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Indonesian farmers and fishermen deliver a clear message to Japan: Stop funding dirty coal

March 27, 2017 - 3:39am

Last week, a group of Indonesian residents and activists were in Japan to demand that the Japanese Government and banks do not finance the Indramayu coal power plant expansion project (1000MW) and Cirebon 2 coal-fired power plant project (1000MW), located in West Java. If completed, these planned projects would add a further 2000MW of polluting coal power capacity, further increasing hardship on local villagers and go against both Indonesia and Japan’s commitments to reduce carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

The Indramayu coal power plant expansion project builds on the existing coal power plant in Indramayu (originally funded by China), which has caused negative impacts on farmland, endangered children’s health, and polluted fishing grounds that villagers depend upon for their livelihood. In preparation for the expansion project, villagers have reported coercion in land acquisition processes, inconsistency in compensation measures as well as a lack of community consultation in the Environmental Impact Assessment process in violation of local laws. Despite these concerns, Japan’s foreign aid agency, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is currently considering financing for the expansion project. Citing ongoing environmental and social issues as a result of the first power station, local villagers have expressed their strong opposition to JICA regarding the expansion project, requesting that JICA withdraw funding consideration for the project. To date, JICA has delivered no meaningful response to five formal letters sent by the community.

Cirebon 2 (1000MW) is another problematic coal-fired power expansion project located in West Java that the Japanese government, private companies, and banks are currently considering for finance. This would be built adjacent to the existing coal-fired power plant in Cirebon, also funded by Japan, which has resulted in negative impacts on local farmers, fisherman and unresolved land issues. Local villagers sent three formal objection letters to the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) in 2016, however they have not received any formal response. Partner NGOs have also sent formal letters to the Japanese commercial banks (Mizuho Bank, Mitsubishi-Tokyo UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation) involved in the expansion project. The project is currently being challenged in court by a group of villagers who dispute the legality of the development project. Local activists are demanding that Japan help to shut down Cirebon 1, stop finance for Cirebon 2 and instead support renewable energy development in Indonesia.

On March 23 in Tokyo, the group of affected residents and representatives formally submitted to JICA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry a letter opposing financing into the coal fired power plants. The letter was supported by 280 organizations spanning over 47 countries.The letter also emphasized that funding into this project is “a fatal violation of the JICA environmental and social guidelines, which require ‘appropriate participation by affected people in the planning, implementation, and monitoring of resettlement action plans’ and ‘the disclosure of resettlement action plans’.”

Indonesian residents submitting formal letter to JICA official.

Indonesian residents and NGO groups protesting outside Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Tokyo.

The problem of Japan’s coal finance is two-fold. First, the Paris Agreement, to which Japan is a signatory, directs signatory countries to make efforts to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius. Reaching this goal means no new fossil fuel projects can be built. Second, coal combustion produces a great amount of pollutants, and the expansion of coal plants is doing more harm than good for those most most in need. This is not in line with the principles of overseas development assistance.

During the Global Divestment Mobilization planned for Japan this May, we will make a direct connection between the banks we entrust our money to and how our money is being used for unsustainable energy projects worldwide, which are damaging local livelihoods and worsening climate change. Emphasizing the power of our everyday choices, we will encourage people to divest their personal accounts from banks funding coal and fossil fuel projects overseas and pressure banks to take on more sustainable environmental policies.

One of the Indonesian residents visiting Japan pleaded that “I want Japanese people to think carefully about what kinds of harmful projects their money is being directed into.” This applies to all of us if we want to protect a safe climate and a livable planet.

Categories: International News

#NoKXL

March 24, 2017 - 3:31pm

Dear Friends,

Today, nearly six years after the fight over the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline moved into high gear, Donald Trump approved the federal permit for the pipeline — but this fight is far from over.

It’s not a surprise, but it still feels like a punch in the gut. A punch that should get us good and angry, not knock the wind out of our sails. Seizing this moment will require more of the things that carried us through to this point: passionate organizing, committed actions, and courage on all of our parts.

Here’s how I’ve been thinking about things today, as we prepare to mobilize again:

1) The approval doesn’t mean it’s a done deal. There’s no permitted route through Nebraska; native tribes are hard at work in South Dakota; and a team of lawyers are gearing up to play their role as I write.

2) We’ve already won an awful lot. Six years times 800,000 barrels of oil a day equals a lot of carbon emissions saved. Not to mention that six years of delay has cost Transcanada a small fortune.

3) Every new pipeline, frack well and coal port is being fought and fought hard. You’ve heard of some of these fights, like the Dakota Access pipeline, but there are now hundreds of them across the world. Keystone jumpstarted a whole new phase of the movement to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

There are many, many people who’ve been working to stop Keystone since the beginning, and they’re gearing up for this next round of the fight.

Join a live strategy session on Monday, March 27th at 8:00 PM EST to hear from movement leaders who’ve defeated Keystone once, and are ready to do it again.

I’ll be one of the presenters on the webinar together with brilliant organizers, Jane Kleeb with Bold Alliance, Wayne Frederick, Rosebud Sioux Tribe Council, Michael Brune from Sierra Club, Lindsey Allen from the Rainforest Action Network and Eriel Deranger from Indigenous Climate Action. We’ll talk about how we can fight this pipeline with every available tool in our toolbox.

I wish there was a silver bullet — there’s just more of the hard work we’ve been doing for years. We organize, we build big movements, we fight.

We’ve got each other, and together we do good things. The next step we’ll take together is in DC on April 29 for the Peoples Climate March. You’ll see some familiar pipeline fighters there, along with tens of thousands of others, standing together against this industry’s endless greed.

Sign up now to join the live strategy session and we’ll send you a link to watch the live stream. During the webinar, you’ll be able to share your thoughts and submit questions.

