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Updated: 13 hours 56 min ago

Message on the Second Anniversary of the Paris Agreement: Not a Penny More to Fossil Fuels.

December 12, 2017 - 10:01am

Today a coalition of NGOs, including 350.org organised a mass mobilisation of hundreds of people at the Place du Pantheon, Paris, to demand that not a penny more of money is invested in the fossil fuel industry. Over five hundred people took part in a visually spectacular mobilisation.  

The action took place as world leaders gathered in the French capital, at the ‘One Planet’ climate summit hosted by President Macron, to discuss investment in climate solutions. We are calling on them to not only step-up and make serious commitments to funding climate solutions, but to end the unabated support of the fossil fuel industry.

Photo credit: Koen Jacobs and Marco Verch

 

Civil society began by ringing the alarm around the ongoing financial support a few days ago by holding a mock trial of the fossil fuel funders. Testimonials of people affected by the devastating consequences of the fossil fuel industry, as well as climate change, were presented at the Nouveau Théâtre de Montreuil (Paris), to a panel of three judges and a room of 350 live witnesses and 5,500 streaming in on December 10.

The hearings were presided over by three judges: Brett Fleishman, senior finance campaigner for 350.org; Aurélie Trouvé the co-president of the french branch of ‘Attac’, an international movement working towards social, environmental and democratic alternatives, and Marie Toussaint President of ‘Notre affaire à tous’ an organisation that specialises in using law as an advocacy tool to protect the environment and the climate.

Tribunal Finances&climat au Nouveau ThŽatre de Montreuil.

The judges unanimously condemned the continued financial support of investments in coal, oil, gas and nuclear, that continue to wreak havoc on the environment and the communities where these investments are made, and issued the following judgement:

“We accuse the public and private financial sectors of violating fundamental rights, we accuse states of violating international treaties, failing to fulfill their obligations to respect and protect the rights of people and commons across the planet. We recall that more than 200 environmental defenders were killed in 2016 worldwide. The sentence we pronounce is international. In Africa, Europe, Asia, the United States and the Pacific, people will rise to turn this crisis into a just transition.”

During the mock-tribunal witnesses presented first hand accounts of the destructive effects coal, oil and gas have had and continue to have on communities from around the world. Testimonials were provided by representatives from:  Notre-Dame-Des Landes (France), the Sundarbans (Bangladesh), Hambach forest (Germany), the Overseas territories of France, among fifteen others.

Two years after COP21, we are seeing impacts increase in France and elsewhere. Greenhouse gas concentrations have risen to untenable levels, 2017 has also been one of the hottest years recorded, punctuated by a series of climate change fuelled disasters including storms such as Harvey, Irma, wildfires in Portugal and California, unusual heatwaves in Australia, amongst others.

If we carry on burning all the carbon that is currently in operating fields and mines, we will far surpass  the Paris Climate Agreement aspiration to limit warming to 1.5C and blow past the 2°C target as well. We only have five years left of burning fossil fuels at the current rate before we go past the ability to curtail warming at this level.

Unfortunately finance in dirty energy persists at untenable levels. According to Oil Change International, between 2013 and 2015, 58% of Public Finance for Energy from G20 Countries went to fossil fuels, while only 15% went to “clean” energy.

This behaviour did not improve after the Paris agreement either, as multilateral development banks (MDB) approved over $5 billion in fossil fuel finance in 2016. MDB finance for oil and gas exploration more than doubled from 2015 to 2016, from $1.05 billion to $2.15 billion.

In response to this continuing financing, yesterday we launched a report uncovering heavy French investments in 12 dirty projects around the world undermining the very process leaders today claim to be meeting for. These projects are located all over the planet including China, Mozambique, Germany and Norway.  

This charade can’t go on. Every euro and dollar spent on adaptation and mitigation is being systematically undercut by even more money spent on the fossil fuel industry.  There can be no more room in our budgets, carbon or otherwise, for the energy sources of the past. Finance institutions, especially those acting in the public interest. This meeting has a lot of catching up to do to meet the scientific and moral standards established by its predecessor summit.

Civil society is not alone in making this point, just last week, 100 economists from around the world signed the Declaration on Climate Finance, calling for an immediate end to investment in fossil fuel production and infrastructure.  “Not a Penny More” can go to the companies and projects that lock in more un-burnable greenhouse gasses.

