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Updated: 10 hours 36 min ago

This is how we respond to the climate warnings

October 15, 2018 - 9:11am

If last week’s UN report on 1.5˚C has made one thing clear, it’s that business as usual just isn’t working. The fossil fuel industry continues to operate on a model that is dooming us to a hot new world – one that ensures profit for a few and pain for most.

It’s obvious something has to change. We need a different politics that is going to somehow wake people up and move politicians and industry off the fence in big ways.

Thankfully, many people around the world, not paralyzed, but motivated by the latest science, showed over the past week that they’re willing to step up to this challenge, and take targeted political actions, together, to enact meaningful change. Through a range of  tactics, they’ve brought a strong, pointed message to decision makers: 1.5˚C means no more support to the fossil fuel industry, in any form.

 

Join them: Go Fossil Free


Delivering the Science

In Australia, people organized 47 different delivery actions to representatives across the country.  Printing out summaries of the report, groups of people showed up at their local politicians’ offices to demand that they vote and act in line with the climate science – refusing fossil fuel money, saying no to projects like the Adani mine, and promoting renewable energy.  Actions like these have a big impact, but take surprisingly little resources to organize. Most of them came together with just a few friends and a couple days’ foresight.

Across Australia, people have been delivering copies of the #ipcc report to local officials with a clear message: 1.5˚C means zero fossil fuels. #FossilFree #1o5C

No matter where you live, you can too: https://t.co/fLfVN3DZHd pic.twitter.com/46pwlUsAVc

— 350 dot org (@350) October 12, 2018

Not a penny more to the fossil fuel industry

On Saturday, Switzerland saw perhaps its biggest-ever climate march in history.  In Geneva, 7,000 people marched straight up to the banks, honing in on the role that banks play in financing fossil fuels. They targeted Swiss National Bank and Credit Suisse, a major funder of fossil fuel projects including Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipeline in North America. In a powerful statement, they taped the IPCC report to the office walls.

Photo credit: Jean-Jacques Kissling

Photo credit: Marie Durand

They’re not the only ones targeting the banks. In New Zealand and England, groups targeted ANZ and Barclays’ respectively, calling on them to ditch fossil fuel investments in favor of renewables. It was a common tactic in many actions across Europe over the weekend, where people specifically drew out the connection that to stick to 1.5˚C, banks cannot continue to expand gas, a fossil fuel, across the continent (or elsewhere).

On Friday we called out one of the biggest roadblocks to the just transition away from fossil fuels: @ANZ_NZ
We believe in a safe climate and a better future —a just, prosperous, and equitable world built with the power of ordinary people. Join us!https://t.co/DVKVOkfRJw pic.twitter.com/CV4PmeN2iW

— 350 Aotearoa (@350nz) October 15, 2018

Today we joined Oxford residents to tell @Barlclays to stop financing fossil fuels like #fracking in Yorkshire #1o5C #gasdown #frackdown #DivestBarclays #fossilfree #divest pic.twitter.com/R7lcecxO2Q

— People & Planet (@peopleandplanet) October 13, 2018

Educate and empower

Spreading the word, educating, and connecting with others who are concerned is powerful. It builds power down the line, a common understanding, and helps ensure the fight can be maintained.  In the Philippines, civil society groups organized a briefing on 1.5˚C to explore how it can be utilized in strengthening resolve for climate action and as a guide to building a new economy that works for all.

Photo: AC Dimatatac

 

And in Argakhachi, Nepal, a one-day workshop led by Powershift Nepal brought the conversation to this school.


Direct action

Sometimes, it pays to be direct. On the frontlines of climate change in Bangladesh, women formed a human chain in the Sundarbans, a particularly vulnerable area threatened by coal. And on the Buriganga River in Dhaka, men organized their boats into a sun each with printed messages on 1.5˚C.

Photo Credit: Sheikh Mohammad Noor Alam & Maruf Billah.

 

Finally in France, just over a month after 115,000 people came out for the record-breaking March for the Climate, tens of thousands were out again pushing the need for climate action in Paris, Marseille, Lyon and many more. Local groups have sprung up in tens of cities across the country over the past week; they can focus on local targets in the long run and quickly mobilize for big moments like this.

October 13 march in Paris.

 

The science is clear – we’re running out of time for band-aid solutions to a massive problem. 1.5˚C is a red line for the communities the world over, and the only way we can ensure we don’t cross it to oppose the fossil fuel industry en masse, and push for rapid transition to renewable energy. The last week has shown there are plenty of tools to do it. So what’s stopping you?

Go Fossil Free

Categories: International News

Putting Banks on Notice

October 14, 2018 - 1:12pm

Friends in Geneva from Collectif Breakfree Suisse organised the Marche Pour Le Climat in response to the IPCC report on 1.5C putting banks on notice that they need to divest and stop financing fossil fuel projects.   During the week I got more excited as I started to get emails about the march and invitations to banner painting parties in various cities across Switzerland.

I arrived at the meeting point for the march just a few minutes before the start – the square was packed! I could see neither the start nor the end of the march – just people of all ages, as well many colourful, creative and sometimes funny banners and placards.

Photo credit: Jean-Jacques Kissling

Finally my friend and I made our way to the front to hear the speeches – there was an inspiring speech from an indigenous person from the Ecuadorian Amazon speaking about the negative impact that oil extraction has on his community and the climate. He made it clear that Credit Suisse as financier was complicit.  

Then we started marching with 7000 others to visit the Geneva branch of the Swiss National Bank and Credit Suisse, a major funder of fossil fuel projects including Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines. At both stops activists taped the title page of the IPCC 1.5C summary report to the entrances to make sure bank officials are aware of the results. Considering the Swiss National Bank is  prohibited from investing in firms that contribute to systematic and severe environmental damage, it is about time that they understood what the science is telling us. If both want to turn a profit in the future then they should recognise that it is socially, environmentally & economically smart to invest in renewables, rather than fossil fuels.

After the march I helped my friends in Geneva with social media work in English and German followed by celebrating the successful action and the high turnout – in little Switzerland it is likely the largest action on climate ever!  Being part of a lively and effective action makes me believe a little bit more that we can take advantage of the small window of opportunity we have to keep warming below 1.5C.

Photo credit: Marie Durand

 

Categories: International News

Fossil Free News: A rare moment

October 10, 2018 - 10:25am

A month on from the mass #RiseforClimate mobilizations around the world, we’re seeing public discourse turn back to climate change this week. A new United Nations report, detailing the dangers of a world above 1.5˚C of warming, has just been published – and it’s a tough wake up call.

All over, people are speaking out about what the new report on 1.5 means – that science itself necessitates an end to fossil fuels as fast as we possibly can.

This has the potential to be a turning point. People everywhere are waking up to the fact that a livable world is a Fossil Free world. You can follow all the news from the Fossil Free movement, by signing up to receive updates like this one below twice a month:

Sign up

For now, catch up on what’s been happening in the Fossil Free movement globally the past two weeks – and see you next time in your inbox.

– Nicole from Fossil Free News 


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

In Incheon, South Korea last week, scientists and politicians gathered to hammer out a Summary of the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. It details the differences between 1.5˚C and 2˚C of warming – and how we’re currently not on track to hit either. As serious as our situation is, scientists insist it’s still technically possible to limit warming to 1.5˚C, but it’ll require an unprecedented scale of change.

