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Updated: 17 hours 49 min ago

Watch: People power will save us

December 14, 2018 - 9:58am

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Last month scientists warned us that we have 10 years left to avoid 1.5C of warming. 10 years to completely transition our economy off fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy. You know what?  We can do this.

Activists all over the globe are already doing this every day and they just need more support and bigger movements.   This past year there have been some remarkable victories along those lines. The cancellation of two major tarsands pipelines — the Kinder Morgan Transmountain pipeline and Keystone XL. There have been further bans on fracking around the world but particularly in Brazil. There have been over 1000 major divestment wins and more and more banks refusing to finance coal.

We have seen major shifts that have happened much faster than we predicted and that’s where I want to point us towards for 2019. 

We know what it takes to stop this industry.  It is not a mystery, it is not magical. It is hard work.  It requires organising, mobilising and campaigning — all of these things the climate movement knows how to do.   350.org is part of allied movements all over the world that are making things happen.  We are going to be tackling fossil fuel hotspots all over the globe: in Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, South Africa, North America, throughout Europe, Latin America, Turkey and beyond.

We’ll be tackling the financing of the fossil fuel industry from financial hotspots like London in the UK, the US and Japan. 

We will be working in places that are already suffering the worst impacts of climate breakdown. Like the Pacific, like India, Like many parts of Africa where we are working together with very vibrant people’s movements.

We will be calling for a pro-active solutions agenda – in the US for a Green New Deal.  We know these are scary times but we want to infuse hope into this movement, because it is the stories of everyone who is part of this movement, millions of us, who will create that hope.   

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Categories: International News

Gilet Jaunes: tackling climate change means addressing inequality and building resilience to climate change

December 14, 2018 - 8:58am

The climate crisis is hitting unevenly– those who are least responsible for causing it and who are already affected by other forms of injustice, suffer the most.

The Gilets Jaunes movement sprung up in France, responding to a decision by the French government to increase taxes on fuel starting in 2019, officially to finance incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles. In reality, only a fraction of the money collected from the tax would have gone to finance green programs: most of this tax would’ve been used to bridge the gap in the budget that the cancellation of the tax on the highest incomes has created. Rather than holding accountable those most responsible for causing the climate crisis – for instance, French fossil fuel giant Total – the French government seemed to want to force the less privileged to pay for the consequences of climate change.

While the situation in France is still very volatile, the Gilets Jaunes movement carries the potential for a much deeper learning and change, one that truly addresses the roots of many intertwined problems. There is an urgent need to bring about a rapid transition away from the fossil fuel economy and to address the disempowerment and disenfranchisement of vast parts of the population in many democracies, as well as an economic paradigm that governments have so far been unable or unwilling to challenge. The first lesson to learn from the Gilets Jaunes is that tackling climate change cannot be a matter of simply taxing fossil fuels.

At times it is very unclear what the Gilets Jaunes movement stands for. Day after day, the demands shift, as does the composition of the movement and its relationship with established political forces. Some of the first local protests were led or facilitated by right wing extremists inciting racist, islamophobic and homophobic acts. Some sectors of the Gilets Jaunes are still turning this into an excuse to scapegoat migrants and other minorities – this needs to be forcefully rejected and denounced. There can be no place in any truly popular movement for acts and words that exclude, marginalize or discriminate people based on their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation.

At the same time, while the ultimate shape that the Gilets Jaunes are going to take is still unclear, and a risk of it being hijacked by far-right narratives is very present, we still need to investigate and understand the ultimate causes of this uprising.

And one fact is incontrovertible: the same governments that fuelled the climate crisis and didn’t stand up to the fossil fuel industry, also ignored or actively increased inequality through economic policies that benefited the few, to the detriment of the many.

Now apparently bound on ousting the unpopular French President Emmanuel Macron, the Gilets Jaunes movement seems to have sharpened its focus into a critique of the status quo. Ten years after the worst economic crisis to hit France as well as most of Western Europe, many feel they have been left behind.

Over the past few days, we have seen some overlap happening between the yellow vests and the French climate movement. Yet, such overlap is still limited and it highlights a huge issue affecting the climate movement in France and across Europe: while much emphasis has been put on the need for strong climate policies to kickstart a global transition to renewable energy, we also need to be proactively discussing and clarifying the ways in which a just transition away from fossil fuels needs to happen.

The second important lesson to learn from this spontaneous uprising is that the climate movement needs to reground itself in the need not only for climate action, but for climate justice.

Climate justice means tax justice. By supporting climate policies that make the poor foot the bill once more, while the rich can keep on wrecking the climate and make a profit out of it, we will only replicate the inequality already felt by millions.

The solution is not to act on the demand but on the supply: fossil fuel companies, which are making millions in profit and receive millions of public subsidies, should be the one paying, not the people. These companies are the real polluters.

Taxes are an important tool of government to orient the allocation of value within a given market. But not all taxes are equal. It is possible to reconcile ecological taxation and social justice and ensure that the battle for climate does not lead to further exclusion and precariousness, but on the contrary should pave the way for the creation of quality jobs, the relocation of our economies and building resilient and adaptive communities.

Experts keep revising upwards their estimates of just how many jobs can be created by a decarbonized economy and how fast. The one million jobs campaigns in the Uk and France supported by trade unions shows how transition to renewable energy, in increasing energy efficiency by insulating homes and public buildings free of charge, in hugely expanding cheap public transport to get people and freight onto cleaner forms of transit, and in developing the “green skills” that we need through education and training now.

Already over 10 million people work just in the renewable energy sector worldwide. According to Ernst and Young, decarbonization policies in line with the targets of the Paris Agreement, could generate 1.25 million net jobs in 2030.

The Gilet Jaune protests are spreading beyond France and into other parts of Europe, pointing to many things in our societies that are broken. The climate movement would do well in taking to heart the lessons this moment offers us,  and so would governments in Europe and beyond. We’re at the crux of dramatic changes to our ways of life, and we must seize this opportunity to ensure that they change for the better, and for all.

Categories: International News

Schools out: striking students build momentum for disruption in 2019

December 14, 2018 - 8:16am

Today, thousands of German students are striking across at least fourteen cities as part of a global climate strike, they are demanding that their government initiate an immediate coal phase-out and ramp up action to tackle climate change. At the same time striking Polish students have entered the UN climate negotiations in Katowice to raise the pressure on governments entering the final day of crunch talks where big polluters have been trying to water down the established facts on global warming and propose false solutions to the climate crisis. These strike actions are inspired by those of Swedish student Greta Thunberg and the thousands of students across Australia, USA, and Canada who see that their future is threatened by climate chaos and aren’t willing to stand by and surrender the fate of their generation to today’s politicians and fossil fuel executives.

“We, young people in particular, must now stand up for climate justice. We are the last generation who still have the opportunity to prevent the most catastrophic consequences of climate change. So now is the time to take to the streets. The climate won’t wait for our graduation.” – Linus Steinmetz, 15-year-old pupil from Göttingen.

The recent findings released by the IPCC in October say in no uncertain terms that in order to stay below 1.5°C and avoid the worst impacts of climate change we must take immediate action to stop all new fossil fuel projects and finance to the industry while delivering a rapid transition rapidly to 100% renewable and socially just energy for all. Our governments, at the UN climate summit in Poland, may be dragging their heels and in some cases actively trying to derail the process but it is increasingly clear that the urgency of the situation is resonating with more and more communities, and in the absence of political leadership they are ready to take matters into their own hands.