Photo credit: Koen Jacobs and Marco Verch

 

It is time for the community of global economic actors to step up its efforts to save our planet and preserve our common future. Macron and other world leaders have a chance during the summit to finally start delivering on the promises made in the Paris agreement:  simply put, there is no more room for new fossil fuel infrastructure and therefore no case for ongoing investment.

Our primary goal for this summit was to put a spotlight on the discourse of Not A Penny More for fossil fuels. The summit is still ongoing, but we are already hearing a host of announcements coming through in the spirit of fossil free finance. This is the result of years of grassroots campaigning by the climate movement, and we know more will be needed if we have a chance to avoid an already escalating climate crisis.

Here is a sample of what’s come out in the last few hours:

  • Storebrand, a Norwegian bank, announced a total of US$3.1billion in “#FossilFree” funds
  • The World Bank announced it will no longer finance upstream oil and gas
  • The OECD president said that we need to “eliminate all fossil fuel
  • John Kerry got on stage and called for “not a cent more…for coal”
  • Dutch bank ING announced today to stop all financing of coal projects and companies (that get more than 5% of their income from coal) by 2025
  • Axa, one of the world’s biggest insurance companies announced at the Macron summit today to divest €3.4bn from coal and tar sands. That’s in addition to the €500m coal divestment they announced back in 2015.
  • Over 100 economists called for an end to fossil fuel finance

Looking ahead, the global climate movement will keep on pushing through 2018 to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy for all. We will continue to stop new fossil fuel projects, end dirty finance, and push to ensure that as many towns, cities, and regions as possible to commit to 100% renewable energy. Follow updates on gofossilfree.org!

 

____

  1. 350.org, Alternatiba, les Amis de la Terre France, ANV-COP21, Attac France, Bizi!, la Confédération paysanne, la Coordination Eau Bien Commun France, la Coordination Eau Bien Commun Ile de France, le CRID, la Fondation pour la Nature et l’Homme, France Nature Environnement, Greenpeace France, Notre Affaire à Tous, Oxfam France, le REFEDD, le Réseau Action Climat France, le Réseau sortir du nucléaire, Sciences Po Zéro Fossile, SUD PTT, l’Union Syndicale Solidaires, ZEA.
Categories: International News

The Brazilian Senate is about to vote for a giant tax break for big oil

December 12, 2017 - 4:05am

In just a few hours’ time, the Brazilian Senate could pass a measure that would hand some of the biggest oil companies in the world a giant tax break worth $300 billion — exempting all oil and gas research and exploration activities from all taxes! As many of you know all too well, the only thing that can stop tax cuts for the rich is people power. There’s a chance we could stop this measure in its tracks, but the vote is in a few hours’ time, so we need to move fast.

The Presidential decree has already been passed by the Brazilian House of Representatives, and so that means the Brazilian Senate is our only opportunity. We know there are about 30 or so who will vote against this massive tax subsidy. That means we only have to persuade another 11 Senators to vote NO to win this one.

What’s missing from the debate in Brazil right now is a strong international voice. We believe a global wave of opposition can have a real impact on the outcome of this disastrous subsidy. Please take a few minutes to join this Twitter action that will send your messages straight to the Brazilian swing-vote Senators. The only thing more powerful than the fossil fuel industry is people power.

1: Tweet at Senators Wilder Morais, Otto Alencar & Cidinho Santos

2: Tweet at Senators Garibaldi Filho & Lasier Martins

3: Tweet at Senators Randolfe Rodrigues & Romário de Souza Faria

4: Tweet at Senators Ronaldo Caiado & Cristovam Buarque

5: Tweet at Senators Álvaro Dias & Ana Amélia Lemos

People from governments, development agencies, big finance and others are literally sitting down in Paris today to talk about how to improve climate finance. On the very same day Brazil could pass a law that instead of ending state subsidies to out-of-date fossil fuels, hands them a giant state sponsored tax subsidy.

If thousands of us tweeted at those Brazilian Senators deciding which way to vote, we could persuade them to live up to their Paris agreement commitments, and to not trash the Paris climate finance summit by handing the oil industry hundreds of billions of dollars.

What is incredibly powerful about the global climate movement is that no matter where we are in the world we can come together to push against the causes of climate catastrophe. Now we need to mobilise to help persuade those wavering Brazilian Senators to say #notapennymore for fossil fuels and reject the tax break.