See you there and in many places after that,

Bill

Categories: International News

The energy revolution will be people powered

March 22, 2017 - 11:39pm

Last year anti-coal communities converged in Batangas City to advance their demand for the cancellation of all plans, permits and construction of coal-fired power plants in Batangas and the rest of the country. Photo: Veejay Villafranca/Piglas Pilipinas

 

Last year, 10,000 people took to the streets in Batangas City under the banner of Piglas Pilipinas!, to defend their hometown from the invasion of dirty energy. The event was monumental because it was the biggest act of public protest against coal plants in the Philippines, which made the growing resistance against fossil fuels reach national consciousness.

The result was a series of policy momentum that materialized into the Philippines’ ratification of the Paris Agreement in spite of the initial delays driven by Duterte’s hesitation to sign it. The climate movement was able to turn around his position and the senate voted unanimously to ratify the treaty.

Break Free 2017

In spite of these recent developments, much still needs to be done. It is still urgent to join forces with communities in vulnerable situations against extreme weather, climate impacts, and especially against the corporations which have contributed to the climate crisis.

Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, recently said he would not put a cap on the the use of coal in spite of the country’s recent ratification of the Paris Agreement.

But communities refuse to be silent; they are once again taking the streets and demanding freedom from coal.

Coal-affected communities held a lightning rally in front of the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) headquarters, to demand that the company shut down its coal plants in Limay, Bataan. Photo: Greenpeace Philippines

 

In Manila, coal-affected communities trooped to the corporate headquarters of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) last March 13 to demand the shutdown of its coal facilities in Limay, Bataan. Their coal plant and open stockpile have been implicated in causing sores, irritations, and cardiovascular ailments among the people living nearby. Residents believe that it is a travesty that SMC’s coal plant continues to operate despite its harmful impacts to the health and environment.

Paddlers unfurl a floating banner near the site of the proposed Ludo coal-fired power station. Photo: Greenpeace Philippines

 

Meanwhile, in Cebu, community representatives, environmental activists, and civil society groups led a 60-kilometer “climate walk” tracing the path of existing and proposed coal plants in the province last March 15 to 18. They started their journey near the Aboitiz-led power plant in Toledo City, stopped halfway at the Kepco SPC Power Corporation plant in Naga City, and ended the walk at the Ludo project site, in the heart of the province’s capital. The action culminated with the unfurling of a floating banner near the site of the proposed Ludo coal-fired power station by a stand-up paddling group to convey Cebuanos’ strong opposition to the project.

Challenging the social license of the fossil fuel industry

Building on these efforts and achievements of various anti-coal campaigning initiatives, there is a strong need to take the struggle to a higher level with a clear call and direction in dismantling the power of the fossil fuel industry through divestment. Globally institutions, large and small around the world, have been taking a public stand against a rogue industry that’s sacrificing our shared climate and future in the name of profit.

Break Free Cebu amplified the grassroots voices opposing the proposed Ludo coal thermal-powered plant, and of demanding justice for the affected communities in other coal plant sites in the province. Photo: Francesco Pistili/Greenpeace

 

Divestment works by targeting the social license that fossil fuel companies need to operate, and removing it. Every institution that divests is adding to the pressure fossil fuel industry is feeling, and eroding the social acceptance and political influence of these companies.

These companies aren’t going down without a fight. Right now the fossil fuel industry and their powerful allies in government are backing a global efforts to hinder climate action. We stand at the threshold of our collective struggle –where every effort to gain ground matters whether it be on the streets in the seats of political power and in the financial sector.

There is a power surge on the way and it will be people-powered.

The coming Global Divestment Mobilization will demonstrate our global power and strengthen national and regional divestment efforts. And that’s why from 5-13 May, we need more people like you – your role is vital to increase the pressure on respected local, national and global institutions to divest from fossil fuels.

Categories: International News

World Water Day – State of Cape Town’s Water Crisis

March 22, 2017 - 6:06am

World Water Day is celebrated annually on March 22nd.  This year’s commemoration takes place under the global theme “Wastewater” (UNCED). For 350Africa this international observance is an opportunity to highlight current water crisis with a specific focus on Cape Town City.

Learn more here 

Categories: International News

11 reasons to attend a #StopAdani Roadshow event

March 21, 2017 - 8:57pm

We’re just a couple of weeks away from turbocharging the movement to #StopAdani cooking our climate and wrecking our Reef.

Speaking notes are being drafted, vollie rosters being filled, stages being swept and buses being booked. Here are 11 reasons why you don’t want to miss out on this exciting event:

1. The Reef is already being killed by coal

Remember last year’s tragic bleaching event? Well we’re expecting another one soon, yet Adani wants to build Australia’s largest coal mine. Go figure?!

2. Adani is dodgy-as

Think illegal labour practices, environmental destruction, bribery and intimidation, to name a few of Adani’s dodgy deeds.

3. The Queensland Government has fallen deeply in love with Adani’s madness

Granting them fast-track status to get the mine built and handing them free water.

4. Traditional Owners have said no again and again, yet Adani continues to ignore them

No means no.

5. Our Government plans to hand Adani $1 billion of our hard earned cash

Despite Australians saying they want subsidies going to health, education and renewable energy.

6. One Australian bank is still messing around

14 banks (including NAB) have said no to funding Adani’s nightmare, with CommBank and ANZ distancing themselves, yet Westpac continues to fence-sit

7. We’ve held off Adani for years, it’s about time we WON!

Years of hard yakka from thousands of people have stopped this nightmare becoming a reality — let’s put it to bed once and for all.

8. Millions of people are on our side

Over 3 million people have taken part in the #StopAdani campaign so far. Meanwhile, Adani has to pay people to support them.