People in action to save Hambach Forest from destructive coal mining in Germany. Credit: Leon Enrique

Across Europe, people are coming together to resist dangerous fossil fuel projects. Anti-coal protesters occupying the pristine Hambach Forest in Germany have, so far, managed to halt plans to expand the nearby lignite mine (Europe’s largest single source of carbon emissions) by literally putting their bodies on the line to halt construction efforts. The project would destroy this ancient woodland and totally undermine German climate commitments. In the UK local groups are bolstering their campaigns to halt fracking, where drilling started for the first time in Lancashire this year. The communities in the vicinity are spurred on by the climate, health and safety implications of the extraction process and are willing to blockade the drill sites in order to protect themselves and their families from them – despite the disproportionate legal response from authorities, they plan to continue to do so.

From Greece to Italy people are rising up to halt the construction of the Southern Gas Corridor, a carbon bomb designed to carry fossil gas from the Caspian Sea to southern Europe. The construction of the pipeline is well underway and has sparked ongoing protests from farmers, local governments, and communities who have suffered through construction and are still fighting to avoid further destruction of local land and prevent the operation of the pipeline. They are doing this in the face of intimidation and often violent tactics employed by the pipeline consortium and national governments. Farmers in Greece have been branded as ‘backwards’ for rejecting pipeline consortiums claims that the project is a money tree, while in Southern Italy the community of Melendugno was practically put under siege by riot police, with people unable to walk the streets, when the community tried to prevent the destruction of its ancient olive groves lying in the pathway of construction.

A community rallies to save their olive groves from a fossil gas pipeline in Italy. Credit: Alessandra Tommasi

The rise of right-wing populist governments, from Bolsonaro and Trump in the Americas to Duda and the Five Star movement here in Europe, has paved the way for regressive government-level policies both on climate action and space for civil society to engage in decision-making that profoundly affects our common future, our common home. This is a challenge that the climate movement is resilient enough to overcome and in many ways the fight to reclaim the power of energy production and localise the economic power in the name of climate justice is a strong tonic against the divisiveness of populism. Take, for example, the first ever climate camp organised in Poland this year which kick-started a campaign that brings together people from different movements – abortion rights, anti-fascist, anti-coal, forest protectors – with the locals in Konin opposing lignite mining in the region.

People are, in increasing numbers, more and more willing to put their personal liberty on the line to demand appropriate action on climate change, the Extinction Rebellion actions are one example of this. The actions of the ‘gilets jaunes’ or yellow vests in France shows that people are willing to fight back when the financial elite try to impose the costs of ecological transition on to the poor. Despite the challenging prevailing political climate justice movement in Europe, and around the world, has never been stronger. With new ideas and organising structures popping up and being driven by new people the outlook for 2019, while still unclear, feels full of momentum and with it the potential to be a tipping point for the movement. It can’t come quickly enough.

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Categories: International News

Major milestone: 1000+ divestment commitments

December 13, 2018 - 7:41am

As the 24th global COP climate conference comes to a close in Poland, our mission remains crystal clear: we have to take down the fossil fuel industry and fight for a just 100% renewable energy future.

Today, we celebrate a HUGE milestone in the worldwide movement to take down the fossil fuel industry that is driving us to catastrophic climate breakdown.

Over 1000 institutions worth almost 8 trillion USD (7 billion Euro) have committed to divest from the world’s biggest oil, coal and gas companies

With the IPCC’s stark warning that we have just two years to keep temperatures from warming above 1.5 C, this is a pivotal moment for the Fossil Free movement to celebrate our rapid progress. And to take stock of the mammoth task still ahead of us all:

We have to stop all fossil fuel expansion within the next two years!

People power can tip the scales. Watch the video to see what our movement is capable of when we work together!

This momentum has been driven by a people-powered grassroots movement – ordinary people like you and me pushing our local institutions to take a stand against the fossil fuel industry driving the wildfires, droughts, hurricanes and floods that we’re experiencing. Tomorrow, you’ll see this in action as school kids go on strike to call for climate justice everywhere.

Ours is a movement that refuses to wait on politicians or the market to save us. Join us

We can build a Fossil Free world powered by a 100% just and renewable energy —by holding our leaders accountable or voting them out of office, by protesting in the streets, by organising in our communities, and chipping in whatever money and time you can spare.

Add your name to the call to stop all fossil fuel development.

We’ve got a short window of opportunity. But as we scale up for the fight of our lives, remember to look to the people around the world who are in this fight with you on the front lines and see just how much we can accomplish when we work together for a Fossil Free world.

Please do share the video to celebrate this milestone with your community and invite more people to join us!

Categories: International News

What youth climate leadership looks like: stories from the EECCA region

December 13, 2018 - 5:43am

Valentyn Nyzkovolosov: Kyiv, Ukraine – “UYCA”

Photo: Helen Angelova

Most likely, at school each of us heard about climate change, the greenhouse effect, or a hole in the ozone layer, but this was very superficial. I learned about the causes, consequences and ways to solve climate change problems in more detail at an energizer camp in 2014 and I joined the NGO “UMKA” (the Ukrainian youth climate association) – which I consider to be the start of my involvement in climate movement. We work towards creating a grassroots climate movement in Ukraine, starting with the issues of air quality in cities. We would like to empower young people to get involved in decision-making that influences them.

Naturally, it is difficult to deal with climate issues, when the results of your work could be seen as far as 20 to 50 years from now, moreover, it is not easy to estimate your own contribution. But at the same time I feel inspired by such challenges.

Maryna Tsyhryk: Poltava, Ukraine – “Ekoltava”

Photo: Julia Pashkovska

Nearly 12 years ago, when I entered high school and biology class for the first time, I read a very important phrase, which I remember even now. This is the sentence: “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” First, I thought that it was just a messed-up word order, and only many years later did I come to fully understand it. The scale of the climate change problem is difficult to fully comprehend and forecast. Because it is a question of people’s survival (access to food, drinking water, living territories, comfort). This problem could impact many generations.

As the Facebook status says, “feeling alarmed”, but jokes aside, I feel constantly alarmed, because there is less and less time to solve the problem, while the climate change consequences can become more and more hazardous. This is what motivates me to be in the climate movement and to work in the environmental organization, Ecoltava. Currently we are working in the spheres of climate change adaptation, renewable energy sources and proper waste treatment.

I believe in climate justice which is to come ultimately, and also that we are able to give the future generations an opportunity to live, and not to survive.

Artur Kokarevich: Khmelnytskyi, Ukraine – Khmelnitsky Energy Cluster

Photo: Katerina Shulyak

I do not recall the exact day when I first heard or started thinking about climate change problems. But I clearly remember the year when I started my public activism. It was the troublesome 2014. Probably that is when I first got interested in the climate change problems. This feeling that had been sown that year that you can change yourself, your environment, your city and even the country, it was truly inspiring!

Gradually, such topics as combating climate change and related issues became a priority for me and urged me to start a profile organization. That is why, in the summer of 2018, together with my colleagues we registered “Khmelnytskyi energy cluster”. The cluster started to be a real regional platform united under a common goal: reach 100% renewable energy sources in Khmelnytskyi regional energy balance through the involvement and cooperation of all stakeholders in a cluster format. Instantly, we started having projects and ideas that united different participants of the platform. For instance, together with 350.org we are now working on the initiative for cities to make a transition to 100% renewable energy.