Categories: International News

The Brazilian Senate is about to vote for a giant tax break for big oil.

December 11, 2017 - 12:27pm

In just a few hours’ time, the Brazilian Senate could pass a measure that would hand some of the biggest oil companies in the world a giant tax break worth $300 billion — exempting all oil and gas research and exploration activities from all taxes! As many of you know all too well, the only thing that can stop tax cuts for the rich is people power. There’s a chance we could stop this measure in its tracks, but the vote is in a few hours’ time, so we need to move fast.

The Presidential decree has already been passed by the Brazilian House of Representatives, and so that means the Brazilian Senate is our only opportunity. We know there are about 30 or so who will vote against this massive tax subsidy. That means we only have to persuade another 11 Senators to vote NO to win this one.

What’s missing from the debate in Brazil right now is a strong international voice. We believe a global wave of opposition can have a real impact on the outcome of this disastrous subsidy. Please take a few minutes to join this Twitter action that will send your messages straight to the Brazilian swing-vote Senators. The only thing more powerful than the fossil fuel industry is people power.

1: Tweet at Senators Wilder Morais, Otto Alencar & Cidinho Santos

2: Tweet at Senators Garibaldi Filho & Lasier Martins

3: Tweet at Senators Randolfe Rodrigues & Romário de Souza Faria

4: Tweet at Senators Ronaldo Caiado & Cristovam Buarque

5: Tweet at Senators Álvaro Dias & Ana Amélia Lemos

People from governments, development agencies, big finance and others are literally sitting down in Paris today to talk about how to improve climate finance. On the very same day Brazil could pass a law that instead of ending state subsidies to out-of-date fossil fuels, hands them a giant state sponsored tax subsidy.

If thousands of us tweeted at those Brazilian Senators deciding which way to vote, we could persuade them to live up to their Paris agreement commitments, and to not trash the Paris climate finance summit by handing the oil industry hundreds of billions of dollars.

What is incredibly powerful about the global climate movement is that no matter where we are in the world we can come together to push against the causes of climate catastrophe. Now we need to mobilise to help persuade those wavering Brazilian Senators to say #notapennymore for fossil fuels and reject the tax break.

Categories: International News

D12 Mobilization in Paris: Not a penny more!

December 6, 2017 - 4:29am

Not a penny more

French President Emmanuel Macron’s climate summit in Paris will be held December 12. Together with heads of state and leaders from the public and finance sectors, he’ll use it as an opportunity to prop up France’s climate champion image, despite its continued investment in fossil fuel infrastructure.

With a coalition of grassroots climate groups, we’ve been planning some imagery of our own. On the morning of the summit, on the two-year anniversary of the Paris Agreement, we’ll hold a beautiful, choreographed mass action in Paris. In a wave of movement, we’ll break free of the fossil fuel industry’s stronghold, coloring the way forward with distributed renewable energy solutions.

A series of workshops have been held weekly in Paris to prepare. If you’re in Paris, join us this Saturday, Sunday, and/or Monday at 23, rue du Château Landon, 75010 to get involved.

The action will come 2 days after a People’s Tribunal is held in nearby Montreuil on December 10, where individuals facing the frontline impacts of these fossil fuel projects will call them out for what they are — climate crimes against people and our common future.

As we rise up to make our demands heard, we’ll also be joined by over 80 prominent economists from around the world who have already signed on to a Declaration in advance of the summit. Together, they’re calling out the hypocrisy of continued institutional investments in new fossil fuel projects.

We cannot talk about climate finance without talking about fossil fuel investment. Over the next 2 weeks, join us and tell Macron: “not a penny more” to the energies of the past. #NotaPennyMore #FossilFree

In solidarity,

Nicolas Haeringer
350 France Campaigner

Categories: International News

What Design Can Do: inspiration to move on

November 28, 2017 - 5:58pm

By Caroline Kwasnicki

 

We are living in difficult times. The planet is continuously warning us about the impacts of our actions. Extreme droughts, floods, hurricanes and high temperatures are happening all over the world. Climate change doesn’t choose its targets, it hits everyone, everywhere. But there’s no doubt the size and strength of the damages are uneven: some communities are more sensitive to these catastrophes than others, and many times they are the ones that have done the least to cause the problem. We cannot just look for ourselves and believe that problems are far from us. We need to think together and unite our skills to find solutions that prioritize a more sustainable and just future for ourselves and for our – only – home.