9. There’ll be amazing speakers

Including people fighting Adani’s coal in India, building solar solutions, protecting country from coal and more (Daniel Radcliffe sends his apologies — he can’t make it)

10. You’ll know exactly what you need to do next by the time you leave the roadshow

Because we all hate walking out of talks all fired up without a clue about what to do.

11. There’ll be free ice-cream

Have we convinced you yet?

So see you at the #StopAdani Roadshow?

Get Your Tickets To the #StopAdani Roadshow now

Categories: International News

Researches Climate Change, Funds Climate Change: Why Fossil Free UCL Are Escalating

March 21, 2017 - 10:36am

As we watch yet another year of record-breaking temperatures and climate crises unfold, it is high time we made universities practice what they preach: for a good reputation, they must stop investing in the fossil fuel industry – financially, socially, and politically.

The global fossil fuel divestment movement has grown from this idea. Almost 700 institutions representing almost $5.5 trillion have removed their investments from fossil fuels, including the heirs to the Rockefeller oil fortune, the Church of England, numerous cities, and academic institutions worldwide. Notably, over a quarter of UK universities have divested.

If UCL’s research aims to improve our futures, why invest in wrecking it?

By investing in these companies, we are complicit in their exploitation and corruption. We see the fossil fuel industry routinely wreck the livelihoods of vulnerable people that stand in the way of profit – from toxic dumping in the Ecuadorian Amazon to overseeing a human rights tragedy in the Niger Delta to financing military police that brutally torture and murder civilians in West Papua.

We also see these companies use their financial might to protect their interests. There are few political processes from which an oil lobby is excluded – whether overpowering international negotiations on climate change, lobbying to subvert actions they claim to support, or paying their way into the heart of domestic politics, from Nigeria to the USA

These companies make legendary profits but fail to pay the staggering costs incurred to people and the planet.

University College London invests over £12.2 million in the fossil fuel industry, including oil giants BP, Shell, and Total.

Oil is far from absent at UCL; the Chair of Council was previously chief economist at Shell and a member of BP’s board from 2001 to 2011.

Many students are shocked to hear about UCL’s investments; masters student Mariam Salah recalls how she previously thought the University was a “progressive” institution. Founded almost two-hundred years ago, it was the first UK university open to women, all religions, and all classes. It is now a leading research institution in fields that consistently implicate the fossil fuel industry, including climate science, human rights, and global health.

With divestment commitments from SOAS, Queen Mary’s, LSE, and KCL, UCL’s branding as ‘London’s Global University’ is quickly turning into ‘London’s Global Warming University’.

The divestment campaign at UCL has been escalating action daily following KCL’s full divestment earlier this month. UCL students have smeared ketchup and marmite onto UCL monuments showing the oil-tainted ‘blood on their hands’, chalked community opinions onto the iconic ‘Portico’, made hundreds of calls and emails to UCL management as part of a communications blockade, and gathered the student community in a solidarity flashmob of music and dance in the main UCL Quad.

On Thursday afternoon a dozen activist students made their way up a university ladder onto the UCL Provost’s balcony to map out the chasm between the University’s academic community on the one hand and management’s investment decisions on the other – written, scrawled, and drawn across his second story window.

The students then occupied the space for 24 hours before writing their messages onto the Main Quad and emblematically delivering ‘oil’-covered flowers to the Provost’s door.

On one side of the window were quotes from the Provost himself; on the other side, students referenced climate research associated with UCL. A stark juxtaposition was revealed: “I run UCL like a monopoly board”, read the left-hand panel. The right-hand window-panes bore a quote from the Lancet Countdown based at UCL: “the response to climate change could be ‘the greatest global health opportunity of the 21st century.”

After four years of a loud campaign, campaigners’ lips were taped over in a black cross, answering the university’s determination to dismiss and defer their agenda as they waded through every possible diplomatic channel and demand by management; they were silenced and ignored. Just the day before, UCL deleted students’ public feedback online that referred to the University’s dirty investments.

The campaign has garnered more support than any other in UCL history, with an online petition of over 3300 signatures, wide support from the UCL Academic Board, and official support from the Student Union.

It’s time for UCL to divest.

Sign Fossil Free UCL’s petition here and follow their activities via their Facebook.

 

Categories: International News

March 22nd: Live Art Training for Peoples Climate March

March 17, 2017 - 3:08pm

The arts–visual, musical, movement and theater–are a central element in the movement of movements that will come together on April 29 for the Peoples Climate March. We have our voices, our bodies and the things we make with our hands. This year we are escalating arts in the streets.

Each contingent marching in the PCM in DC is asked and encouraged to create and integrate these visual, sound, and movement arts elements into their contingent, to make the overall march more powerful and to have strong elements of visual unity. We also encourage other sister marches around the country to use the elements in their marches to show clear we are united and part of the same movement.

This webinar will introduce the key elements, review production of key items, and will provide links to additional how-to webinars and other resources.

Watch the training with 350’s Arts Organizers, David Solnit HERE on Wednesday, March 22nd at 8 pm EST/5 pm PST . 

Save the date for these upcoming trainings to help you get ready for the Peoples Climate March:

  1. March 29 at 5:00 pm PST/ 8:00 pm EST : Working with Frontline Partners
  2. April 3 at 5:00 pm PST/ 8:00 pm EST: Communications/Media Training
  3. April  12 at 5:00 pm PST/ 8:00 pm EST: Social Media Storytelling around Peoples Climate March
Categories: International News

Global Divestment Mobilisation – what’s happening in the UK?

March 16, 2017 - 7:38am

On 5th -13th May 2017, thousands of people around the world will be taking part in a Global Divestment Mobilisation – to highlight the devastating impacts of our institutions investments in fossil fuels and demand they do the right thing: divest!