The climate is changing rapidly, that is why now, like never before, is the time to act. This could be done more easily and efficiently through cooperation! I really want to save our planet for future generations and relieve them of this global issue, and most importantly of the possible consequences.

Olga Fursik: Kyiv, Ukraine – “UYCA”

Photo: Helen Angelova

I first became aware of climate change when I was writing a school essay in English, back then I had a lot of difficulty finding some information, so I wrote about holes in the ozone layer. This subject remained a question mark in my head, because I felt that I did not know so much about it. In 2012, I attended a Sustainable Development summit. And there I happened to find the first puzzle piece for my dream mission. I found the second one a few months afterwards at the Power Shift forum, which was about the development of climate change agents in communities. That is when I joined the climate movement. Later in 2015, I took part in my first climate action. It was the Ukrainian Climate March on the eve of the UNFCCC conference in Paris.

Today I represent the NGO, “Ukrainian Youth Climate Association”. Currently we are working on the air quality monitoring. At the same time, we are planning to develop our traditional projects on the development and support of the climate movement.

This year has seen numerous unprecedented events that demonstrate Ukraine’s huge potential in the reduction of emissions and transition to 100% renewable energy. So, I hope that during the COP24 discussions, they are going to find their climate dream, just like I did once, and that they turn it into a goal, which we will definitely achieve through our consolidated efforts.

Olesya Kramarenko: Zaporizhia, Ukraine – “Dzyga”

Photo: Olga Semylet

I am a journalist, an environmental activist and a mother of a special needs girl, who was born with a heart defect. I was born in a miner’s family in the very heart of industrial Ukraine. I am still proud of my father’s and my grandfather’s hardworking life. But I also remember my mother’s tears after reports of landslides, and my father was late from his shift, my grandfather coughing, coughing and then going, not seeing his grandchildren, I remember how easily living people were becoming just names in the lists for remuneration to the families of the bereaved. Back then I understood that black gold is obtained by the price of life and death.

My environmental activity started in March 2010, when I learned of the terrible diagnosis of my yet unborn daughter. A complicated cardiac defect with possible concomitant syndromes – DiGeorge syndrome and Down syndrome. A long path of hysterical outbursts, medical check-ups and 240 hours at the emergency room door was ahead of me.

From the doctor’s words, among the reasons for the diagnosis was a “bad environment.” And this was the starting point. I found like-minded people among mothers in Zaporizhia, we united into an initiative group and started actively looking for a way out of the environmental abyss. Direct actions, round tables, public dialogues with polluting enterprises, cooperation with council members, search for solutions. I registered my non-governmental organization “Dzyga” (Spinning Top) and started looking for like-minded people and partners. The key event was meeting climate activists from 350.org in 2017. This was a powerful push in the environmental movement, this inspired me with new energy and new ideas.

Eight years have passed since that cold day. Only one thing has not changed – my fundamental determination and my clear goal. I know that the health and the life of children, born in Ukrainian cities and towns must not depend of the financial plans of polluters, on coal and metal mining, on the level of air pollution and industrial emissions.

Maria Kolesnikova: Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan – MoveGreen

Photo: Polly Jankov

As an adult already established in a profession, it never crossed my mind that I would become an eco-activist, but it was all down to one fateful acquaintance. I met an Australian girl called Katy who was living in Bishkek and had set up an environmental youth group with some friends. One day, we went to the market together. Every stallholder tried to put what she’d bought in a plastic bag – from a bunch of parsley to a carton of kefir. She resolutely told them all: “No need, thank you, I have my own bag.” I spent a long time thinking about what she’d done, without realising at first where it would lead me.

It lead me to working as a volunteer initially, then as the head of the environmental organisation “MoveGreen”. Gradually, I seem to have become completely preoccupied with environmental training activities for young people, working with people to adapt to the effects of climate change in remote regions of the country, and also with monitoring the air quality in Bishkek, of course.

I am finding out more and more about the republic’s vulnerability to climate change thanks to my membership in the Climate Network of Kyrgyzstan. We are one of the 13 countries that has not yet ratified the Paris Agreement. Few in Kyrgyzstan know about the talks. The public does not even know what the country’s official position is at the talks or why we need to join a global movement to reduce the Earth’s temperature.

In ten years, the temperature in Bishkek has risen by 0.35 degrees. There is a layer of smog over the city and we are living and breathing from cyclone to cyclone. I do not want to accept this situation, however, which is why we uncovered data on air pollution in Bishkek and made this data available to the city’s residents.

Nugzar Kokhreidze: Kutaisi, Georgia – RICGOG

Photo: Julia Oreshina

It all began ten years ago, in 2009. A friend of mine said she’d met some “cool” guys in Poland and asked if I’d go to Berlin. It was only later that I realised it was when the whole world was preparing for the important COP in Stockholm. I arrived in Berlin and met the 350 team from the EECCA region. We then went to a house where the international 350 team was preparing for the march in Berlin.

I felt roused, motivated, and inspired by this important cause and the enthusiasm with which the 350 team was organising “Moving Planet”, the first global action day. When I got back to Georgia, I organised an action that took place in five cities around the country and involved more than 200 people. This was followed by other global actions that raised public awareness of the importance of climate change.

Volunteers helped massively with the organisation of all these actions, along with the Academic and Intellectual Club “Dialogue of Generations” (RICDOG), a local organisation I set up. One of the greatest achievements of 350.org Georgia and RICDOG is the city of Kutaisi’s decision to switch to 100% renewable energy by 2050. The initial feelings of excitement have already worn off, however, and a lot of work is now needed to help the city realise this goal. Kutaisi will be helped by the 350.org team for Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus. The transition to 100% renewal energy is a difficult process, but we are inspired by the end goal, which will help the city live a new, greener life.

Join these youth leaders by starting your own campaign in your community here.
Categories: International News

1,000 institutions turn their backs on fossil fuels

December 11, 2018 - 9:00pm

It started in 2012, with a handful of small groups coming together over their outrage for the state of the planet, and a determination to set things right. They knew that a fresh approach to take on the fossil fuel industry’s stranglehold on the climate was needed.

So they gave new life to a tactic with a track record of shifting the status quo. Just as divestment helped to end apartheid in South Africa, the “climate divestment” movement would force people in high places to wake up and smell the fossil fuels.

And now, as UN delegates finish meeting in Katowice, Poland for the 24th UN Climate Talks (COP 24), that young movement is blowing past a major milestone.

Today we celebrate over 1,000 divestment commitments – more than 1,015 moves by institutions to take their $8 trillion out of the fossil fuel industry, precisely because that industry caused and is actively worsening the climate crisis.

“While diplomats at the UN climate talks are having a hard time making progress, our movement has changed how society perceives the role of fossil fuel corporations and is actively keeping fossil fuels in the ground.” May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director.

When number 1000 came in as COP24 got started, it was a powerful symbol of just how far the movement has come. The financial arm of the French state (the Caisse des dépôts et consignations or ‘CDC’)  manages $196 billion – and they dropped coal. Back in 2013, the movement’s 181 divestment commitments totaled just $50 billion. Today we see institutions as big as the nation of Ireland and New York City, one of the major financial hubs of the world, disavowing the fossil fuel industry. This new report shows the movement’s exponential growth.

How did we get here?