An inspiring example that proves that it is possible to unite distinct areas of knowledge for a common cause is What Design Can Do (WDCD), an event that happened last week in São Paulo, Brazil.

The WDCD was born in Holland in 2011 and happens in Brazil since 2015. It’s goal is to promote design as a tool for transforming society, mobilizing the creative community to foster these social changes.

Climate change is no longer just an environmental issue. It is a global crisis, and it requires us all to think outside the box, outside the climatic bubble. That’s the challenge!

During two days, people from diverse areas of work came together to debate about the causes and consequences of climate change, and the power of design and architecture to promote solutions. Real projects have also been presented.

Naresh Ramchandani, co-founder of environmental NGO Do The Green Thing, Nicole Oliveira, environmental activist and director of 350.org Brazil and Latin America, and Elizabeth Mckeon, head of strategy at the IKEA Foundation, participated of the panel discussion entitled “Is media still our ally?”.

Nicole addressed examples of climate events and how our choices impact the world. She explained how her job at 350.org works and how climate activism is important in the fight against fossil fuels and against the Brazilian government backsliding, that insists on stimulating the most polluting industry in the world. “We do not need fossil fuels. We have enough clean energy”, she said. Here you can watch the live transmission we made on our Facebook page during the debate!

WDCD female representativeness

Gender inequality is the source of many forms of discrimination, abuse, violence and exploration, and it was also addressed during WDCD. For Nicole, a feminist activist herself, the presence of many women in the forum was a victory in the fight for equity. “It is gratifying to participate in an event that embraces the feminist cause. It was an honor to debate alongside other such competent and professional women in their respective fields”, she commented.

All around the world, women play a central role on fighting against climate change and for more sustainable economic systems. According to the UN, women’s participation at the political level, for example, has resulted in greater responsiveness to citizen’s needs and at the local level women’s leadership has improved outcomes of climate related projects and policies.

Climate Action Challenge

In addition to mitigating the effects and designing solutions that contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions, in order to combat global warming, we must also adapt to the reality of the inevitable impacts of climate change. And here design and architecture can play key roles.

With this proposal, the Climate Action Challenge 2017 – a global design competition – has invited the creative community, among students, professionals and startups, to propose projects and solutions that address the impacts of climate change. The challenge received 384 entries from 70 countries. See below some of the winning projects of this edition – to see the full list visit the WDCD website.

 

Dronecoria: Have you ever imagined thousands of people being able to plant thousands of trees? This is an automatic reforestation project, which uses drones to disperse seeds into expanded clay balls.

The Children’s Scrappy News Service: is an improvised news service, made by children for children, that seeks to solve the world’s problems by taking one step at a time.

And you, have you stopped to think about how your area of ​​action can contribute to building a sustainable and fair future for all? Join us on this journey. We can build a Fossil Free world and fight climate change together. We want – and need to – prevent the development of any new project involving coal, oil and gas, and accelerate the transition to 100% renewable, free, clean and fair energy for all. Join us!

Categories: International News

Share these stories of #NoTAP resistance

November 25, 2017 - 3:00am

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline is a mega-pipeline that, as part of the Southern Gas Corridor, would bring gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, via Italy. The gas receiving terminal is planned to be built near the town or Melendugno, in Puglia.

The situation in Melendugno is tense, with the Trans Adriatic Pipeline site still a ‘red zone’ (out of bounds to everyone) in a police effort to block the local resistance and allow construction works to move ahead. At this moment, the local community resisting TAP needs their voice and their struggle to be heard more than ever.

We’ve just released six videos telling the story of people on the ground in Italy resisting TAP, in their own words. Watch them in full here.

Or watch and share the trailer:

Two weeks ago, during the second week of the COP23 climate conference in Bonn and on the day of the EIB board meeting, actions took place across Europe in solidarity with the communities resisting TAP.

It’s no co-incidence that the European Investment Bank (EIB) once again delayed its decision on a $2bn loan to Europe’s biggest new fossil fuel project. The companies and politicians behind TAP are feeling the pressure and with a decision possible at any of their upcoming monthly board meetings, the next one being on December 12, so let’s keep this pressure up.