The news is sparking groups everywhere to organize report deliveries to local targets and other actions to relay the urgent need to get off fossil fuels. Some have already happened in places like Japan (top of the page) and Brazil, where activists in Rio de Janiero protested outside an oil and gas auction on September 28 (watch this simple dispatch from the ground). But expect many more 1.5˚C actions coming this week, especially on 13 October.

Across Asia, we’ve seen commitments piling up to get rid of coal once and for all. First, Japan’s Marubeni, one of the world’s biggest power plant developers, announced they won’t invest in any new coal-fired power plants. Then Standard Chartered, one of the biggest coal investors globally, said goodbye. And late last week, 2 government-run pension funds in South Korea committed to end coal investment. All this is thanks to work from the movement – like those putting out the Cool Bank awards in Japan. It represents huge progress as Asia is the region where the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel is expanding fastest. This testimony from a community suffering pollution from a nearby coal plant in Bataan, the Philippines shows just what’s at stake.

In Germany, forced evacuations have spurred powerful acts of international solidarity supporting the movement to save Hambach, a beautiful 12,000 year-old forest which is threatened by the expansion of one of Europe’s biggest source of CO2 emissions: Hambach lignite coal mine. After a court finally ordered an injunction to stop the evacuation of the Forest Protectors on Friday, 50,000 people turned up Saturday to march in support. It’s a big win – but now Germany needs to take the next step and end coal for good.

Meanwhile in England, the years-long fight against fracking has reached a turning point. A week after a shocking prison sentence for three anti-fracking activists was delivered, the company Cuadrilla got the greenlight to go ahead and begin fracking for the first time in seven years. Activists considered this a devastating blow, but are holding their breaths as a court injunction was issued last minute and put drilling on pause until Wednesday. Stay tuned for more and this week you can show your support to a week of distributed actions across the UK to Let Communities Decide.

Last Saturday, just ahead of the Nobel Prize announcements, activists outside the Nobel museum in Stockholm, Sweden reminded the Nobel Foundation that it’s time to clean up their act and divest. The Foundation, which delivers the famous annual prize, still invests in fossil fuels – despite the fact that over 115,000 people from around the world have signed on to the group’s petition to Divest Nobel (you can too!)

THE INSIDE STORY

“When there is a Pacific rugby test, why is it that we can fill the seats with 19,000 supporters? How do we figure how to gather that same support for the work that the Pacific Climate Warriors do?”

The Pacific Climate warriors have been visiting Australia to share their realities in the Pacific dealing with the impacts of climate change right now. In Sydney, they visited the Cronulla Sharks Rugby club to try to connect their work to a much wider audience. It’s part of their Pacific Pawa Frontline Truths storytelling tour that’s wrapping up this week.

THE ONE TO WATCH

Watch this inspiring video from the communities leading a wave of renewable energy resistance. SolarXL puts solar arrays along the path of the proposed route of Keystone XL pipeline. They recently finished the third solar installation in Naper, Nebraska. As a participating landowner along the route exclaims, “Five years later we’re still here and the pipeline isn’t!”

 

HAVE YOUR SAY

The IPCC report on how we stay below 1.5˚C is creating an important shift in public debate right now. It’s a key time to help push forward the Fossil Free movement’s demands and make sure those in power understand what the science is really saying: that we need to get off fossil fuels, right now. Watch and share this video, and if you have not found your local action to deliver the report yet, find or register one here, it’s easy to do.

 

In Fossil Free News, we bring together these stories from the movement, with videos, photos, podcasts and more. By signing up, you can keep up to date with all the latest news – delivered every 2 weeks.

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Categories: International News

1.5°C = #HambiBleibt

October 10, 2018 - 9:31am

The report released on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) couldn’t be clearer: limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees means keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

There’s not much time left to make the radical changes that will be needed to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change. That’s why the recent protests in the heart of Germany’s coal region, North Rhine Westphalia, were so important.

Just last weekend, on the eve of the IPCC report release, 50,000 people came together in solidarity to save the Hambach forest and take a stand against coal. The nearly 12,000 year-old forest has been under threat from coal company RWE who planned to cut down the forest to expand a nearby coal mine. The Hambach mine is one of the single biggest sources of carbon in Europe. 

Initially, local police had tried to prevent the “Save Hambi, Stop Coal” demonstration from taking place, but a local court lifted the ban after a last minute appeal – that in itself is a victory for us. On the day, the crowd was victorious and defiant. After several hours of listening to speeches and bands, thousands of people streamed into the forest and joined Ende Gelände’s action, helping to build new blockades and treehouses and bringing a nearby coal digger to a halt. 

Photo: Leon Enrique

More photos from the Save Hambi, Stop coal protests.

This was the culmination of weeks of mobilisations, with thousands of people heading to the area every weekend and an outpouring of support from across all parts of society — from church groups, school kids, and local communities to celebrities and private companies. The international response was also significant: the Pacific Climate Warriors sent a message of solidarity, after having visited the forest last year during COP23, and our team received more than 5,000 messages from around the world that we will deliver to those on the frontlines. The fight for Hambach forest has become part of a bigger climate justice movement across Europe and around the world.

Children in Tonga showing solidarity

Kinder aus Tonga schicken zum internationalen Aktionstag Soligrüße an #HambiBleibt

Categories: International News

Here’s your chance to take action on 1.5˚C

October 9, 2018 - 1:27pm

On October 8 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its special report into 1.5°C. It confirms that 1.5°C is a red line for our climate — and that the window for staying below that limit is closing fast.

This report should be a wake up call for decision-makers at every level of government, business and the media. And it should be a call to action for our movement.

This October, you can help decision-makers in your community hear the scientists’ message: 1.5°C = Zero fossil fuels.

 

 

In the days immediately after the report’s release, and especially on Saturday October 13, we are asking groups to deliver the IPCC’s report to local decision-makers supporting the fossil fuel industry. This is our chance to show them – whether politicians, CEOs, or investment fund managers – exactly what supporting the fossil fuel industry means.

How you want to deliver the report is up to you: from simply printing a copy and hand delivering it to your target, to human signs and banner drops. Whatever gets the message across.

Sign up now to get a copy of the report and plan your action. We will send you action guides and other resources to help you organise your delivery as soon as they are ready.

Don’t want to organise an event? Help spread the word by sharing this video on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Youtube and stay up to date by joining the Fossil Free movement:

Join the Fossil Free movement

Categories: International News

Scientists say we must stop global warming now. Here are the stories of people fighting for it

October 8, 2018 - 1:56pm

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a UN body of international scientists that review climate change science, have released their most recent report assessing the feasibility of limiting mean global temperature rise to below 1.5°C, the aspirational goal set by the Paris Agreement. The reports shows that it is indeed possible to stay below 1.5°C and that people, ecosystems and the planet will be better off for it, but it requires transformational change now, away from fossil fuel and toward renewables.

While diplomats were negotiating on the final text of the report, line by line, we decided to put together a People’s Dossier on 1.5°C, where we connect the dots between temperature increase, climate impacts and the need to stop fossil fuel infrastructure.

 

Read the People’s Dossier stories here

 

In the Dossier, we tell the stories of 13 communities worldwide, fighting on the frontlines of climate change: from young Pacific Islanders trying to stop the Adani mega-mine to fishermen communities in Africa battling against new coal plants; from the struggle to stop a gigantic gas pipeline among the olive groves of Southern Italy to the landowners to people putting solar panels on the route of the Keystone XL pipeline.
These are some of the people that have been pushing for that transformational change; the IPCC confirmed they’ve been right all along.