One year ago, in December 2017, on a freezing morning in front of the Pantheon in Paris, people came together – many of them for the first time. United around the phrase “pas un euro de plus” (Not a Penny More), they showed up at day’s first light for something they believe in: that the French state, and for that matter all governments and banks worldwide, have a moral duty to turn away from fossil fuels, and stand on the right side of history.

A report had been published and petition circulated citing the CDC’s investment in 12 dirty fossil fuel projects. For many, it was the first time they’d connected the dots and decided that public investment in fossil fuels is an unacceptable form of support for the industry. The publicity shocked the government, and pushed them to reconsider.

But they didn’t. So 2018 saw a groundswell of local initiatives across France. In creative actions on the streets, people continued to criticise the government for their lasting support for the industry. In many cases after all, it was their own retirement money being invested in coal, oil, and gas. In cities, local groups began to form and present motions for the national CDC to divest. And on two separate occasions in September and October, well over 120,000 people marched for the climate across the country.

In Lille, in the north of France, thousands gathered on 8 September to Rise for Climate. Big marches also took place on 13 October and 8 December.

And now, thanks to a growing campaign that’s not slowing down, a first step to success has been made. The CDC might not have dropped all fossil fuels (oil and gas are still in their holdings), but the campaign continues to increase the pressure. With coal out of the picture, it’s setting its sights on getting all fossil fuels dropped.

The impacts of the CDC’s divestment move beyond France. One of the coal companies that’s effectively blacklisted by their divestment policy is RWE, which has been funding dirty mines like 17 kilometer-wide Hambach mine in neighboring Germany. RWE has now lost a crucial source of funding for their core business: coal. And a major national institution that was tacitly supporting a dangerous industry – like so many others – has now changed course thanks to people power.

People outside the CDC in Paris send the message to “Divest public money from fossil fuels.”

This is a story we have seen repeated across the globe. 1,000 commitments is no accident. It’s the result of an awakening of thousands upon thousands of people around the world. People who are scared, concerned for and in many cases already suffering from climate breakdown. But they’re brave too.

Our 1,000 commitments are powerful not just because they show an exponentially large shift away from fossil fuels, but because there are real people behind them pushing the issue. Ordinary people are coming together and learning to protest, to lobby, to make connections, to take big risks and to build networks. Anyone can get involved locally in a campaign to shift their own pension fund, faith group, university, city council, or another institution – and in taking this local action, they’re also joining a global movement pushing for change.

What’s next?

There’s always more work to be done in the climate movement. Just as the French movement needs to keep pressure on the CDC for full divestment on oil and gas, the broader Fossil Free movement is looking to scale up and add new tactics – secure 1,000 more commitments in a fraction of the time; but also push mass fossil free phaseouts in countries around the world and advocate for those divested funds to be invested into renewable energy projects that foster a just, equitable transition to a new energy system.

So today, we pause to celebrate. But not for too long. Just like it took people power to get to 1,000 – it’ll take even more to scale up at a level to meet the climate crisis.

We need another 1,000 institutions to move their money out of dangerous fossil fuels: Massive pension funds like New York State, to moral authorities like the Vatican, to iconic institutions like the Nobel Foundation, to premiere universities like Yale, Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge, and US-based insurance giants AIG and Berkshire Hathaway. The tide is turning and the time to divest is now.

“Getting our public institutions to go Fossil Free is something that we can all do,” explained Nicolas Haeringer, an organiser supporting divestment groups globally at 350.org who helped organize the pas un euro de plus mobilization in Paris. “Whether it is our university, our municipal government, or our pension fund we can turn off the money tap to polluting industries and we can force them to make better choices like investing in local renewable energy. It’s something that we see happening everywhere, with a momentum all of its own.”

It’s not just in France. This is a global movement, and there are thousands of incredible initiatives already underway or waiting to be started all over the world. You can be a part of it too, wherever you live.

Get involved



Categories: International News

Hope in the land of coal

December 6, 2018 - 6:34am

This December all eyes are on Poland – the unlikely host of COP24, the UN climate talks sponsored by coal companies (really): the climate laggard notorious for its regressive politics.

But there’s another side to this story. It’s being written right now by grassroots movements within Poland, growing in number and power.

Here’s your chance to meet some of the amazing people changing the face of Poland. Watch them tell their stories in this short video, and share it to help spread hope in these challenging times:

Poland – or Coaland – is one of Europe’s last strongholds of the coal industry. 80% of its electricity still comes from coal, and the government is planning more new coal burning power stations. Its regressive policies, attacks on democratic institutions and civil society paint an increasingly bleak picture.

But there is hope. From fighting for democracy and against air pollution and opposing lignite mining, to defending an ancient forest, Poland’s grassroots movements are seeing a revival. They resist, connect, grow, and make change happen – and some of them win.

Today, we can help shift the narrative. We can help the people shaping Poland get their stories heard all across Europe and the world. We can give them international attention and boost their motivation.

Stories have the power to change reality – so help us get this one out there! Please take a minute and share it with your friends.

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Categories: International News

#StopAdani: a critical turning point

December 6, 2018 - 4:52am

Multinational mining company Adani has announced that they are planning to start work on their new mega mine in Queensland, Australia before Christmas. But the Australian government still has the power to still stop them. If they act now.

Adani are desperate to get this coal project started and by announcing they have the cash to start digging for coal, it looks like they are trying to pressure the government to wrap up the approvals process.

The Traditional Owners of the land, Pacific Islands neighbours and Australians have been fighting to #StopAdani – but right now we need to pile on international pressure and make sure the Australian government doesn’t open up a new frontier for the coal industry.

Send a message to the Australian embassy in your country and let them know that the international community is watching Australia’s attempts to dig up 60 million tonnes of coal per year.

Bank after bank has ruled out investing in the Carmichael coal mine, but Adani are so desperate to exploit Australia’s resources that they announced they will self-fund the project. As Adani rush to start digging coal before Christmas, the people on the front lines are fighting back.

This week Traditional Owners in Australia joined with Pacific Climate Warriors and concerned students striking from school to protest climate inaction, and staged a sit-in at Australia’s Parliament House. They took their demands for self-determination and a safe climate future right to the front door of Australian politics.

Add your voice to their call to #StopAdani.

Photo credit: Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Australia cannot afford to unleash anymore carbon into the atmosphere. Already the nation is experiencing ferocious bushfires, widespread droughts and deadly heat waves that are being exacerbated by climate change. On the day Adani announced financing for their mine, over 100 bushfires were burning out-of-control in the state where the project will be built, fueled by temperatures over 40°C (140°F).

The decisions made by the Australian government today will have a serious impact on the future for all Australians, for their closest geographic neighbours in low-lying Pacific Islands, and the globe. No matter where in the world this coal is burned, it will contribute directly to climate change.

The latest IPCC special report into keeping global warming under 1.5°C makes clear that if we want to avoid devastating climate impacts on humanity’s health and welfare, we have to leave fossil fuels in the ground.

The Adani mega mine is one of the crucial anti-coal campaigns that make staying under 1.5°C possible. 

Send your #StopAdani message to the Australian embassy and let the Australian national government know the world doesn’t want this polluting mega coal mine.

Categories: International News

Street art project brings global voices to anti-coal protests in Germany

December 4, 2018 - 4:37pm

Photo: Willem Thomson

Saturday’s “Stop coal” demonstrations in Cologne and Berlin were timed to coincide with the begin of the international climate conference (COP24) in Katowice. Just days before, the German government announced that the commission tasked with developing a plan for Germany’s coal phase-out will not announce its results until next year – months after the planned deadline.  Once again, Germany’s environment minister will be heading to the climate summit empty handed, and without a clear commitment to the targets set by the Paris Agreement.