We know gas is not a transition fuel. It’s a fossil fuel. To meet climate goals and achieve justice for those most impacted by a changing climate already, fossil gas production and consumption must, like that of other fossil fuels, be phased out as quickly as possible, starting now.

Pouring billions into new gas infrastructure is taking us in completely the wrong direction. In Sweden and Ireland, the same companies pushing TAP are also building new LNG terminals and in Spain and Germany, new gas mega-pipelines are planned by publicly owned entities in collaboration with private interests. The gas lobby has infected European institutions with its financial power and policy-makers are following the money.

With over 100 new gas projects planned across Europe, we need everyone – there’s a role for you all.

But right now, anything you can do to help spread awareness of the local community in Melendugno’s powerful struggle against TAP would be of real help.

 

 

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Categories: International News

Fossil Fuel Industry Sneakily Tries to Fight Back as Divestment Backed by People Power Grows

November 22, 2017 - 1:54pm

In a sign that fossil fuel companies, are stooping to new lows, an investigative report published in the most recent edition of Bloomberg Businessweek revealed that PR firms have set up fake anti-divestment, pensioners’ rights groups to lobby against divestment. We are already knew that oil and gas companies like Exxon have for decades lead campaigns to hinder climate action and sow confusion about the science of climate change. This most recent expose, months in the making, reveals that fossil fuel companies are scared of the success of the global divestment movement, and pulling out all the sneaky and nefarious stops to trying to erase the fossil free writing on the wall.

One such group – Protect our Pensions – has published opinion pieces in newspapers and written letters to legislators and pension trustees, supposedly from regular “Jane and Joe” pensioners. Turns out though, most of these pieces have been written by public affairs firms “operating in the shadows” according to Bloomberg.

 

 

The use of the tactic of creating fake groups, also known as astro-turfing groups, to counter the campaigns of real grassroots groups fighting to save our planet is growing as fossil fuel companies including pipeline builders find their projects repeatedly delayed or cancelled. The desperation is revealing and is a clear validation that our campaigns have traction and are affecting change.

As further proof of the success of the global divestment movement and in the midst of COP23, the United Nations Secretary General said that investing in fossil fuel projects mean an “unsustainable future”, one that we must avoid at all costs. António Guterres called for “more ambition, more leadership and more partnerships to tackle climate change.”

The world should adopt a simple rule: If big infrastructure projects aren’t green, they shouldn’t be given the green light. Otherwise we will be locked into bad choices for decades to come. Investing in climate-friendly development is where the smart money is needed” – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

His words seemingly foreshadowed an announcement, described as “heard around the world”, by the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, that is is proposing to divest from oil and gas companies. The fund, valued at more than $1 trillion and the largest fund in the world, currently invests more than $35 billion in oil and gas companies like Exxon, Chevron, Shell and Total.

“Our perspective here is to spread the risks for the state’s wealth,” Egil Matsen, the deputy central bank governor overseeing the fund, said in an interview in Oslo. “We can do that better by not adding oil-price risk.”

According to Bloomberg, “the fund, which controls about 1.5 percent of global stocks, said it doesn’t expect returns or market risk to be affected “appreciably” by its proposal, emphasizing that cutting exposure to the energy industry would allow it to crank up investments in other sectors”. After the announcement stocks of large oil and gas companies plunged.

Bloomberg: Oil and Gas stocks drop after Norway signals divestment

One could easily argue that if this fund, built on oil and gas royalties, can in a financially responsible fashion, divest from fossil fuels then any pension fund or university endowment could do the same. And that would include iconic pension funds like New York City’s valued at $160 billion.

Meanwhile the very mainstream and financially conservative S&P Global showed that fossil free investments outperformed regular indexed investments over the past 5 years. Further proof that divestment from fossil fuels is not only the morally correct thing to do, it is a financially prudent action as well.

S&P Dow Jones – Fossil Free indices outperform

Join us as we take action the stop all fossil fuel projects and move to 100% renewable energy.

 

Categories: International News

Keystone XL: Historic Moment to Resist

November 20, 2017 - 3:18pm

State authorities in Nebraska just issued a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline – but along a different path than the original route TransCanada wanted. We’re still determining exactly what this re-route means, but we know one thing for sure: this pipeline will not be built.

