A leading climate scientist has denounced the Paris climate change agreement as a “fraud” - saying there is "no action, just promises”.
Professor James Hansen - credited as being the “father of climate change awareness” - told the Guardian the talks that culminated in a deal on Saturday were just “worthless words”.
Speaking as the final draft of the deal was published on Saturday afternoon, he said: “It’s just b******t for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises.
“As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”
The agreement - which still has to be ratified by the 196 countries who took part in the talks - laid out a pledge to limit the average rise in global temperatures to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels.
This is higher than the 1.5C rise campaigned for by a coalition of at risk Pacific Island countries - most notably the Marshall Islands in Micronesia - who say they need the lower limit in order to “stay alive”.
The agreement outlines an aim of reducing temperatures to a 1.5C - but does not commit to it.
Professor Hansen said the decision is meaningless without a commitment to tax greenhouse emissions - which he believes is the only way to reduce emissions fast enough.
He said: “The economic cost of a business as usual approach to emissions is incalculable. It will become questionable whether global governance will break down.
“You’re talking about hundreds of million of climate refugees from places such as Pakistan and China. We just can’t let that happen. Civilization was set up and developed with a stable, constant coastline.”
It comes as President Barack Obama hailed the agreement as "the best chance we have to save the one planet we have".
Speaking hours after the deal was signed he said it was a "turning point" in history and a defining moment for his administration.
He said: "We've shown that the world has both the will and the ability to take on this challenge".
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