 

According to the IPCC, the pathways consistent with a 1.5°C limit require cutting emissions in half by 2030, with the share of solar, wind and hydro energy increasing 60% by 2020 to provide between half and two-thirds of total energy by 2050.

Removing carbon from the atmosphere by planting trees can give us the extra boost needed to quickly draw down CO2 concentration in the atmosphere without the massive deployment of carbon capture and geo-engineering technologies, most of which are unproven, were never implemented on a large scale and carry significant risks. The hard truth is that we can’t engineer our way out of the climate change mess.

We have barely twelve (but more conservative estimates say  less than three) years of emissions as usual before we exceed our carbon budget, that is the total amount of CO2 we can still put in the atmosphere to have a decent shot at limiting global warming to 1.5°C.  The sooner and more quickly we cut emissions, the better our chances of meeting this ambitious goal. Or, to put it in clearer terms, every year we waste debating the obvious halves our chances of staying under 1.5°C.

This reality is technically possible – last year, a team of researchers developed 100% renewable energy roadmaps for 139 countries. A global conversion to renewable energy sources can deliver a net gain of over 24 million jobs worldwide and prevent 4.6 million premature deaths yearly. It will eliminate over $20 trillion in air-pollution costs and almost $30 trillion in climate costs by the year 2050. Such a just transition will stabilize energy prices and increase access to energy by decentralizing power.

The fossil fuel industry’s corporate hold on governments is the problem and their focus is solely on increasing their profit margin and externalising costs, which means the communities who are least responsible for it bear the brunt of its impacts. These include indigenous communities and poor people of colour.  

Yet the impacts are now being felt everywhere by everyone with only 1°C warming.  This year is on pace to be the fourth warmest ever and has demonstrated there is nowhere to hide. We have witnessed over 4,000 heat-related deaths in Pakistan and India, as well over 300 deaths due to flooding and heat in Japan, one of the most industrialised countries in the world.

The demands and actions of the climate justice movement can force governments to take action and are all the more pertinent at such a critical juncture:

  1. We must stop all new fossil fuel projects. It’s clear that the fossil fuel industry is trying to squeeze a little more juice from their current business model before being forced to change the tune. From the Adani coal mine in Australia, to the TransMountain pipeline in Canada, the Keystone XL in the US and the TAP gas pipeline in Southern Europe, from the pre-salt oil fields currently being auctioned off by the Brazilian government to the coal plants being planned in Kenya, South Africa and all over the Asian continent, all of these projects need to never see the light of day.
  2. Not a penny more can go to dirty energy companies and projects. Those who have control of the money, often our money, need to immediately and massively divest from fossil fuels and invest instead in renewable energy, energy storage and low-carbon projects in the transport, building and agriculture sectors.
  3. We must dramatically accelerate the transition to 100%, locally distributed, renewable energy systems, with off-the-grid solar and wind power and community-led energy production. This will take away power from energy giants and put it back where it belongs, in the hands of the people, while ensuring that we stop spewing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Let’s use the IPCC report to strengthen our resolve to take action and use the climate crisis as an opportunity to create a more people-centred world that is in tune with mother earth.

If ordinary people of all walks of life stand up to take extraordinary action, we can rebuild our economies to be carbon-free and make sure they work for all and leave no one behind. This, we believe, is our best shot at securing lasting change and creating the right momentum to secure, by 2020, a fast and just transition to a more equitable, fossil-free world.

I hope that the stories in the People’s Dossier on 1.5°C will inspire you to join the movement, if you haven’t already. This is one big existential fight, and we might be short on time, but it’s up to each one of us to decide what we want to do with the time we have. I say we try and change the world.

Read the People’s Dossier stories here

Categories: International News

Battle to oppose large-scale coal plants plays out in historic Japanese city threatened by sea-level rise

October 3, 2018 - 11:30am

 

Kobe, situated between the sea and the Rokko mountain range in Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture, is considered to be one of the most beautiful and attractive cities in the Kansai region. It is also home to a 1,400-megawatt coal-fired power station. Now, a group of local citizens, environmental organizations, and environmental policy and law experts is fighting to stop the construction of two new large-scale coal power plants.

The group states that the additional plants would further pollute the skies of Kobe with emissions of sulfur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), byproducts of burning coal that contribute to respiratory disease and degrade the environment through acid rain and damage to plant life, among other impacts.

 

 

Air pollution and environmental degradation will not be the only effects of adding new coal infrastructure in the city. In 2017, the Guardian released a report on the world’s cities most susceptible to sea level rise as a result of a 3-degree warming of the planet. Osaka City, directly west of Kobe, was designated as one of the most vulnerable, where 5.2 million people are projected to be impacted by global sea-level rise, storm surges, and other factors. Coastal cities along Osaka Bay, including Kobe, are also thought to be highly vulnerable.

The most recent edition of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Emissions Gap Report states that as a necessary condition for keeping warming below the 1.5-2℃ threshold, as laid out in the Paris Agreement, no new coal power can be built and an accelerated phasing out of existing plants will be needed. Further expanding coal capacity in Kobe will only contribute to global temperature increase and sea level rise.

Plans to build additional coal plants in the city are led by Kobe Steel, a major Japanese steel manufacturer headquartered in Kobe. The company has a notorious history when it comes to air pollution. In the 1970s, Kobe Steel was among ten companies that were taken to court by local residents for air pollution at the root of man-made diseases that affected thousands of citizens. 20 years later, the companies admitted their fault and issued apologies compensation to those who had been affected, settling the dispute.

Kobe Steel’s current plans to push through new coal power plant constructions despite overwhelming opposition from the community illustrates how little the company learned from its polluting past.

Reputational challenges related to improper conduct in product assessments has also created roadblocks for Kobe Steel. In August 2017, the company admitted it had falsified certifications on the strength and durability of its metals for at least a decade. In October 2017, the Hyogo Prefecture government suspended the company’s environmental impact assessment for the planned plants, citing the company’s dishonesty in falsifying its product information.

Research produced by 350.org Japan indicates that financial institutions are at fault for fanning the issue by increasing their loans and underwriting services to companies including Kobe Steel who are engaged in domestic coal development after the Paris Climate Accord was signed in 2015. Mizuho Financial, Mitsui Sumitomo Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ were the top 3 creditors and provided approximately 62% of the credit identified as attributable to coal development.

Currently, the battle to oppose the new coal plants are mired as the local group has decided to take Kobe Steel to court over air pollution concerns and climate change risk.

“In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of extremely hot days and torrential rains. The effects of global warming have never felt as real as they do now” said Haruka Kubo, professor at the Konan University and one of the members leading the litigation case.

“Besides the inevitable impacts on the stability of the climate, the power plants will be built in the immediate vicinity of a population densely populated with children vulnerable to pollution and patients affected by man-made diseases. It is obvious that these coal power plants will lead to many problems, but the current political and legal systems in Japan are not effective in stopping the construction. Thus, we have decided to take matters into our own hands and decided to go to the courts.”

You can stand in solidarity with communities confronting climate change around the world. Register a local delivery action on October 13 to send the message: science says we must get off fossil fuels.

 

Take action for 1.5°C

 

The window to stay below 1.5°C of warming is closing fast. People’s lives are at stake – we must get to zero fossil fuels as fast as possible.  Read the full People’s Dossier with stories on 1.5°C here.