Given the urgency of the climate crisis, the continued stalling and lack of political will is not acceptable. That was the clear message of the mass mobilisations in Germany in recent months, spurred on by the struggle to save the Hambach forest from coal company RWE.

Global voices call for Germany to quit coal

The call to end coal in Germany extends well beyond the country itself.

In the lead up to the government’s decision on the future of coal, people affected by the climate crisis from around the world have decided to send a clear message to Germany. 13,000 people have already signed an international petition demanding that the German government listen to the stories of those impacted by climate change around the world and understand what’s at stake.

“From Japan to Puerto Rico, from the Arctic to Peru, people around the world demand climate justice and look towards Germany for leadership. By raising our voices, and gathering support from people all around the world, they will have to listen, and recognise that showing true leadership means keeping fossil fuels in the ground.” Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, poet and climate change activist from the Marshall Islands.

The petition is accompanied by short stories from people on the frontlines of climate change – from Peru to Japan, from the Pacific to Brandenburg, a rural area in Germany currently impacted by severe drought. They demand action from Germany to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celcius.


As part of the project, the street art artist Nasca Uno created a huge piece of art featuring five of these representatives with their demand to keep fossil fuels in the ground. Moses, Wanun, Amanda, Reiner, Anais, and Nicolas are captured in huge, bold portraits.

Wow!! Der Street-Art Künstler Nasca Uno hat Menschen, die vom #Klimawandel betroffen sind und ihre Botschaft visualisiert, so dass sie auf der #KlimaKohleDemo in Berlin am Sa 1.12 repräsentiert sind. Mit dem Kunstwerk machen wir auf katastrophale Klimafolgen weltweit aufmerksam. pic.twitter.com/mPvGIKWFcP

— Fossil Free Deutschland (@FossilFreeDe) November 29, 2018

Fossil Free stands in solidarity with impacted communities

In both Berlin and Cologne, Fossil Free groups from around Germany mobilised to the demonstrations and were visible as part of their own Fossil Free block.

Fossil Free Berlin carried the artwork with them in solidarity with those who impacted by the climate crisis. More photos can be found here.

Beautiful! 36,000 people took to the streets in Germany today, demanding an immediate and just coal phaseout.

Our #FossilFreeBlock brought a street art banner to Parliament, showing faces of those who are already severely affected by climate chaos.#KlimaKohleDemos@350Europe pic.twitter.com/9XITuObWZo

— Fossil Free Berlin (@DivestBerlin) December 1, 2018

If you haven’t signed the petition, it’s not too late. Help us share on social media and make the call for Germany to end coal even louder!


Categories: International News

People Power versus Carbon Bombs

December 4, 2018 - 5:20am

The latest IPCC Report makes clear that if we want to avoid severe global warming, we will have to stay within a strict carbon budget starting today. That means leaving fossil fuels in the ground. 8 major coal campaigns led by partner organizations across the globe and supported by 350.org are fighting to stop 5.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions from being spewed into the atmosphere, an amount which if released blows us way past that budget.

COP24 is being held in Poland, a country which is known for its support of coal – the government motto is ‘Poland stands on coal’ and the country generates over half its primary energy, including 80% of its electricity from coal. The Polish government chose coal-based energy companies PGE and Tauron as summit sponsors.

Cansin Ilgaz, Global Projects Manager at 350.org, will be presenting the 8 iconic fights and talking about strategy and ongoing campaigns to keep fossil fuels in the ground at the Reclaim the Power side event being held today – 4th of December  at 18.30-20.00 in the Bug, Room 2. Live streaming is also available here.

“As the world transitions away from coal, oil, and gas, fossil fuel CEOs and their political puppets are trying to keep us hooked. The construction of any new coal power plant or mine is inconceivable given the findings of the IPCC report released this October. Every ton of coal burned makes an immediate contribution to the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere causing long term and irreversible climate change. We need to keep fossil fuels in the ground now to ensure that we stay below 1.5 degrees in order to avoid catastrophic environmental breakdown.” – Hoda Baraka, Global Communications Director, 350.org

Yet, across the world fossil fuel infrastructure projects threaten global climate safety. Eight coal projects in the pipeline are being fiercely resisted by communities across the globe, they are:

  1. Carmichael Mega Mine in Australia
  2. Lamu, in Kenya
  3. Muğla, Turkey
  4. Rampal in Bangladesh
  5. Rhineland coalfields forest in Germany
  6. Sendou in Senegal
  7. Thabametsi in South Africa
  8. Thepa in Thailand

Three of the eight projects –Sendou in Senegal, Rampal in Bangladesh and Lamu, in Kenya- are being developed in countries where very little of the energy currently produced comes from coal.

The Sendou and Rampal proposed developments are in coastal areas where climate impacts with only 1˚C warming are causing sea-level rise and flooding that claims lives, ravages property and homes and sets back the economy.  In Turkey the Muğla’s coal plants are costing people’s health due to the severe impacts of air pollution that is felt in the surrounding area. In addition to climate change impacts in Europe, the devastating impacts of climate change in North and Sub Saharan Africa are driving climate-induced migration to Europe.

The eight iconic fights media pack highlights the campaigns against the coal industry. including who is financing them,  climate impacts and looks at solutions for a zero carbon future.

Many of the groups opposing fossil fuel projects face increasing state repression which threatens lives as well as progress on climate goals.

“We at 350.org along with our local and global partners are campaigning fiercely to keep fossil fuels in the ground to make staying at 1.5 possible and avoid irreversible and catastrophic climate change. Communities in every corner of the planet have already shown what people power can do in stopping carbon emissions. COP24 is now an opportunity for political leaders to recognize the courageous efforts of these brave people and to take action at the scale of the crisis by stopping all fossil fuel projects and transitioning to 100% renewables for all.” – May Boeve, Executive Director, 350.org.


Media Contacts

At COP24: Alex Rafalowicz, +57 318 343 9283, alex.raf@350.org

Global: Kim Bryan +447770881503, kim.bryan@350.org

Categories: International News

Brazil’s Government says Yes to Climate Change

December 3, 2018 - 4:57pm

Written by Juliano Bueno de Araújo

There is no doubt that the UN Convention on Climate Change is one of the most important conferences that focuses on the environment in the whole world. Brazil’s decision to not host COP25 is, undoubtedly, a risky choice. It puts at stake their so called “global leadership in sustainable development” that was put forward by the government at the time it recommended to host in October of this year. This past Wednesday Nov 28, Brazil’s elected government – which will take office from January 2019 – said that they’re studying the possibility of withdrawing the country from the Paris Agreement.

It is known that the country that hosts the conference needs to contribute to the achievement of the goals, and the dialogue between all the nations needs to be positive. In the case of Brazil, it could mean a great deal: they would need to combat deforestation, invest in renewable energy, etc.

It’s even possible to say that, in this moment, the Brazilian government is saying YES to global warming and is losing its leading role on the environmental agenda. Now, it is up to us, Brazilians and citizens of the whole world, to await the next steps and hope that the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which involves reducing all the emissions, keep being fulfilled.