Whether you’re part of an existing campaign or looking to start one, the Global Divestment Mobilisation is a chance to stand together with people around the globe and demand action.

There are trainings, online workshops and resources to help. Here’s what some UK organisers have planned, and you can hear more at our Online Workshop on Monday 20th March.

Planning creative action in Bradford

Bradford and West Yorkshire has been badly affected by flooding in recent years, yet our local council remains heavily invested in fossil fuels. We’ll be bringing our ‘Renewable Ark’ right up to the town hall – to highlight the devastating impacts of climate change here and around the world, and demand they take action to divest the West Yorkshire Pension Fund.

We’ll be signing up new people to the campaign, inviting councillors along and piling on the pressure through the media.

Jane Thewlis, Bradford

Taking on oily sponsors

Fossil fuel companies have sponsored some of our iconic arts institutions for years, as a cheap way to clean up their reputations. But opposition is reaching fever pitch. During the Global Divestment Mobilisation we’ll be exposing the scandalous numbers behind Big Oil’s arts branding. Plans are also brewing for some creative disobedience, both in the UK and internationally, increasing the pressure on our museums, galleries and theatres to go fossil free.

Jess Worth, Culture Unstained (Art Not Oil coalition)

Turning up the heat in London

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan came into office exactly a year ago at the start of the Global Divestment Mobilisation, with a manifesto pledge to divest the London pension fund. Since then, Sadiq has taken little action and the fund has been exposed for investing further fossil fuel projects, like the Dakota Access Pipeline.

We’ll be using this moment to put pressure on Sadiq to keep his promise and divest London. We’ll be launching a large video campaign in the weeks up to GDM to encourage him announce that the fund will be divesting. In the event that he doesn’t, we’ll create a giant pipeline that winds it way outside his office with a bit of a media splash and forcing him to respond.

Gabriel Davalos, Divest London

Working with nurses to go fossil free

Because nurses care about people’s health, we care about climate change. This year my local branch of nurses hope be take a motion to Royal College of Nursing congress at the time of the Global Divestment Mobilisation, asking them to take a stand and divest from fossil fuels.

Alice Munro, nurse

Breaking off the Church of England’s engagement

The Church of England claims to be a responsible investors, and has a strong moral voice. It claims to understand the threat and urgency of climate change, yet instead of divesting from the biggest fossil fuel companies, they continue to engage. As part of the Global Divestment Mobilisation we’ll be inviting the Church Commissioners to a ‘broken engagement’ party, where we’ll highlight the impacts of climate change and call for more urgent action.

Caroline Harmon, Christian Climate Action

Fracking Barclays

Barclays are funding fracking in the UK. Their Annual General Meeting, and the biggest event in their financial calendar, is happening on 10th May during the Global Divestment Mobilisation. We’ll be inside the meeting, outside the meeting and probably in branches around the country demanding they divest from fossil fuels, starting with fracking.

Chayley Collis, Fossil Free Huddersfield

Building the campaign in Cambridgeshire

Would you want your pension invested in fossil fuel companies? As part of our campaign to divest the Cambridgeshire pension fund we’ve been working with local employees and fund members to demand change. During the Global Divestment Mobilisation we’ll be doing several events – including early morning office visits with cake – to engage more fund members, especially building our power and support in Peterborough.

Danette O’Hara, Fossil Free Cambridgeshire

Keeping up the pressure on campuses

As the divestment commitments from universities come in thick and fast, we’re approaching the milestone of a third of UK universities having made commitments. During the Global Divestment Mobilisation students will be increasing the pressure on those institutions falling behind the curve, as well as pressing Barclays to get out of fossil fuels, or off campus.

Hannah Smith, People & Planet

Getting divestment on the election agenda

The Global Divestment Mobilisation coincides with the local elections in Scotland, and is an important moment to ask councillors to do the right thing. In the run up to elections, we’ve been lobbying candidates and asking them to commit to divestment. During the Global Divestment Mobilisation we’ll be organising more events – like our “Coffee and Political Change” sessions – to get together and make sure divestment is on all our new councillors radar.

Mathieu Munsch, Fossil Free Strathclyde

Taking action to Divest Parliament

I recently joined the ‘Divest Parliament’ campaign to divest the £600m MPs pension fund of fossil fuels, and emailed my local MP in Cornwall asking her to take part. Now I’m arranging to meet her during the Global Divestment Mobilisation with other constituents – hopefully to celebrate her divestment – or to have a conversation about climate impacts and why we need to act.

Calum Harvey-Scholes, Cornwall

Hear more about the powerful events being organised, and how you can get involved in our online workshop, 7pm, Monday 20th March: ‘Global Divestment Mobilisation – what’s happening in the UK?’

Find an event near you, or register your own on the Global Divestment Mobilisation website.

Categories: International News

World Water Day – Water Impacted Communities Spearheading Solutions

March 15, 2017 - 5:40pm

In exactly one week, on March 22nd, the planet marks World Water Day, drawing attention to the importance of water and promoting sustainable management of freshwater resources across the globe. Africa remains one continent severely impacted by climate change. From Kenya to South Africa water scarcity continues to be a leading crisis, impacting the most vulnerable in region.

Learn more here 

Categories: International News

Divestment momentum builds as MP’s pension fund reveals dirty assets

March 14, 2017 - 9:00am

Good news! Divest Parliament – the campaign to get our MP’s pension fund out of fossil fuels – gained its first big win this week, as the Parliamentary Contributory Pension Fund (PCPF) has made its major investments public for the first time ever!

The bad news: the PCPF’s latest Annual Report has unveiled an unethical and irresponsible investment strategy – with millions being ploughed into fossil fuel companies. In 2016, the pension fund invested £5.59 million of our MP’s money in BP, while another £4.9 million went to Shell.