Categories: International News

Communities in Southern Italy fight against monstrous gas pipeline

October 3, 2018 - 10:03am

Communities in Salento, in the southern ‘heel’ of Italy, are on the frontlines of the struggle to stop the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). If completed, TAP would connect with the Southern Gas Corridor, carrying billions of cubic metres of gas from Azerbaijan to Italy every year from 2020.

The pipeline would come onshore in the beautiful seaside town of San Foca, Puglia. Local people fear its construction, including a gas receiving terminal, will damage and pollute the local landscape, coastline and clear blue waters.

Photo: Alessandra Tommasi

Despite the climate impacts of the project and the objections of the local people, the Italian government and the European Commission are trying to force it through.

Facing police violence and being threatened with heavy fines, local people are organising peacefully and powerfully to stop the pipeline’s construction.

The story of the TAP pipeline is a glaring example of the short-sightedness of European politicians. The EU and its member states are planning to massively expand gas infrastructure with new mega pipelines such as the Trans Adriatic Pipeline and Nord Stream II, even though existing gas reserves blow the remaining carbon budget already, and existing infrastructure is standing unused.
The project will cost €45bn, making it the most expensive fossil fuel project under development in Europe. When factoring in the potential methane leakage that will take place along the route, the climate impacts of the gas it will carry is thought to be at least as bad as coal.

The Mediterranean region has already warmed by 1.3°C above pre-industrial levels, which has already led to drier conditions, increasing the risk of wildfires like the ones raging across the region this past summer.
Scientists warn that unless average temperature rise in the region stops short of reaching the 1.5°C threshold, large parts of Southern Europe and Northern Africa will permanently turn into deserts with more frequent deadly heatwaves and dramatic consequences on food production.

Olive groves and grapes that have shaped the Salento region over thousands of years might be gone within a couple of generations, if projects such as the TAP pipeline move forward and contribute to tipping the scales of climate change.

“This is a European-wide problem,” says Sabina Giese, a local resident organising against the pipeline . “We don’t need this pipeline, as we don’t need all the others. We the people of Europe need to be united in this fight.”

Locals have been concerned about the TAP project for years, but the struggle heated up in March 2018, when the pipeline company – without any official permits from the local government – moved in to remove hundreds of ancient olive trees near the rural town of Melendugno.

These trees are the backbone of the economy in the area and are essential to the livelihoods of local communities. They carry strong cultural value for local people and are hundreds (some thousands) of years old.

Mass gatherings of people, both locals and from other areas of the country, have been peacefully resisting the uprooting of the trees and the construction of the pipeline, among other things by climbing on the olive trees themselves to protect them with their own bodies and building stone barricades to stop vehicle accessing the site. They were often pushed back by police in riot gear.

In early July, the police, enacting a Mussolini-era law for public order, effectively put the tiny town on lockdown, blocking all roads in and out of the town, while the contractors moved in to remove the uprooted olive trees. Those that resisted were violently attacked by the police, including the Vice-mayor of the town.

Tensions is still high in San Foca and Melendugno. The police seems to be trying to intimidate those taking part in the resistance. They have been identifying individuals through photo and video footage, and people have started receiving notifications of fines of €2,500-10,000 for being involved in peaceful protests and roadblocks.

But the spirit of resistance is strong, and local gatherings are getting bigger and bigger. The local No TAP Committee is determined to stop the pipeline altogether. They believe that it is unnecessary, undemocratic, and that it will cause vast economic and environmental damage to the area. Their message is “Né qui né altrove” – “No TAP, not here or anywhere”.

You can stand in solidarity with communities confronting climate change around the world. Register a local delivery action on October 13 to send the message: science says we must get off fossil fuels.

 

Take action for 1.5°C

 

The window to stay below 1.5°C of warming is closing fast. People’s lives are at stake – we must get to zero fossil fuels as fast as possible.  Read the full People’s Dossier with stories on 1.5°C here.

Categories: International News

Fishing community in Kenyan UNESCO heritage site opposes giant coal plant

October 3, 2018 - 9:54am

Lamu Old Town is one of the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa. In 2001, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, in recognition of its outstanding universal value to Swahili and Islamic cultures. In 2013, the Government of Kenya initiated plans for developing a coal-fired power plant in the area. The proposed plant is scheduled to generate coal-fired thermal power on 865 acres of land at Kwasasi, Lamu County.

Lamu residents, local community leaders, national and international environmental groups have raised serious concerns about the environmental, social and human health implications of the fossil fuel plant. The coastal areas of Lamu County are rich in biodiversity, both marine and terrestrial. This is evident in the vibrant tourism sector that employs many on the island. The coal power would cause serious risks to Lamu’s delicate marine environment, which many fear will harm its two most vital industries: fishing and tourism.

Once constructed, the project risks causing massive pollution according to various reports, negatively impacting the livelihoods of Lamu residents, already affected by a pre-existing oil infrastructure project known as the Lamu Port and Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET).

Photo: Waterkeeper Alliance

“The coal plant threatens the marine ecosystem and the livelihoods of our people. We won’t accept it. We’re not anti-development, but no one in the world has ventured into coal mining and faced no long-term consequences. Coal is dirty energy, and its effects are detrimental.” said activist Wahlid Ahmed, whose family has been living in Lamu for generations.
The proposed coal plant could potentially displace 120,000 people living in Lamu County, and single-handedly emit the highest amount of toxic chemicals in the region.

Public debate over coal intensified in 2017-2018. Media and public attention on the project increased significantly and several street demonstrations were held by potentially affected communities.
Community groups are pursuing litigation. They argue that the economic, environmental, and health impacts they will endure because of burning coal for electricity have not been sufficiently considered in granting licenses for the plant and that the plans to protect them from health and economic harm are insufficient.

In 2009, Lamu Environmental Protection and Conservation (LEPAC) spearheaded an initiative to unite groups and individuals in a campaign to save the Lamu Archipelago. Out of this initiative, a coalition of groups came together under the banner “Save Lamu”.

“We cannot forget Africa’s colonial history and it is totally inexcusable for us to ignore a neocolonial system powered by the coal industry. African communities are coming together to resist fossil fuels and embracing clean energy because the time has come to chart a solid course to deco(a)lonisation of the continent.” said Nnimmo Bassey, Director of the Health of Mother Earth Foundation.

The resistance against coal expansion has been growing significantly among Kenyan civil society and the community at large, following continued anti-coal mobilisation and advocacy efforts to oppose the proposed Lamu coal plant. Recently, the Kenyan faith movement added their voices to those calling on leaders to make the right decision and asking for self-determination and community control over the resources, including with regards to energy distribution systems.

You can stand in solidarity with communities confronting climate change around the world. Register a local delivery action on October 13 to send the message: science says we must get off fossil fuels.

 

Take action for 1.5°C

 

The window to stay below 1.5°C of warming is closing fast. People’s lives are at stake – we must get to zero fossil fuels as fast as possible.  Read the full People’s Dossier with stories on 1.5°C here.

Categories: International News

As California climate impacts intensify, fossil fuel extraction still widespread

October 3, 2018 - 8:37am

In California, wildfires are intensifying and temperatures are rising every year due to climate change. For years, communities on the frontlines of climate impacts and of oil and gas extraction have been urging the state’s administration to stand up to the fossil fuel industry. Now, as California’s governor comes to the end of his term, communities in the state are urging him to deny all new permits for oil and gas drilling and phase out existing fossil fuel extraction across the state.