Juliano Bueno de Araújo is the coordinator of Climate Campaigns at 350.org Brazil and founder and national coordinator of the Non-Fracking Brazil Coalition for Climate, Water and Life (COESUS) and the International Institute Arayara

Categories: International News

Turkey: Civil Society Calls for Urgent and Ambitious Climate Action

December 1, 2018 - 11:39pm

This year’s 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) hosted by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in Poland is considered the most critical turning point since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015. The meeting will determine the guidelines to put the agreement into action through the Paris Rulebook. Countries are also expected to agree on more climate ambition and revise their climate pledges to be in line with the aim of preventing global climate change from reaching a point of no return.

COP24 will take place just two months after the release of the ground-breaking IPCC 1.5°C Special Report. Prepared by request of global decision-makers, the report warns about the urgency of taking responsibility in limiting global average temperature from increasing 1.5°C above industrial levels, and the need to take immediate action for more ambitious emission targets.  

According to the IPCC Special Report, CO2  emissions should halve by the year 2030, and go down to zero by 2050. Otherwise, average global temperature increase is expected to surpass the 1.5°C threshold between 2030 and 2052 — this would mean a disaster on Earth and would change life as we know it.

The Turkish delegation’s priority negotiation topic for COP24 is to exit the list of developed countries in the Annex I to the convention — the group of developed countries that are expected to contribute more in climate financing and emission reductions. This demand was raised in previous COPs and is now added as an official discussion point on the COP24 agenda.  

Under the Paris Agreement, developed nations’ financial assistance relies heavily on their own pledges. As an Annex I country with “Special Circumstances”, Turkey has no obligation to increase its contribution in climate finance, and at the same time, exiting the Annex I does not mean access to the Green Climate Fund.  

We, as the civil society representatives active in Turkey, believe that it is crucial for the country to approach the UN Climate Summits with a broader presence, including pushing to improve its climate pledges rather than limiting itself to the issue of access to the Green Climate Fund.

By becoming an official party to the Paris Agreement and ratifying it, and shifting away from fossil fuel-based energy policies, Turkey is also more likely to maintain climate finance streams from multilateral development banks and international finance institutions — which the country is currently among the biggest beneficiaries. Raising the issue of global inequality in numerous contexts, Turkish decision makers should take a step forward on one of the most pressing issues requiring action: climate justice. During the negotiations, Turkish officials should also look beyond access to other financial resources, and focus on intra-regional and inter-regional climate injustices. By doing that Turkey should also fulfill its responsibilities as a developing country.

An immediate and effective implementation of the Paris Agreement, in addition to speedy decarbonization, can prevent irreversible losses in economic, social, cultural assets, and can save thousands of lives. Yet the country insists on bringing its Annex I country status to the agenda, and delays its ratification and pushes back any commitment to improve its insufficient climate pledge — and wastes and incredible opportunity to benefit from its promising renewable energy sector.

Turkey’s refusal to ratify the Agreement could also cost its status in the international cooperation — once the Paris Rulebook is adopted, failing to ratify the Agreement this year will make the country unable to play active role in future negotiations, making it more an observer rather than a real actor.

Energy transformation has occurred many times throughout history, and countries able to lead them benefitted the most. In a time when even financial resources are taking distance from fossil fuels, Turkey should not isolate itself. Instead, it should use the advantages of being a rapidly emerging economy with high renewable energy potential, and become a real actor influencing the global just transition to a decarbonized future.

Turkey is in the Mediterranean Basin, one of the regions that will be most affected by climate change. However, this is not reflected in Turkey’s climate as ambitious emission reductions. In its INDC, submitted prior to the signing of the Paris Agreement, Turkey pledged to decrease emissions from a projected high-level increase in its emissions in the next decade. This means greenhouse gas emissions are set to increase more than double their current levels, by 2030.

Such pledge shows that Turkey will keep on insisting the high-carbon, energy-intensive growth path based on coal and other fossil fuels, instead of determining an emissions peak date. With its impressive solar and wind potential, Turkey should reap the benefits of the low-carbon transition and make effective contributions in the global effort to save the planet and its people.

NewClimate Institute (NCI), CAN Europe (Climate Action Network Europe), and the Turkish Climate Network (İklim Ağı) had reported that energy policies in line with the Paris Agreement would mean a stronger Turkish economy. According to the study “Co-benefits of Climate Action: Assessing Turkey’s Climate Pledge”, Paris-compliant measures can reduce dependence on fossil fuels and save $23 million dollars, prevent 35,000 air pollution related deaths, and create 64,000 new, green jobs in the energy sector. Other recent studies add onto these findings by demonstrating the costs of climate inaction in terms of loss and damage of livelihoods and the economy.

As civil society organizations working on climate change in Turkey, we believe that global actors within the new climate dynamics should be well differentiated, and that countries with bigger historical responsibility should take even more urgent and ambitious action. The Turkish government can also give constructive contributions in the improvement of the existing Annex system within the convention framework.

Unfortunately, we are already living in a “more-than-1°C degree warmer” world. We think that countries should be real about preventing the disasters that a “over-1.5°C” world would bring. We don’t have time to step back. Therefore, we ask the Turkish government to immediately step up, take the leadership flag in global climate efforts and ratify the Paris Agreement, and strengthen its climate pledges.


Signing organizations:

Adana Çevre ve Tüketiciyi Koruma Derneği (ÇETKO) – Adana Association for the Protection of the Environment and the Consumers
Adana Tabip Odası – Adana Chamber of Doctors
Akdeniz Yeşilleri Derneği – Mediterranean Greens Association
Antakya Çevre Koruma Derneği – Antakya Association for Environmental Protection
Buğday Association for Supporting Ecological Living
Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe
Çevre ve Arı Koruma Derneği (ÇARIK) – Association to Protect the Environment and Bees
Doğa Koruma Merkezi (DKM) – Nature Conservation Center
Ekoloji Kolektifi Derneği – Ecology Collective
EUROSOLAR Türkiye Yenilenebilir Enerji Birliği
Foça Çevre ve Kültür Platformu (FOÇEP) – Foça Platform for Culture and Environment
Foça Forum
İskenderun Çevre Koruma Derneği – İskenderun Environmental Protection Association
Kadıköyü Bilim Kültür ve Sanat Dostları Derneği (KADOS) – Kadıköyü Friends of Science, Culture and Arts Association
Kazdağı Doğal ve Kültürel Varlıkları Koruma Derneği – Mount İda Association to Protect Natural and Cultural Assets
Mersin Çevre Dostları Derneği – Mersin Friends of the Environment Association
Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)
Tarsus Çevre Koruma Kültür ve Sanat Merkezi Derneği – Tarsus Center for the Protection of Environment, Culte and Arts Association
Türkiye Çevre Platformu (TÜRÇEP) – Turkey Environmental Platform
WWF Türkiye
Yeryüzü Derneği – The Earth Association
Yeşil Düşünce Derneği – The Green Thought Association
Yuva Derneği – Yuva Association
350 Türkiye

Categories: International News

Fossil Free News #10: Momentum ahead of UN Climate Talks #COP24

November 30, 2018 - 10:38am

This issue of Fossil Free News was first published as an email on December 1. Sign up here for future editions:

As the eyes of the global climate movement turn to COP24, the UN Climate Talks which will start next week in Katowice, Poland, there’s a palpable sense of momentum coming from your campaigns around the world right now.