Join the campaign to #DivestParliament – ask your MP to sign the pledge here.

Understanding where the fund is investing is an important first step, but it is just the start.

On Tuesday Green MP and party co-leader Caroline Lucas raised a ‘Point of Order’ in the House of Parliament, calling the government to account over the potential reputational damage and legal challenges it may face if it continues to invest in dirty industries.

As the fund’s Annual Report lands on MP’s desks, they will have nowhere to hide from the levels of finance going into fossil fuels.

Lucas said: “If we are to prevent the worst of climate change, then we must rapidly transition away from an economy run on fossil fuels by investing in the renewable energy that we have in abundance. It’s right that the MPs should lead the way on this transition.”

Preventing dangerous climate change means leaving 80% of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground. If our politicians are serious about climate change, they cannot be investing in the very companies at the root of the problem. Many of our MPs already get this and since October 2014 they’ve been engaging with the pension fund, asking how it was assessing and mitigating carbon risk.

MPs are starting to show strong leadership in this matter. The Trustees are ignoring them for now; but they can’t ignore them forever. Since Divest Parliament took the campaign public in December 2016, 45 MPs from across all of the UK’s main political parties have called on the pension fund to take climate change seriously.

These MPs have shown they care about the climate threat, and that they want a pension fund that is aligned with the UK’s commitment to take action. And, everyday, more and more MPs are coming on board.

But, with the discovery of the millions of pounds of MP’s money still being sunk into risky and dangerous fossil fuels, we need to build on the momentum from the last four months and get more of our politicians to publicly demand divestment.

Up and down the country constituents are taking this campaign to their MPs, talking to them about why climate change matters, why more action is needed and why we need to invest in a climate safe future.

Join the campaign to #DivestParliament – ask your MP to sign the pledge here

By divesting their pension fund, MPs have an opportunity to show leadership on climate change, to reaffirm cross-party support for climate action, and to allow the MP’s Pension Fund to set a positive example on managing climate risk and responsible investment for all of our pensions.

Over the coming months we will continue to build our campaign. If you want to get involved, and would like advice and support on contacting your MP please email the Divest Parliament team at: divestparliament@gmail.com

Categories: International News

Native Nations Rise on D.C. and Beyond

March 13, 2017 - 4:55pm

Last week, Native Nations rose up in the capitol and across the country, heeding a call to action from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. As part of #NativeNationsRise, they erected tipis around the Washington Monument, held daily events, and, on March 10th, marched to the White House with thousands of Indigenous peoples and their allies.

The last time there was an encampment of tipis along the National Mall was during a week of action in April of 2014 against the Keystone XL Pipeline. It brought people from around the country, including Indigenous Peoples who lived along the pipeline route, to Washington, DC. Since then, another massive resistance against the Dakota Access Pipeline emerged, and while the project is nearly complete and Keystone is back on the table, so is the spark of resistance.

At the encampment there were numerous panels and important visitors. On International Women’s Day, a panel of Indigenous women spanning generations and continents spoke about their experiences and signed the Indigenous Women of the Americas Treaty. Tribal representatives met with Senator Bernie Sanders, and were joined at the encampment by former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Senator Jeff Merkley.

The Native Nations Rise March saw thousands of people in the streets, both as representatives of Tribal Nations and as allies, with signs saying, “We Exist, We Resist, We Rise,” and a large inflatable banner (shaped like a pipeline) reading, “No Consent, No Pipeline.” Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II addressed the crowd saying, “Together we can rise.”

The demands of Native leaders were clear: Indigenous People have a right to consent not just consultation, and to protect their homelands, water, and air for future generations. And they are not giving up the fight.

This message of resistance is far from new, but it’s reached farther than ever before in the last year. The story of Standing Rock and the Water Protectors who took on the federal government and the fossil fuel industry spread across the globe. Communities have been inspired by this fight to boldly challenge construction of pipelines and other infrastructure that threatens Indigenous land and pollutes the planet.

Despite our political reality, Standing Rock has breathed new life into the fight for climate justice. Because climate justice is inseparable from justice for Indigenous peoples.

Threats to that justice have grown as Trump fills his administration with fossil fuel puppets, Big Oil CEOs, and other corrupt officials who put profits before people. In addition to fast-tracking Keystone XL and Dakota Access, Trump is working to weaken the EPA, dismantle the Clean Power Plan, and has threatened to cancel the Paris Climate Accords — everything that the ever-growing Keep it in the Ground movement has fought so hard for. All the while, Trump has made no effort to build relationships with Tribal Nations.

During dark moments like this, it’s easy to drift into despair and wait for the next election, but Indigenous peoples and allies can’t wait for justice. As Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara), a leader with the Indigenous Environmental Network, said this week at the Native Nations March, “We have to be able to stand up and fight back now instead of sitting around thinking somebody else is gonna do it for us, and that is what Standing Rock did. It created a spark.”

That spark was on beautiful display at Native Nations Rising in Washington, DC, and it will continue on April 29th, at the Peoples Climate March. We will unite against the greed of the fossil fuel industry and the Trump administration, and demand real climate justice. The future we need is one we’ll have to build together — one that respects Indigenous rights to clean air and water, that protects the climate for generations to come by transitioning to a 100% clean energy economy, and that puts people before pipelines always.

To see more photos from the encampment and the march, click through the slideshow below:

Categories: International News

It’s been 50 days since Donald Trump became President. A few things worth remembering:

March 12, 2017 - 2:04pm

It’s been 50 days since Donald Trump became President. Normally the first 100 days are when presidents have the most power to push through their agenda, but so far people have risen up to halt Trump’s at every turn. Here’s just a bit of what happened last week:

There’s nothing like people in the streets, marching as one, voices raised as one for a common goal. At the end of Trump’s first 100 days on April 29, our resistance will crescendo again during the Peoples Climate March in Washington DC and across the country.