California is already seeing the impacts of climate change, even as the state is positioned as a leader in the fight against the climate crisis. Year after year, wildfires have continued to break records for their size and the immense amount of destruction they cause. This year, experts predict wildfire season will continue to get worse. Meanwhile, headlines forecast that California’s wildfire season “may now be year-round.” Six of California’s most destructive wildfires on record have occurred in the last 10 months.

 

30,000 marched for the climate in San Francisco on September 8, and co-created the world’s largest street mural. Photo: Anesti Vega | Survival Media Agency

 

The likelihood of these destructive fires is made all the worse by record-breaking temperatures being experienced across the state. This summer, all-time-high temperature records were set across Southern California. Overall, July was California’s hottest month ever recorded.

In response to worsening impacts from climate change and the direct effects of oil and gas production on the health of nearby communities, people across California are demanding action from Governor Jerry Brown. Specifically, communities are calling on Brown, who is winding down his last term in office as Governor and his career as an elected official, to deny new permits for oil and gas drilling and to phase out fossil fuel extraction as a whole in the state.

California is often held up as a leader on climate action in the U.S. and Brown has supported measures to increase energy efficiency in the state. Yet the governor has stopped short of addressing of the oil and gas industry directly, despite the urging of communities most impacted by fossil fuel production. Recently, the state’s legislature passed a bill, called SB 100, to move the state’s electrical grid to 100% clean energy by 2045.

“This is a massive victory for Californians who’ve been demanding a swift transition to clean energy in the state,” said 350.org executive director May Boeve of SB 100. “SB 100 is a critical first step toward addressing the worsening climate crisis, but to truly change course, we must end fossil fuel extraction. Governor Brown should go even further by kickstarting the transition off of fossil fuels while protecting Californian’s lives and livelihoods.”

As climate impacts worsen across California, from rising temperatures to intensifying wildfires, the state’s government has a critical opportunity to act on phasing out the extraction of fossil fuels and transition to a 100% renewable energy economy that prioritizes community-led solutions. If California takes this critical step, it could set a precedent for climate action both in the U.S. and around the world.

 

1.5°C = Zero Fossil Fuels

 

 Download the full People’s Dossier on 1.5°C here.

Categories: International News

Wave of renewable energy resistance puts solar panels in path of tar sands pipeline

October 3, 2018 - 8:34am

Keystone XL is a proposed tar sands pipeline that would connect Alberta, Canada with Gulf Coast refineries carrying around 800,000 barrels per day of tar sands oil across the United States. President Obama rejected the federal permit for this project in 2015 because of the impact Keystone XL would have on our climate. One of Trump’s first moves in office was to reverse Obama’s decision and give TransCanada the federal permit for construction. In November 2017, the Nebraska Public Service Commission voted to give a “conditional” approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, mandating TransCanada use a different route. TransCanada is now scrambling to buy out politicians to move the project forward.

As a means of blocking this pipeline, indigenous communities, landowners, farmers, along with supporting organizations, launched Solar XL – a wave of renewable energy resistance that’s building solar arrays directly in the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline – putting clean energy solutions in the path of the problem. The project was launched by Bold Nebraska, 350.org, Indigenous Environmental Network, CREDO, and Oil Change International.

Photo: J Grace Young | Bold Nebraska

 

On November 20, 2017, the Nebraska Public Service Commission (PSC) rejected the preferred route for the Keystone XL pipeline, but granted a permit for an alternate route through the state, which creates many more obstacles for the company. TransCanada has asked the PSC to reconsider its decision, while Nebraska farmers and ranchers have pledged to continue resisting the project in the courts.

The Solar XL project continues with new installations of solar arrays, led by communities on the ground in Nebraska. Meanwhile, indigenous leaders and their allies launched the Promise to Protect, a call for everyone who can to commit to future resistance along the pipeline route if Keystone XL moves forward. They announced this plan at a gathering in South Dakota for the second signing of a treaty against the expansion of Canada’s tar sands.

The project – and the indigenous communities, landowners, and farmers who are leading the project – are demonstrating the necessary solutions to fighting the climate crisis and keep warming below 1.5°C.

1.5°C = Zero Fossil Fuels

 

Download the full People’s Dossier on 1.5°C here.

Categories: International News

Vulnerable Louisiana wetlands and poor communities threatened by giant oil pipeline

October 3, 2018 - 8:29am

In the bayous of Louisiana, long term residents, committed activist, and community leaders are rising up against Bayou Bridge, a proposed 162 miles long pipeline owned by Energy Transfer Partners which is threatening their water and their way of life. The very construction of the pipeline is damaging Louisiana’s wetlands: BBP will destroy 150 acres of wetlands in its path and will impact 450 more acres. Louisiana’s wetlands are already being impacted by climate change and development, with the state losing an average of one acre of coastal wetlands per hour to rising sea levels. Existing oil pipelines have already damaged industries in the area, and BBP only makes these problems worse, increases flooding, and irreparably damages the ecosystem.

The water protectors of Louisiana are risking arrest to protect their communities from the many detrimental effects of a pipeline running through their area- not only does it threaten their water and way of life; these types of fossil fuel projects and fossil fuel extraction contribute to our planet’s warming at dangerous levels. The oil running through the Bayou Bridge Pipeline emits a carbon equivalent of 30 new coal plants. The pipeline is not compatible with a global mandate to limit warming to below 1.5°C.

Fernando Lopez | Survival Media Agency

The oil that would move through the BBP would come directly from North Dakota by way of the Dakota Access pipeline, only to be exported overseas. Inspired by Dakota Access Camp, Bayou Bridge Resistance created the L’eau est la Vie Camp. The fight has been intensifying, with police tasering and arresting water protectors who are actively putting their bodies on the line to stop the pipeline.

Louisiana is one of the hardest hit regions of the United States when it comes to climate impacts such as intense hurricanes, which have devastated in particular low-income communities, people of color, and other vulnerable populations who face the highest risk and have the hardest recovery. In addition, toxic waste dumps, sewage treatments, and other deadly pollution sources have greatly impacted poor communities in the region, and are rarely if ever found near middle class, white, affluent suburbs. The people of St. James, Louisiana, who are fighting against the Bayou Bridge Pipeline are already surrounded by multi-billion dollar methanol plants. St James has earned the name of Cancer Alley.

The inspiring resistance of the water protectors and allies in Louisiana is a demonstration of a fight for livelihoods in the face of corporate greed and intensifying climate impacts.

1.5°C = Zero Fossil Fuels

Read the full People’s Dossier on 1.5°C here.

Categories: International News

Facing climate impacts, Canada doubles down on fossil fuels

October 3, 2018 - 8:25am

In late August, with wildfires in the Canadian west reaching record breaking levels and residents in the east still reeling from mid-summer heatwaves that killed dozens, the Canadian government bought from American company Kinder Morgan the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline project, an 890,000 barrel per day pipeline project that would make it all but impossible for Canada to meet its Paris climate commitments.

For years, this project has been fought, following the leadership of Indigenous nations, in the courts, on the streets and the land. In the past few months that fight has escalated with nearly 250 people arrested in mass acts of civil disobedience, thousands of people taking actions across Canada and around the world and, most recently, a massive court victory that quashed the government’s unjust approval of the pipeline.

Photo: Zack Embree

 

Without drastic action, scientists warn that wildfires, drought and extreme heat are expected to be a perennial issue in Canada.