The Stop Adani movement got some shock news that the mine is now funded and will be holding snap actions all next week. I was in the room at Climate Finance Day in Paris on Wednesday, where the CEO of France’s national pension fund, the CDC, announced they’ll no longer invest in coal. That’s a big deal. What’s more, in Germany the government is feeling the people power pushing for a total coal phaseout.

It feels like we’re closing in on coal for good -– and movements like ours are pushing for a just transition for fossil fuel workers to renewables.  But there are massive carbon bombs like gas pipelines and tar sands extraction being planted around the world right now as governments meet in Poland.  We’ve got 2 short years to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

Enjoy this 10th edition of Fossil Free News – and the video rundown to go with it. Would you share it with someone in your community to help get the word out?

In solidarity,

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Watch the roundup of the latest actions people around the world are taking to end fossil fuels ahead of the UN climate talks.Sign up for more updates: gofossilfree.org/fossil-free-news

Posted by 350.org on Friday, November 30, 2018


In France, a campaign that started only a year ago has seen a major breakthrough: the €160-billion CDC public pension fund will no longer invest in companies that make more than 10% of their earnings from coal. That will genuinely exclude 100s of the most polluting companies on the planet. It will also impact investments into RWE, a major German coal company building huge lignite mines. People across Europe are welcoming the move, but pushing for the CDC to take the next step and divest from oil and gas, too. People across France will be sounding the climate alarm and are calling for public actions and marches everywhere on December 8. Sign up here if you’ll join them.

This week thousands from all over the world participated in online actions targeting HSBC for their double-standard coal policy in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Back in March this year, thanks to pressure from people like you, Europe’s largest bank committed to drop their coal investments – except in these 3 countries. That’s a racist double standard – coal plants anywhere threaten the climate, and it’s unjust to force antiquated energy on people already suffering air pollution and extreme weather from coal when plenty of renewable plans are on the table stalling. What’s more, momentum is gathering in Germany as more than 10,000 of you have already signed an international petition pushing on the government to act now and phase out coal (could you sign, too?)

Ahead of CO24, the countries most vulnerable to climate change held a virtual summit to urge more serious ambition. During the 24-hour meeting, Vanuatu announced it was exploring the possibility of legal action against fossil fuel companies for the damage they’re causing. Then, in Australia, Adani shockingly announced that they had secured funding to go ahead with their enormous Carmichael mine – the catch is, they are self-funding it to drive through approvals.  Snap actions are anticipated in the coming week so make sure you’re on the look out for ways to act in solidarity.

All over, people are resisting the carbon bombs being planted, and pushing for a just transition to ensure workers get a fair deal. In Canada, a new campaign is putting pressure on national leaders to support a policy that would phase out fossil fuels while guaranteeing good jobs for impacted workers, striving for 100% renewable energy, and respecting Indigneous communities.

Meanwhile, in the UK, a new Extinction Rebellion movement has kicked off and been garnering lots of press attention on #climatebreakdown in the wake of the 1.5˚C report. It uses civil resistance tactics such as blocking traffic — two weeks ago they blocked all 5 major bridges through central London. Over 1000 people have so far been arrested for disruptive actions meant to bring public attention onto the current emergency. There’s a real buzz around the idea, a rapidly growing network and also some critics of the group’s strategy. We’d love to hear what you think – add your comments on Fossil Free’s Facebook.

And with these other wins this week, we’re getting really close to 1,000 commitments worldwide:


Watch this great video of Fossil Free West Yorkshire’s rally from September, where they brought the community together to demand the city divest its pension fund from fossil fuels.


Juliana vs. US is an inspiring climate lawsuit playing out right now in the United States, and it could be huge. The “No Ordinary Lawsuit” podcast goes behind the scenes of its genesis. There are 4 episodes lined up, produced by Our Children’s Trust.


Was 2018 the year you woke up to climate change? If the extreme weather has flipped a switch for you, consider contributing your story to The Guardian, who are taking stock of how much climate concern and action has ticked up this year.


That’s all for now. I’ll be back in two weeks with another update. And with the end of the year approaching, please consider making a donation to help build a Fossil Free world:

Categories: International News

We’ll be on the ground at COP24 – join us

November 30, 2018 - 7:09am

As the governments from around the world head to COP24 to decide the “rulebook” for sticking to the Paris Agreement, the IPCC report has already made it clear that we can limit warming to 1.5C if we act rapidly now. The test of COP24 is does it advance us on the path to limiting warming in line with what science and people everywhere are demanding.

If you’re in Katowice, join us for these events at the Climate Hub! You can connect with the 350.org team and the Fossil Free network at the actions and spaces below.

If you can’t make it to Katowice, you can support us and follow events online and share the big moments on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Friday 7 December
  • 11am: Presentation – “Prospects for Spaceship Earth”
  • 12pm: Presentation – “On a hope in the hopeless times”
Sunday 9 December
  • 10am: Presenation on the Artivism during Polish Climate Camp: “The World After the Ecological Disaster. New Utopias.”
Monday 10 December
  • 8pm: What Youth Climate Leadership looks like? Stories from Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia
Tuesday 11 December
  • 10am: 100% Renewable Energy Transition in the cities of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia: The Future is Now
  • 7pm: Green Talks in Climate Hub
Wednesday 12 December
  • 4pm: From One Island to Another video followed by People’s 1.5C discussion panel
Categories: International News

HSBC under fire at Climate Finance Day

November 28, 2018 - 12:27pm

Today, during the Climate Finance Day summit in Paris, hundreds tweeted and demanded HSBC change the double standard in their coal policy. In March 2018, HSBC announced they’d stop funding coal – except for plants in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam. We reminded them, there can be no exceptions: they cannot force the people of Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam to breathe sulphur dioxide and smog while stopping coal financing in Europe.

Local group Fossil Free Paris pointed out the double standard outside Paris’ old Stock Exchange, the summit venue. Photo | Olga Kravets

Hmmm – Climate Finance Day's #CFD2018 official twitter feed is filled with posts calling on HSBC to end fossil fuel funding.

Want to join in? Here's how: https://t.co/q7VyLd31zG pic.twitter.com/tNNBdmAoV2

— Fossil Free (@GoFossilFree) November 28, 2018

Activists outside the Paris summit brought the message – also supported by thousands of petition signers –  to the financiers entering the summit. HSBC needs to fix its coal policy: that means no exemptions. And it must go further and stop financing fossil fuels all together.


Sign the petition

HSBC has stated that coal is necessary to improve life in financially poor countries. This is simply not true. Coal will only make extreme weather patterns rattling the region today worse, and blanket local populations with air pollution. HSBC has changed before, with its March announcement, and it can change again. Given its size and influence, it can serve as a leader to other banks – rather than sending the signal that this double standard is acceptable.

Inside, HSBC’s Head of Sustainable Finance Daniel Klier acknowledged “green vs. brown” but failed to properly answer the demands. He even suggested that individual investment might be the solution.

Yes, it’s a very easy discussion @HSBC. So can you engage on it for real? Why the exclusions in your coal policy?: https://t.co/pbE7O9JREK #GetUpScaleUp pic.twitter.com/TW05hEljxH

— 350 dot org (@350) November 28, 2018


We’re tired of hearing how individual solutions are what’s needed. Big banks like @HSBC who actively invest in coal and fossil fuels have a responsibility to stop. #cfd2018 pic.twitter.com/HAcvmqdLqZ

— 350 dot org (@350) November 28, 2018

We haven’t heard back from HSBC yet, but we know that large banks like HSBC need to own their responsibility for the climate crisis and stop all fossil fuel investment. For HSBC, that means closing this policy loophole. In the next few months, people will continue action like this against HSBC and further expose their involvement in fossil fuels.