We’ll make Trump’s 100th day one that goes down in history by standing up for our jobs, justice, and the climate with immeasurable force, diversity, and passion. But this isn’t just about one day: it’s about this week when planning meetings are kicking off, April 29, and every day after.

The perfect place to start is by joining one of this week’s nationwide Peoples Climate March planning meetings if you haven’t already, or by stepping up to organize one. These meetings will be a chance to build connections with your neighbors, chart the path to making April 29 huge, and plan how you might bring the energy back home afterwards to organize for a 100% renewable energy economy in your community.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but this moment in history is unlike any in my young life. The severity of the Trump administration’s blatant attacks on people and planet are something I couldn’t have seen coming a year ago.

I’ll admit that right now it could be easy to drift into despair (and I’d be kidding myself if I said I hadn’t neared it) – but here’s what I’m keeping in mind:

  • We are the majority – we who oppose the sort of injustice presented by the Trump administration. Trump lost the popular vote by millions. We cannot let ourselves fall into being a passive majority. That’s how we lose.
  • The fossil fuel industry is going down – with a fight. They’ve cast their lot with the Trump administration because without the support of corrupt politicians, their days are numbered. And it’s happening all over the globe: the fossil fuel industry is funding a global wave of authoritarian politicians in a desperate bid for power. It’s our job to accelerate the transition away from their hate and greed before they can do more damage.
  • We have the solutions: renewable energy is more affordable and accessible than ever. Americans overwhelmingly support policies that protect our air, water, and land – which means it’s our job to mobilize the millions of people who do care and want to take action.

The Peoples Climate March on April 29 will be a historic moment where we will show unshakeable opposition to Trump’s agenda and push forward our own vision of a 100% renewable energy economy that works for all. Hundreds of thousands of people will march in Washington DC and across the country. I hope you and your friends will be among them – get started by being part of this week’s national planning meeting push.

With gratitude,

Zoë

Categories: International News

In 2017, the fossil fuel industry is going down — with a fight.

March 9, 2017 - 4:29pm

If you’ve been reading the news lately, you have probably noticed a trend: all across the planet, a wave of right wing politicians with authoritarian tendencies have been rising to power — often using fear and hate to fuel the movements behind them.

And if you’ve been reading closer, you might notice that a lot of those politicians who spout hate also tend to spout climate denial, and keep close ties with the fossil fuel industry. This is not a coincidence. Right now the fossil fuel industry and their powerful allies in government are backing a global right-wing revolution in a desperate bid for power.

And to be honest, it’s been working. Sometimes it feels like we’re entering a dark age of violent, dangerous politics: corporate-owned politicians on every continent keep seizing power under dubious circumstances, and cracking down on movements who oppose them.

But ultimately all of this is a sign that the fossil fuel industry is going down — with a fight. It’s a desperate bid for power and profit by a declining industry. Renewable energy is more affordable and accessible than ever, thanks in part to the relentless advocacy for climate action by people across the globe, which means their days are numbered.

In 2017, we have a chance to halt their momentum by growing our movement to accelerate the transition that will end the fossil fuel industry before they can do more damage.

On May 5-13, the Global Divestment Mobilization will build the moral momentum for a post fossil fuel world and keep clearing the way for ambitious action by pushing our institutions out of investing in climate disaster and into building a renewable future. There is no room for fossil fuel investments in the just future we want.

In the US, Trump has put the fossil fuel industry in charge — but his grip on power is loosening daily. The best way to defeat Trump’s agenda is by putting forth our own — and then mobilizing behind it. The Peoples Climate March on April 29 will put forth a powerful vision of a 100% renewable energy economy that works for everyone with a massive action in Washington DC and across the country.

And in Canada, we will draw the connections between how climate impacts the most vulnerable and ongoing tar sands expansion to get PM Trudeau to keep fossil fuels in the ground and respect both Canada’s climate goals and promises to First Nations.

The fossil fuel industry’s plan is to lie and try to divide us. We will build a movement that unites the globe around a future that works for all people and the planet.

Categories: International News

Two UK university divestment wins in two days

March 9, 2017 - 10:13am

The Fossil Free UK campaign to break all ties between Britain’s 160+ higher education institutions and the fossil fuel industry received a massive boost this week.   With over 100 campaigns now active on campuses across the country, People & Planet have supported students and staff in almost a third of UK universities to #divest from fossil fuels in the last 3 years.

University of Bristol

Yesterday, Fossil Free University of Bristol announced that after 3 years of campaigning the University had agreed to a fossil fuel divestment plan, a great first step towards full divestment.  The commitment includes rapid divestment from thermal coal and tar sands companies and the students remain determined to decarbonise the rest of the universities portfolio from all oil and gas companies up and down the spectrum of the energy sector.

In the last 3 years the students at Bristol have gradually ramped up the pressure, securing the support of local councillors and using creative tactics including painting a huge mural along the side of the main M32 motorway through Bristol.

King’s College London

As of this morning, after 3 years of tireless campaigning, King’s College London KCL announced that the university would divest from all fossil fuels by 2022.

VICTORY! After a 3 year campaign & some incredible escalation — @KingsCollegeLon agree to #divest!
Brilliant work @FossilFreeKCL & friends pic.twitter.com/eipYmfisUB

— Fossil Free UK (@FossilFree_UK) March 9, 2017

The news came on the heels of a recent escalation by students which dramatically increased the pressure through a range of public, peaceful direct actions.  One student went on hunger strike 14 days ago and only broke his fast last night at the conclusion of a meeting with the University management that secured this agreement to divest. 