In British Columbia and Alberta, temperature rise is nixing hotter, drier weather with expanding mountain pine beetle infestations, transforming western forests into a wildfire tinderbox. 2017 was the worst wildfire season on record – until 2018 that is.

On the other side of the country, nearly 100 people died in connection to extreme heat in Quebec this past summer. Scientists predict that heat wave events like this are expected to become more frequent and up to five times more deadly.

Despite increasingly dangerous climate impacts and strong public opposition, the government of Canada continues to promote and expand tar sands expansion – Canada’s fastest growing source of emissions and a fossil fuel reserve that, if fully exploited, could burn up nearly a quarter of the entire world’s remaining carbon budget for the 1.5°C threshold.

Knowing that the pipeline has the same impact as putting 7 million new cars on Canada’s roads, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to spend at least $4.5 billion in taxpayer money to buy the Kinder Morgan pipeline, pledging to put shovels in the ground as soon as possible.

For now, the path forward for the pipeline remains unclear, but communities opposed to it are stalwart in their opposition. The task that remains is to force Canada’s politicians to understand that our climate commitments mean no new fossil fuel projects.

1.5°C = Zero Fossil Fuels

 

Read the full People’s Dossier on 1.5°C here.

Categories: International News

Drought-stricken communities in Brazil battle fossil fuel industry for water

October 3, 2018 - 8:21am

The northeast of Brazil is still experiencing its longest drought ever, going on since 2010, with climate change to blame. The water scarcity has had a devastating impact on local agriculture and fishery, but that’s not the end of it, for local communities.

With the reservoirs of the hydroelectric plants – the country’s main source of electricity – empty and for lack of investments in other renewable energy sources, the government has to activate the fossil fuel-fired thermoelectric plants. These plants, in addition to being more polluting, often contaminate rivers and underground reservoirs, and use in its activities large amounts of the little potable water left.

This is the case of the Pecém Industrial and Port Complex, located in the metropolitan region of Fortaleza, the capital of the northeastern state of Ceará. Pecém I and II are the two largest coal-fired thermoelectric plants in the country and are authorized by the state government to collect up to 800 liters of water per second (or 70 million liters per day) from the Castanhão Water Reservoir, which could supply a city of 600,000.

The largest multi-purpose and public reservoir in the country, Castanhão supplies the entire metropolitan region of Fortaleza, where almost half of the state’s population lives. Last November the reservoir reached its dead volume and stopped supplying the city for more than 20 days. With Castanhão being empty, the government began to explore other locations, including protected areas such as the Environmental Preservation Area of Lagamar do Cauípe, where many indigenous and riverside communities live, and whose natural resources they depend on.

At the end of 2017, the Anacé indigenous people of Barra do Cauipe saw a group of workers, accompanied by police officers, begin operations to withdraw water from Lagamar do Cauípe to supply the Pecém Complex. With the support of popular movements and civil organizations, Anacé leaderships obtained a state court injunction ordering the interruption of the works. The project, which aims to extract 200 liters of water per second from the area, could highly compromise the already sparse water resources in the region.

“In one of the worst water crisis in the state, the government is allowing the water meant for the population’s primary consumption, to be diverted to industrial interests. They enter the territory without asking for permission, without consulting the traditional communities that live there. This only further intensifies the existing conflicts in the region,” said chief Roberto Marques, leader of the Anacé indigenous people.

In addition to its environmental importance, Lagamar do Cauípe is also essential for the livelihood of local communities and for the maintenance of fishing and tourism activities in the region. Not to mention cultural and spiritual matters. “My people believe that our ancestors, the ‘enchanted ones’, still live in the Cauípe lagoon. But just like water, they can also disappear. If the government wants to kill our land, then they will kill us too. It may already be all lost, but we will not lose without fighting.”

In Brazil, the Northeastern semi-arid region will be the most severely affected by climate change. According to the latest IPCC data, the temperature in the region, which has historically suffered from periodic droughts, is expected to increase from 2°C to 5°C by 2100 if nothing is done to stop the planet from warming.

According to projections, a total of 1,488 Brazilian cities and 36 million people – or a fifth of its population – will be directly affected by lack of water in the very near future. The state of Ceará is already experiencing the first life-threatening impacts of climate change.

“The greatest impact in the region is certainly the water scarcity, which in turn generates direct impacts on the economy and people’s health. The increase in temperature, coupled with a lower rainfall rate, makes the surface reservoirs dry faster, ending with the main source of human supplies,” explains Nicolas Fabre, advisor of Rural and Environment Development of the Association of Municipalities of the State of Ceará.

According to him, the problem is not so much of rainfall volume, but of its distribution in time and space. “Some municipalities receive in only one day half the amount of rain expected for the whole year, and in the other they are completely dry. They declare a state of emergency because of the floods, and six months later they declare emergency due to the drought. In addition, these torrential rains cause silting of the rivers, which reduces their water storage capacity, since they are filled with sand and sediments,” he said.

The consequences for livelihoods are also putting in jeopardy the lives of many in the region. A few years ago Ceará had become the federal state with the largest production of tilapia fish. Today, it does not even appear in official statistics. “If there is no water, there is no fish. The family producers and the artisanal fishermen have to resort to government aid, and unemployment and poverty trends have risen again.”

The Brazilian government currently subsidies fossil fuel production in direct and indirect ways for a total of over 66 billion USD, nearly half of which are tax breaks for the fossil fuel industry.

If that money were to be invested in policies to foster technologies for resilience and adaptation and on the development of a solid renewable energy infrastructure, the people of Ceará could hope to save their water sources and with them their livelihoods and traditional way of living.

1.5°C = Zero Fossil Fuels

 

Read the full People’s Dossier on 1.5°C here.

Categories: International News

A coastal community in Senegal battles rising sea levels and a new coal plant

October 2, 2018 - 3:07pm

The sleepy town of Barngy, Senegal, is one of the country’s most vulnerable to coastal erosion. Located about 15 km to the east of the capital, Dakar, continued rising waters have destroyed hundreds of houses in fishermen communities. Sea rising has become a major threat that grows by more than two meters a year, forcing hundreds of people to pile up in riparian neighborhoods. Bargny is now also threatened by the construction of Senegal’s first coal power plant in the nearby village of Sendou. Already victims of the pollution provoked by the Sococim, a cement plant at 1.5 km distance, and of the coastal erosion due to climate change, citizens are concerned by the potential impact that the new power plant will have on their health and the environment.

Like the hundreds of coal plants planned or already under construction worldwide, the Sendou coal plant will only add to the climate crisis that is threatening the people of Bargny. If the world will warm more than 1.5 Celsius degrees above pre-industrial levels, the fight against rising sea levels will be lost.

Since 2014, community members have been organising and mobilising in Bargny and surrounding villages to challenge and oppose the construction of the coal plant. They held a mass demonstration at the same time of COP21 in Paris and organized marches and awareness raising events, calling on President Macky Sall to take a stand against coal power plants, and to invest instead in renewable energies.

Photo: Waterkeeper Alliance

“They want to get it up and running this month, but we’re gonna do everything we can to stop it.” said Fadel Wade, a local activist.

The construction of the plant, however, goes on, and some farmers reported bulldozers entering their fields to clear the land to make way for the construction of a coal terminal on the endangered coast..
“Polluting industries are established throughout the area. We’re caught in a pincer!” added Wade.
The site of the plant lies a few hundred meters from a fish-processing site that employs 1,000 women from the village, a daycare and health center, and a primary school. It is half a kilometer away from the houses recently rebuilt after the latest storm surge.

