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Home / Resources / News / Naomi Klein on COP21: “Our leaders have failed us; the leadership has to come from below”

Naomi Klein on COP21: “Our leaders have failed us; the leadership has to come from below”

The 195 countries who participated in the COP21 in Paris have reached a climate agreement. French President François Hollande referred to it as “the first universal agreement in the history of climate negotiations“. The deal sets a limit on emissions of greenhouse emissions and a common and mandatory objective of keeping the increase of the Earth temperature below two degrees.

Why do so many activists consider the Paris climate deal a failure?


We were at the red line climate march in Paris and we spoke with Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis, who shared with us their impressions about climate activism in Europe, the global warming challenges that lie ahead and the dynamics inside the COP21 negotiations. Demonstrators in Paris wore red at a demonstration near the Arc de Triomphe, to highlight the “red lines” they didn’t want negotiators to cross.

Naomi Klein at the COP21

Naomi Klein at COP21

One of the main arguments that most of the activists maintain when talking about COP21 failure refers to the absence of concrete steps stipulating how to meet their target of keeping global temperatures “below 2°C above pre-industrial levels”.

“We didn’t come to this summit begging our leaders to save the world; we know that what they lead won’t bring us to a better world. There is a huge gap between what they say and what it would take to do so. […] It is amazing to keep seeing them failing.”

Klein was referring to the importance of citizen coalitions in the fight against climate change.

“World leaders say anything about the carbon budget, for example. People understand that we have to do what our politicians will not, which is stand up to the power of fossil fuels companies”

Klein the Canadian filmmaker known for her political analysis and criticism of corporate globalisation, is co-author along with Avi Lewis of ‘This Change Everything‘, a multi-platform project that includes a non-fiction book by Klein, a feature documentary by Lewis (premiering at TIFF 2015), public events, and additional educational material.