Next steps

The campaigning isn’t over yet as both institutions will need to be held accountable to their promises.  In the case of the University of Bristol the next step will be to monitor progress and to continue pushing for full divestment commitment from all fossil fuels.  At King’s College London, the agreement reached includes several caveats that leave the university wiggle room so students have committed to keep pressure on the university to speed up its implementation ahead of the 2022 deadline it set itself.

UK students have been building up considerable momentum in recent weeks and months that gives lots of hope and inspiration to those planning to participate in the Global Divestment Mobilisation in May 5 – 13.   Onwards!

Categories: International News

Warmth, wins, and way forward: Climate Change and Canada in 2017

March 8, 2017 - 7:35pm

As climate change impacts hit the world with full force, Canada also experienced some unsettling trends. Yet as temperatures climb, glaciers recede, and wildlife populations decline, Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government insist on upholding the status quo while trying to convince the world they are practicing a novel approach of striking a balance between the economy and the environment.

Learn more here

Categories: International News

A woman’s place is in the struggle

March 8, 2017 - 7:08pm

From 350 Pilipinas

We are sharing these photos and stories of women from the frontline showing how they have been able to struggle, thrive and harness the power of the sun in order to meet their energy needs – and how they have contributed to saving the climate in the process. Let today be a time to remember that there can be no climate justice without gender justice.

Learn more here

Categories: International News

Gender Justice is Climate Justice

March 8, 2017 - 10:08am

Here at 350.org we strive to use our power to help build power for our movement partners, especially those who, for reasons of class, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, are on the margins of the climate movement.  In this spirit we are commemorating International Women’s Day and the Women’s Strike.

As a women-led organization we understand that when we support women and girl’s rights everybody wins. The same is true for climate justice  because women and girls are not just impacted by climate injustice, they are also changemakers.  When I think about this, I realize that  there cannot be climate justice without gender justice.  

Climate disasters impact women and girls first and worst because of gender inequality.  Ever since the United States started measuring poverty women have been more likely to be poor than men.  70% of the poor are women and children.  Single mothers, women of color, and elderly women living alone are at particularly high risk of poverty.  And there is an intricate connection between women’s poverty and children’s poverty.  When we speak of climate change we need to center women and girls because the impacts are disproportionately felt by them.

As a former girl-child refugee, I  know the struggles that women and girls face when they flee from their homes.  Today, women and girls  make up around 50%  of any refugee, internally displaced or stateless population,  all situations that are increasingly exacerbated by the impacts of climate change coupled with rising xenophobia and racism.  When I fled my war-torn home, due to US military intervention, with my two brothers, younger sister and my dad, I had first hand experience of the courage that people in the U.S., and ultimately Canada, showed despite unjust laws that prevented them from “harboring illegal aliens.”  And it’s that kind of resistance that we need today to ensure that those who are fleeing their countries for whatever reasons can find sanctuary.

It doesn’t escape me that both the Muslim Ban and the proposed wall between the U.S. and Mexico will affect people  from countries that along with extreme violence, many times incited by US intervention and policies,  are also experiencing droughts and flooding due to climate change.  As xenophobia and racism are on the rise our ability to responsibly respond to increased refugee populations is hampered and the lives of the most vulnerable are put at further risk.  

We don’t have to go too far to find proof of this, all we have to do is look at images of people risking their lives and their children’s lives trying to get to Europe in inflatable dinghies or risking death in the Mexican desert only to have this government shut the proverbial door in their face by feeding the fires of their most extreme base through xenophobic and racist policies.  As a country that is one of the biggest contributors to climate change, and purports to stand for “justice for all,” we have a responsibility to do better.  

Violence is another area where women are the most vulnerable and it is compounded by increased fossil fuel extraction. For example, much attention has been given to the struggle to stop the North Dakota Access Pipeline but a further look reveals  violence  against women that is all too real for Indigenous  women and girls as their bodies are put on the line.  A recent department of justice report confirms what we have already heard through our partners on the ground;  that violence against women near fracking wells and other fossil fuel infrastructure projects has increased.   

As in many places across the world, violence against women intersects with and is multiplied by deep racism and a legacy of exploitation, systemic violence and genocide of Indigenous peoples. One in three Indigenous women are raped during their lifetimes—two-and-a-half times the likelihood for an average American woman—and in 86% of these cases, the assailant is non-Indigenous.  So in order to achieve the climate justice we seek we must be accountable to Frontline communities like Standing Rock, and the women and girls whose lives are at risk,  that have become sacrificial zones.

For me, as a woman of color, the struggles to protect water, food, and land against the fossil fuel industry are the struggles for the rights of women and girls. These struggles are tied to our calls for autonomy over our bodies, lives,  livelihoods, and our right to live free of violence.  Through deepening this consciousness in our movements, I believe we can center our demands towards a vision of a climate justice movement and a country that values women and girl’s lives and their contributions.  And so today I’m commemorating  International Women’s day and the Women’s Strike because gender justice is climate justice.

 

— Natalia Cardona, North America Frontline Engagement Coordinator

 

Additional sources:

http://www.legalmomentum.org/women-and-poverty-america

http://www.unhcr.org/en-us/women.html

Categories: International News

Only Mass Mobilization Can Save the EPA

March 7, 2017 - 2:03pm

It’s not yet halfway through Trump’s first 100 days in office and his administration has already shown they’ll go to any length to dismantle the laws and regulations that protect our air, water and climate.

Trump’s team has already started to dismantle some of the nation’s most important environmental laws, from the ‘Waters of the United States‘ rule that keeps our rivers and streams free from pollutants, to regulations intended to prevent dangerous methane emissions from fracking, an already dangerous and controversial practice.