Ocean systems and coastal areas are particularly vulnerable to climate change. The entire economy of coastal Bargny is based on the marine life that is threatened by a warming climate.

The long-term benefits of limiting warming to 1.5°C, as enshrined in the Paris Agreement, largely outweigh the short-term costs in terms of increased economic growth, employment, avoided climate impacts, energy security, access and imports and health. However, fossil fuel energy expansion is portrayed by the Senegalese government and elites as necessary to achieve development of the country.

The resistance to fossil fuel infrastructure by the people of Bargny offers an alternative path to development for Senegal and Western Africa, one that can spare the next generation from inheriting the behemoth infrastructure of outdated and destructive technologies, and instead open a new chapter through a continent-wide adoption of small scale, decentralized renewable energy to satisfy the energy needs of families and small businesses throughout the continent.

1.5°C = Zero Fossil Fuels

 

Read the full People’s Dossier on 1.5°C here.

Categories: International News

Saami people on frontlines of climate change witness the Arctic melt

October 1, 2018 - 2:59pm

In the far north of Europe live the Saami people whose culture has existed before the Finnish, Swedish and the Vikings. Living in the Arctic regions of Sweden, Finland, Norway and Russia, they have survived the harshest environment for thousands of years. But the changing climate has made life more difficult for the Saami, who are now fighting through warmer and increasingly unpredictable conditions in the Arctic.

The Arctic is warming twice as fast as the global average. Unpredictable ice sheets make traditional routes over frozen lakes dangerous. People and reindeer have drowned because of unusually thin ice. Earlier this year, scientists were alarmed when the strongest and thickest Arctic sea ice north of Greenland started to break up for the first time on record. This summer’s unprecedented drought and wildfires in the Arctic Circle have done serious damage to the winter grazing lands of reindeer, which will take decades to recover.

Photo: Mose Agestam

Reindeers are an essential part of life for the Saami. They use them for transport, milk and meat production. Traditional knowledge on reindeer herding has been passed down from generation to generation, including the knowledge of how to use land during extreme weather fluctuations. However, due to the drastic increase in temperatures, Saami reindeer herders are struggling.

Jonas Vannar recalls the difficulties he is facing as a Saami reindeer herder. Due to the warming Arctic and increasing deforestation, it has been more difficult for the reindeers to find lichen, their primary source of food.

“As a reindeer herder you need the reindeer to be able to find food on their own. They smell the lichen under the snow. When it gets warm during the winter and then cold again, you get layers of ice building up on the ground, and they can’t smell the lichen. The reindeer then start looking for lichen hanging from trees. […] It makes the conflict with the forestry industry worse because these mostly grow on old trees. When you cut down the forest, the hanging lichen also disappears” says Vannar. He has experienced reindeer dying in his arms due to lack of food. Something, he says, he never wants to have to go through again.

But the problems the Saami face are not only climate change.

Large energy projects, such as hydropower dams, threaten their way of living. The dams block the paths of the reindeer, which run along river valleys, and change the rivers’ natural patterns. Usually, rivers have greater flow in the summer than in winter. The dams collect water in the summer and release it during winter, further exacerbating the thinning of the ice sheets. Vannar’s Saami village had to move all the reindeer paths up on the land. Wind farms on reindeer grazing land cut off their migration routes, a stark reminder that clean energy solutions need to be implemented taking into account the needs of the ecosystem and of the local communities.

You can stand in solidarity with communities confronting climate change around the world. Register a local delivery action on October 13 to send the message: science says we must get off fossil fuels.

 

Take action for 1.5°C

 

The window to stay below 1.5°C of warming is closing fast. People’s lives are at stake – we must get to zero fossil fuels as fast as possible.  Read the full People’s Dossier with stories on 1.5°C here.

Categories: International News

Standard Chartered just dumped coal!

September 28, 2018 - 10:57am

We have awesome news. Standard Chartered bank has just announced it will not fund any new coal-fired power plant projects, including expansions, in any location!

Together with Market Forces and organizations from around the world we have been campaigning hard to convince Standard Chartered to rule out all new coal. Last month we took out a full page ad in the Asian Financial Times and tens of thousands of people have taken online action to call on the bank to do exactly what it just has!

To illustrate how significant this is, since the start of this decade Standard Chartered had funded over 10,000 Megawatts of new coal power plants. Before its policy update, the bank was in line to finance three new coal power plants in Vietnam that would have added 700 million tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere each year. This is a huge change of direction and one we desperately needed as we fight to prevent new dirty coal power being built around the world. 

Decisions about how the world sources its future energy needs will make or break our ability to contain global warming. Standard Chartered’s policy not only removes a critical source of finance for new coal power plants, but sends a powerful signal to other banks that need to do the same. 

While some banks have ruled out funding coal under certain conditions, this is the only policy that recognises the clear, scientific reality: if we’re to avoid runaway climate change we need to stop building dirty new coal power plants.

Standard Chartered felt the full weight of public expectation, and understood we wanted the bank to be a clean energy leader.

Read more about this great news!

 

Help us achieve more amazing wins like these:

Join the Fossil Free movement

Categories: International News

Hambach Forest needs your solidarity

September 27, 2018 - 11:30am

Activists have been protecting the Hambach forest with their presence and their bodies. Six years ago they started buildung tree houses to occupy the forest. Now, as the situation escalates and police carry out evictions to make way for the loggers, the people defending Hambi have called for international solidarity.

So let’s send the protesters on the frontlines a powerful message of hope and support. Let’s help them stay strong, and stay safe: the more eyes focused on the Hambi struggle, the more the authorities might hesitate to use violence against the peaceful resistance.

Show your support, sign the letter in solidarity with people defending Hambi!

About three weeks ago, the government of Northrhine-Westphalia ordered the police to start the eviction of the Hambach Forest. Since then, the largest part of the beautiful treehouses built by climate activists over the past years has been forcefully destroyed. One person died in a tragic accident.

At the same time, the opposition to the evictions and RWE’s disastrous plans to clearcut the forest has continued to grow – in Germany and around the world.

The number of participants in the weekly forest walks organised by a local citizen grew from 500 at the end of August to 10.000 in September. Even more people are expected to join a demonstration organized by NGOs on 6 October.

After a journalist died tragically in the Forest, activists in Germany and abroad were holding vigils. Last Sunday, thousands visited the site of the accident expressing their condolences. French activists lit the lighthouse at la ZAD in his honour. Vigils were held across Europe – for example in Berlin, Brussels and London.

Vigil outside @RWE_AG London offices. The destruction of #HambacherForest must be stopped. #EndCoal #HambiBleibt pic.twitter.com/I22ljP44Ju

— Phil MacDonald (@PhilMacD1) September 24, 2018

Over the past weeks, Aktion Unterholz has been organizing mass actions of civil disobedience to support the people occupying the Forest. On 6 October there will be a joint action of mass civil disobedience, together with Ende Gelände.

In Berlin, activists from Ende Gelände occupied the representation of Northrhine Westphalia in order to call for a stop of the evictions carried out by the land’s government. Activists from 350.org participated in a symbolic occupation of a local branch of Deutsche Bank, demanding that the bank stops financing RWE’s destructive business.

