that will enable us to combat climate change effectively and boost the transition towards resilient, low-carbon societies and economies”.

It is essential that we get a workable, binding deal that addresses the human rights dimension of climate change.

A fair, global climate deal

Science tells us there is a limit to how much pollution we can emit from activities like burning fossil fuels and clearing forests, before we breach the limits of the climate system.

To avoid dangerous climate change, we will need to live within the available carbon budget. Rich countries with high consumption lifestyles, like Australia, have already used a lot of the available budget. In effect, we are borrowing from the space that is needed by developing nations. This is called a carbon debt. It also means that the rich countries, who have created much of the climate change we are already starting to experience, need to act first and decisively in reducing their emissions. This is one of the main reasons Australia is under so much pressure at the pretalks that happened recently in Bonn.

According to the ABC:

Australia's climate policies have come under the microscope at a United Nations conference in Germany, with countries asking senior diplomats if the emissions reduction targets are ambitious enough.

Currently, Australia's 2020 target is a 5 per cent reduction on greenhouse gas emissions from 2000 levels.

The Government reiterated its commitment to consider increasing the target to 15 per cent or 25 per cent, depending on what the rest of the world does.

However, Australia has become a climate change "free-rider", dropping off the list of nations taking "credible" action to curb greenhouse gas emissions, according to a panel led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.


Friends of the Earth is campaigning for a fair global climate deal at Paris.

What does that mean? It means rich countries:

  1. cutting their emissions faster

  2. helping developing countries to change over to clean energy.

How much action does each country need to take to stop catastrophic climate change? Find out on our Climate Fair Shares website.

At present the Australian government has a woeful 5% emissions reductions target, and is yet to announce what commitment it will take to the Paris climate change negotiations late in 2015. The independent Climate Change Authority has recommended that Australia adopt a target to cut greenhouse gases by 30 per cent by 2025, compared with year 2000 levels, but Environment Minister Greg Hunt says this would be an 'onerous' goal.

Yet Australia needs to cut its emissions by between 60 and 70% by 2030 if we are to play a fair share in achieving global reductions. 

We must do more

Governments are not acting fast enough. We must unite nationally, regionally and globally to pressure them to act.

Friends of the Earth is working to help build a global climate campaign. Through our international network, we are pushing for:

Here in Australia, the federal government must do it’s bit and show leadership by setting science-based targets to decarbonise our economy.

This means:

  • putting climate action at the core of it’s approach to managing the economy, with a program to transform the economy to one based on zero net greenhouse emissions, and focusing on job rich industries like public transport, energy efficiency and the roll out of renewable energy

  • setting targets to ensure Australia generates 100% of its energy production from renewable energy sources by 2030

  • phasing out 100% of greenhouse emissions from power stations by 2030 and reducing emissions overall by between 60 and 70%

  • developing a plan to shut down dirty, coal fired power stations and transition the workforce into new sectors, and

  • keeping the vast majority of our fossil fuel reserves in the ground. This means no coal or gas exports.

  • we should not be out-sourcing our emissions reductions efforts by investing in carbon offset programs outside Australia.

What target commitments should Australia take to Paris?

Australia needs to cut its emissions by between 60 and 70% by 2030 if we are to play a fair share in achieving global reductions.

Check here for our submission to the federal government on targets.

Check here for our response to the targets announced by the government in August.

A group of 51 envirionment, aid, legal, health, union, farming, social services and religious sectors have written to all federal MPs, calling on them to ensure Australia adopts deep emissions targets in the build-up to the Paris meeting. You can find the letter here.

To keep up to date with our international climate campaign, you can:



Friends of the Earth will be in Paris in December, and we want you to be there with us.

Thousands of people will come from all over Europe and beyond, to make their voices heard during the United Nations climate summit. There will be activities – protests, demonstrations, workshops and more – throughout the two weeks of the summit, 30 November to 12 December.

Friends of the Earth will be bringing supporters for a gathering and massive demonstration on 11 December, before joining with our allies from across the environmental and social justice movements for one gigantic march on 12 December!

Further information here.

Our media releases


Bonn climate talks point to a weak Paris deal (October 2015)

Government post 2020 climate target puts Australians at risk (August 2015)



Take action

FoE has launched it's online campaign for Paris. The Energy Revolution has three key demands:

  • Ensure justice for people affected by climate change.
  • Stop fossil fuels and other dirty energy, while protecting workers in these areas.
  • Support community-owned renewable energy – giving people the power, not corporations.


You can sign on here.


Further information and resources

FoE's Good Energy/ Bad Energy website.