Now, reports in the New York Times and elsewhere that Trump and his denier cabinet are going to start dismantling the CAFE standards that limit pollution from cars and trucks, rules that save consumers trillions of dollars by getting automakers to produce more fuel efficient vehicles. Also on the chopping block is the Clean Power Plan, the Obama Administration’s rules cutting back on carbon emissions from coal fired power plants.

“We’re going to show Trump that he can try and deny the reality of the climate crisis, but he can’t deny the power of the American people.”

We already know that we won’t be able to count on Congress to intervene. Climate change denier Scott Pruitt was approved as head of the EPA, an agency he’d sued numerous times. Revelations that Pruitt worked directly with industry to weaken environmental laws only seemed to encourage Republicans to vote for him. They saw him as one of their own: a fossil fuel industry shill, ready to put profits over public health each and every time.

That means that it’s up to all of us. The American people still overwhelmingly support laws to protect our air, water and climate. Recent polling shows that even Trump voters support rules to put a price on carbon pollution. And why not? Climate change will impact all of us. From sea level rise in Louisiana to increased drought in Utah, communities across the United States are feeling the impacts of climate change.

Public opinion is on our side, but the politics are steeply against us. That means that our primary job isn’t to convince people to “care” about what’s happening, they do. It’s to mobilize the millions upon millions of Americans who are deeply concerned and want to do something about it. We need to remind people (and ourselves) that there are clear and powerful ways to make our voices heard, to push back on Trump’s agenda, and to hold our representatives accountable.

One of those ways is by taking part in the Peoples Climate March this April 29th. Marches and rallies are already being organized across the country and in Washington, D.C.. We’re going to show Trump that he can try and deny the reality of the climate crisis, but he can’t deny the power of the American people. Together, we’re going to stand up to this administration’s attacks on our climate and communities and put forward the vision of a clean energy economy that works for all.

RSVP for the Peoples Climate March

We know that the real opportunity to create a better economy isn’t by stripping away environmental regulations, but by investing in the transition to 100% renewable energy. We also know it’s often low-income workers and people of color who get hit the hardest when we roll back environmental protections, and that those same communities would benefit most from a new, clean energy economy.

“That means that our primary job isn’t to convince people to “care” about what’s happening, they do. It’s to mobilize the millions upon millions of Americans who are deeply concerned and want to do something about it.”

With a week of action kicking off with the Science March on April 22nd, the Peoples Climate March will be a powerful way to help defend the EPA and continue to demonstrate that the public cares deeply about climate, jobs, and justice. Trump’s administration can only continue to get away with their radical, anti-climate agenda if we stay silent. Sustained public outcry is our best shot at beginning to reign in the worst excesses of this administration and force other politicians at the local, state and national level to stand up and fight back.

The Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water Act, the Clean Air Act, and the National Environmental Protection Act weren’t put into place because their was some hippy environmentalist in the White House, but by none other than Richard Nixon, who couldn’t have given a damn about the environment. The only reason Nixon took action was because tens of millions of Americans took the streets during the first Earth Day in 1970 and turned that into real political power by sustaining that pressure.

Now, nearly 50 years later, it’s our turn to fight and protect that legacy—the future that depends on it. The Peoples Climate March on April 29th is a huge chance to show that we won’t let our climate and communities be sacrificed so that the fossil fuel industry can have one last hurrah before renewables inevitably take their place. Let’s get to work.

Join in here

Categories: International News

Oil spill taints the Louvre museum

March 6, 2017 - 7:37pm

Climate artivists stage first protest performance inside the Louvre denouncing the museum’s ties to oil and gas major Total. An oil spill trickled down the stairs from the Winged Victory of Samothrace – one of the most iconic statues in the Louvre museum in Paris – towards the galleries sponsored by oil and gas major Total.

Categories: International News

The action is over – but the fight for climate justice continues

March 6, 2017 - 9:43am

Ende Gelände in 2015 and 2016 were the largest protests against coal  Germany and Europe have seen. Many of you were part of the actions. You joined me and thousands of others walking into the largest coal pit in Europe and blocking the world’s largest digging machinery with just our bodies. We stopped the diggers, stopped the power plant and stopped CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.

Those were beautiful and powerful moments – thousands of us peacefully resisting and standing up for what we know to be true. To avoid climate catastrophe we need to keep the vast majority of coal, oil and gas reserves in the ground. And to achieve that we need to challenge the status quo, the governments that still support climate-wrecking companies and the assumption that we will need to continue burning coal for years to come. We need to challenge those lies that deny the threat of climate change and tell us that 100% renewable energy is not possible. We know it to be inevitable.

And so we took action. And we will keep doing so in 2017.

What we did might have been illegal but it was legitimate.. We put our bodies on the line for climate justice but we also put ourselves at risk of legal consequences and repression. And so, we mustn’t forget that once the action is over our fight continues.

RWE has started to sue some of our bold fellow Ende Gelände participants. People we stood next to in the pit, people who tended to us when we were tired or hurt by police. People who took a risk to be there with us and hold the line. They had our backs and now it is up to us to have their backs. Many have received declarations to cease and desist and by signing them they agree to never step on RWE property again. Some bold-hearted people decided to not sign such a declaration. They are not up for playing RWE’s game.

As those legal processes take place they give us an opportunity to discuss publicly the need for a coal phaseout and RWE’s climate-wrecking business model. However, these cases are also costly. And this is why we ask you for help. Our friends in the Ende Gelände organising team have started a new campaign to fundraise for the legal costs. If you support this you will ensure that our protest will be alive and well in the future and for the coming protests that are planned in the Rhineland in August 17.

Let’s have each others backs just like we had when we were in the pit together. Please support the campaign untenlassen.org/en/unterstuetzen  by making a donation or in any other way you can.

Onwards, with courage!

Tine and the rest of the 350.org team.

 

Categories: International News

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