Klimaaktivisten haben eben symbolisch eine Deutsche Bank Filiale in Berlin besetzt. Sie fordern, dass die Räumung im #HambacherForst sofort beendet wird & dass die @DeutscheBankAG Investitionen in Klimakiller wie RWE stoppt. 2012-2017 investierte die Bank 800 Mio€ in die @RWE_AG pic.twitter.com/48iUkpbW8r

— Fossil Free Deutschland (@FossilFreeDe) September 14, 2018

In addition, there has been a wave of solidarity statements from around the world: the Colombian Women group “Mujeres Guerreras de la Sierra Colombia“ sent a video message. Climate activists from Africa, Bhutan and Mexico posted solidarity pictures on Twitter.

Uns hat ein Soli Video aus Kolumbien für uns alle erreicht! @HambiBleibt @Ende__Gelaende @AktionUnterholz – Danke an unsere Freundinnen, a las „Mujeres Guerreras de la Sierra Colombia“ aus dem Cesar – #HambacherForst #hambibleibt #EndCoal #Waldspaziergang #NoAlCarbon pic.twitter.com/Pi1pnuH4p3

— ausgeCO2hlt (@ausgeCO2hlt) September 23, 2018

The extraction and use of coal in Germany is heating up the climate crisis and threatening the livelihoods of millions of people around the world.

In order to stop the evictions and the destuction of the ancent forest, we need to keep up the pressure on the German and Northrhine Westphalian governments as well as on RWE over the coming weeks. Let’s show them that this is not a national issue, but a global one! Are you going to join?

There are also many ways in which you can show your solidarity with the struggle to save Hambi and keep dirty coal in the ground where it belongs:

  • Sign and share this letter of solidarity, and add your own message of support. We’ll make sure it reaches the people on the frontline.
  • Take a picture of yourself with the words #HambiBleibt (Hambi Stays) and post it on social media, to help make the struggle visible across the world.
  • Organise an action during the day of solidarity with Hambi, this Sunday 30 September. Here’s some more information.
  • Come to the Hambach forest and join the resistance. Demonstrations will take place on 6 October, and an Ende Gelände mass action in planned for 25-28 October. Here’s how.

Together we will make sure that all fossil fuels are left in the ground and climate justice becomes a reality. Stay strong.

Categories: International News

Anti-fracking campaigners sentenced to prison in the UK

September 27, 2018 - 7:41am

I’m feeling shocked, sad and angry as I write this. Last year, four brave and committed activists managed to climb onto the roofs of trucks that were bringing drilling equipment to a fracking site in Lancashire, UK. They stayed up there for more than 3 days, supported by members of the local community who were handing up food, water and blankets.

When they came down, they were arrested and charged. And now three of them have been sent to prison.

In taking action, they were responding to a call for support from the local community who have said very clearly that they don’t want fracking in Lancashire, but who have been consistently ignored by the national government, and they were responding to the overwhelming scientific and moral need to prevent runaway climate change.

In charging them under an obscure and antiquated law, and in sentencing them to such draconian sentences, the authorities have decided to protect the interests of big business over the interests of communities and the planet.

You can send a message of support and solidarity to the convicted activists here.

Public opposition to fracking has remained consistently high in the UK, and Lancashire is just one of several local authorities who have said they don’t want it in their area. The national government has decided to ignore this though, overriding local democratic decision making and giving permission to fracking companies to start drilling anyway.

They are now trying to push through plans to allow fracking companies to drill without going through any local planning applications. As the government’s consultation on this outrageous plan nears its conclusion, local politicians and citizens from across the UK have been coming together to say that it isn’t acceptable.

If you’re based in the UK, please take this online action to ask your local councillors to sign an open letter to government opposing their plans.

Categories: International News

Fossil Free News: 250,000 Rise for Climate

September 25, 2018 - 6:38am

On 8 September, we made headlines globally as people on all 7 continents rose together for climate action. It was truly inspiring to watch all the headlines, pictures, tweets and videos roll in from 95 countries.

But that moment was part of a bigger, surging movement that’s here to stay: Fossil Free.  We’re seeing more and more campaigns and wins to end support for the fossil fuel industry and move to 100% renewable energy for all.

In Fossil Free News, I bring together these stories from the movement, with videos, photos, podcasts and more. By signing up, you can keep up to date with all the latest news – delivered every 2 weeks.

Sign up

 

Enjoy this recent edition breaking down Rise for Climate and its aftermath, and until next time in your inbox!

– Nicole from Fossil Free News 

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

Rise for Climate: Roughly 250,000 people took action in more than 900 events in 95 countries around the world to demand real commitments to go Fossil Free. Here’s an inspiring, detailed global roundup of what happened, with photos and videos from all 7 continents.

Real commitments: Hot off the heels of all the action, like this march up to Georgia’s parliament, mayors from 3 cities in Ukraine (Lviv, Kamyanets-Podilsky, and Chortkiv) and 1 in Georgia (Kutaisi) signed agreements with 350.org to go 100% renewable by 2050. And in France, where turnout was unprecedented in more than 100 cities and towns, the city of Lyon is moving to end all finance to the fossil fuel industry. What’s more, 19 Catholic institutions, including in India, made new divestment commitments and the London borough of Islington announced full divestment of their £1.2-billion pension fund.

New York and London broaden divestment call: The mayor of London Sadiq Khan released an op-ed with Bill de Blasio of New York asking all cities to take steps to divest. They announced London and New York will co-chair a network platform for cities to share tools and best practices to do so. And on the same day as their call, a new report dropped more serious evidence that the divestment movement is going mainstream. It counted $6.24 trillion in assets divested so far from 985 institutions and counting, a 120x increase from just 4 years ago. Watch this space for what happens next – we assume London’s own divestment announcement isn’t far off.

Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS): The summit convened by California governor Jerry Brown and the UN took place in San Francisco last week, just after more than 30,000 marched in San Francisco for Rise. Brown did sign SB100, the 100% clean energy grid bill reported on here previously, into law – but he still hasn’t banned fossil fuels in the state. So activists sent a message on 13 September, blocking the entrance to the summit and demanding he stop oil production.

Women rise in Bangkok: Rise overlapped with the UNFCCC intersessionals in Bangkok, Thailand where delegates prepared for the upcoming 24th UN Climate Talks (COP24) to take place in Katowice, Poland, near the Silesia coal region. Women and impacted communities came together outside the meeting to hold them to account in keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, calling out coal in particular. Yet the preparatory talks were widely deemed a failure. That’s why we’re gearing up for another wave of action in October to highlight the urgency for meaningful action to meet that 1.5C target. You can get a Fossil Free starter pack and learn how to help spread the word here:

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THE ONE TO WATCH

This triumphant video wrapping up Rise brings together highlights from the week’s events, and motivates us to keep going. We know time to act is short – the recent devastation from hurricanes Mangkhut and Florence remind us that the human toll of climate change is simply unacceptable. Watch and share this video to help more people make the connection and take action.

THE INSIDE STORY

Today’s “Inside Story” allows you to go behind the scenes of the making of a beautiful short film, “Rise: From one island to another”. It’s a visually immersive journey between two islanders, one from the Marshall Islands and one from Kalaallit Nunaat (Greenland), who connect their realities of rising sea levels and melting glaciers through a poem. Learn about the piece by Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, an activist of Marshallese ancestry, and Aka Niviâna, an Inuk writer making her on-screen debut. There’s also an opportunity to hear from Bill McKibben on the ethos of the film and director Dan Lin’s take on making the poem come to life on screen.

That’s it for now. If you’re signed up, I’ll be back in two more weeks with more updates. Let’s keep up the momentum!

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Categories: International News

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