Now it’s the time to spread the message and get your friends to sign the petition.

Tell HSBC to end all coal funding

Categories: International News

Why I’m asking Germany to quit coal

November 21, 2018 - 2:32pm

The first time I saw an open-pit coal mine, I felt despair. The mine was enormous. It was hard to realise the scale of the destruction, until I saw the huge machines digging through the earth, the people around them so tiny.

It was a shock – realising that this was happening in Germany, half an hour away from Cologne, a city I now call my home. But I come from Peru. I’ve seen farmers and indigenous people struggle to preserve their livelihoods in the face of climate impacts. Impacts which start here, with the huge machines digging up more and more coal to burn.

Germany has a reputation of being an international climate leader. But witnessing Europe’s biggest source of CO2 in the Rheinland lignite mines, I realised that it was not the whole truth.

I decided to speak up: for myself, for my people in Peru, and for everyone else across the world forced to bear the consequences of that coal being burnt in Germany. Because it’s up to us to raise our voices about Germany’s role in fueling the climate crisis.

Now is our best moment to be heard: within the next months Germany will agree and announce its plans on when and how to stop digging up and burning coal. We can make sure that before they do, they hear the voices of people around the world impacted by climate change, demanding urgent action.

That’s why I’m calling on the German government to stop fueling climate change. The more of us joining together, the louder we can be in demanding that Germany phases out coal – fast. Please join me and others from all around the world, and sign this petition!

I’m demanding this for the potato farmers in the region of Huánuco, who face the loss of their livelihoods and traditional methods of growing crops. I’m demanding this for indigenous communities, who are already witnessing the impacts on the animals and plant species. Climate change is already rewriting the stories of millions of people around the world, like the communities from the Amazonas that I represent.

My voice is just one of many and my story is not the only one. There are people from all around the world calling on Germany to quit coal: Heiner Lütke, a farmer from Brandenburg, Germany, suffering due to severe droughts; Reiko Takeuchi, whose home in Japan was badly affected by recent floods; and Fenton Lutunatabua, a Pacific Climate Warrior fighting to keep his island above water; to name but a few.

We can still stop the worst of it – but decision-makers need to stop stalling. Together, we can push them to action.


Categories: International News

HSBC: Stop with the double standards on coal

November 20, 2018 - 5:20am

Back in March, HSBC announced a partial ban on financing new coal plants in response to mounting pressure from activists and campaigners. But its policy still permits the financing of coal plants in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam until 2023. This even though all three countries are on the front line of climate change and have significant renewable energy potential – potential that could be harnessed to sustainably fight poverty. Coal can’t do that.

While the rest of the world is embracing the benefits of clean and affordable renewable energy, HSBC wants to lock these countries into dirty, dangerous and expensive fossil fuel infrastructure that is already outdated now and will be antiquated in a few years. The European Union’s largest bank cannot fund clean tech in developed countries and then force the people of Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Vietnam to breathe sulphur dioxide and smog. It’s an insulting double standard. And it’s counter-productive for the climate.

People in Indonesia are emphasizing the need to transition from fossil fuels like coal to renewable energies.


The long-term costs to local communities will pile up for decades if this obsolete technology continues to be developed.  Meanwhile, a string of proposed renewable energy projects on the table in all three countries remain under-funded. HSBC claims to support the goals of the Paris Agreement, yet it threatens our very future by funding the expansion of coal-burning power plants in Asia.

They still have a chance to right this wrong.  HSBC needs to fix its coal policy: that means no exemptions. And it must stop financing fossil fuels all together. The IPCC report has now made it unquestionable: there is no more room anywhere on this planet for more fossil fuel infrastructure.


People demand HSBC stop funding fossil fuels outside a branch in Vietnam.


HSBC has changed before, with its March announcement, and it can change again. Given its size and influence, it can serve as a leader to other banks – rather than sending the signal that this double standard is acceptable.

You can help. Sign the petition to push HSBC to fix it’s coal policy.

Sign the Petition



Categories: International News

The countries most vulnerable to climate change are leading the way. Here’s how:

November 19, 2018 - 7:29am

The Climate Vulnerable Forum Virtual Summit (CVF) on November 22, 2018 is the first of its kind. It’s an opportunity for national leaders to stand with those most vulnerable to the growing impacts of climate change, and to reinforce efforts to limit global warming to 1.5 °C.  And it’s all happening entirely online.

Heads of government will join the nearly zero-emissions summit with live-streams or pre-recorded video messages. Participants will include governments, global companies, cities, states, civil society, and media, interacting using online tools. The event will include plenary statements and thematic discussions on key topics each convened by leading organizations.

Over 100 Marshallese activists rallied with traditional vessels in the capital, Majuro, to demand that leaders of developed nations dramatically upscale their plans to limit global warming. Photo: Greenpeace


The summit is being convened by the Marshall Islands, a country where climate change is not some distant danger but happening right now. The islands are already threatened by rising sea levels, flooding, and contamination of freshwater supplies.

Right now at almost 1˚C of warming, all of the 48 Countries that make up the CVF already deal with grave climate impacts, from sea-level rise that causes deadly flooding and ravages property and homes, to devastating heat waves, droughts, monster hurricanes and other forms of extreme weather. In India, Bangladesh, and Nepal, torrential rains have triggered landslides and flooding killing more than 1,000 people and affecting 41 million more. The secondary impacts of these devastating events include forced displacement, disease, and economic devastation. 

“The IPCC report released in October was a wake-up call for our governments and the rest of the planet. The only way to prevent the world from warming over 1.5°C will be through a very rapid phase-out of all fossil fuels, coupled with an equally rapid uptake of renewable energy and, ultimately a systemic shift in our societies. We stand with the Marshall Islands and we are calling on all of you to stand with us too.” – Pacific Climate Warriors

Photo: Greenpeace


The 2018 CVF Summit has been organized as part of the Talanoa Dialogue, an agreed mechanism to promote enhanced national action from all nations that took part in the 2015 Paris Climate summit. Talanoa is a traditional word used in Fiji and across parts of the Pacific to reflect a process of collaborative, inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogues. The purpose of Talanoa is to share stories, build empathy and to make wise decisions for the collective good. The CVF 2108 summit is building on this.  

350.org along with its local and global partners are campaigning fiercely to keep fossil fuels in the ground to make staying at 1.5˚C possible and to avoid irreversible and catastrophic climate change. From Bangladesh to Kenya, the US to Italy, campaigners across the globe are stopping millions of tonnes of carbon emissions from going into the atmosphere and contributing to rising temperatures.

“Having identified 16 countries on the African continent as being climate vulnerable, and with the increasing investment of fossil fuels into Africa, this is a real cause for concern. Coal fired power stations, and their emissions are the primarily responsible for climate change. As we ponder the dichotomous relationship between development and access to energy, we urge governments to consider to dire implications that real people face when disaster strikes.” – Landry Nintereste, Africa Team Leader, 350.org

#ThriveSurvive and #1o5c are the hashtags we are using to show our solidarity. Make your own post on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Stand with the Marshall Islands and call on our nations’ leaders to stand up and take bolder action on climate change now.

Categories: International News