Trump has tried everything to get this dirty tar sands pipeline built – but this announcement, though complicated, appears to be a setback that creates more hurdles TransCanada will have to jump through – so many that it might be too difficult for the company to move forward.

If they do move forward, they’ll be met with enormous resistance led by Indigenous peoples on the route of the pipeline – and we’re asking you to commit to standing with them. We’re answering the call of our Indigenous allies along the route to continue to oppose this project, and we need you engaged.

Join the Promise to Protect and commit to traveling to the pipeline route to engage in peaceful creative resistance when called upon by frontline leaders.

Together with Indigenous leaders, ranchers, and farmers, we’ll make a series of nonviolent but resolute stands along the proposed pipeline route in opposition to a project that endangers our communities, land, water and climate.

TransCanada said they’ll decide by December whether or not to move forward, and if we can show enough resistance with thousands of people ready to stand up – we’ll perhaps influence this decision.1

Add your name and Promise to Protect the people and water under threat in the path of Keystone XL.

All of us remember the inspiring beauty and power of the Standing Rock encampment a year ago. But we also remember the violent crackdown from authorities and the pipeline company in response. That’s why we will:

  1. Ask everyone to sign up in advance
  2. Require that everyone participate in a training beforehand
  3. Announce that this will be peaceful and nonviolent, at least on our end
  4. Respect the leadership of Indigenous peoples, farmers, and ranchers on the route

Once you sign up, we’ll be working with our Indigenous and frontline partners on the ground to determine the most strategic plan and timeline. We’ll keep you updated about dates and trainings once we know if and when TransCanada moves forward. In the meantime, our partners in Nebraska will use every legal option available to stop the pipeline, and continue to build renewables directly in the route.

We don’t know if we can hold the line on KXL forever, but then again we took on this fight in the summer of 2011 confident we’d lose. We knew we had to fight anyway, and so far we’ve succeeded, keeping 800,000 barrels of earth’s dirtiest oil in the ground day after day, year after year.

This fight has always been bigger than one pipeline. The movement that’s risen since this journey began is stronger than ever – and now every proposed fossil fuel project across the country is being challenged like never before. Now, it will take everyone’s help to stop Keystone, and all the dirty energy projects that threaten our communities and climate.

So on we go–and thank you so much for being part of this big broad movement and this long and beautiful fight for the future.

Bill

TransCanada to make final decision on Keystone XL by December – Reuters

Categories: International News

2018 – The Year for Local Action

November 20, 2017 - 9:05am

There was plenty of bold climate leadership during the UN climate talks this year — and it came from those most impacted by the climate crisis and local leaders.

As Pacific Climate Warriors we stood in solidarity with German communities who are fighting the frontlines of coal extraction with creative tactics and determination. We stood alongside American youth representing the cities and states resisting Trump’s fossil fuel agenda by committing to 100% renewable energy. We lifted up the calls for climate justice and the leadership of Pacific islanders facing the brunt of climate impacts.

Watch and share our COP23 wrap-up video about what comes next

We are all leaving Germany with a renewed sense of hope and optimism for the coming year — that together we can unleash a huge groundswell of local action for a Fossil Free world globally in 2018.  

We know our calls to keep fossil fuels in the ground were heard loud and clear — by world leaders here in Bonn and by people like you all over the world who pledged to take local action.

Watch and share this video to bring others with us on this journey

Our rapidly changing climate is a massive problem that requires a huge popular movement pushing the right solutions in 2018. We need bold action from our governments but many are still failing to live up to what’s required under the Paris Agreement. Right now, building local people power to stop fossil fuel projects and accelerate the transition to renewables is our best shot at securing lasting change.

Street by street, city by city and from one community to the next – it’s up to all of us to build public support for the future we want.

We’re heading home now, but the Pacific Climate Warriors are more energised than ever to help build resilience to the coming climate impacts in our island communities and keep standing up for a Fossil Free world.  But if we’re to really be successful, we need you all with us.

Spread the word

Fenton Lutunatabua is 350 Pacific Coordinator

Categories: International News

Fossil Fuel Industry Sneakily Tries to Fight Back as Divestment Backed by People Power Grows

November 19, 2017 - 1:47pm

In a sign that fossil fuel companies, are stooping to new lows, an investigative report published in the most recent edition of Bloomberg Businessweek revealed that PR firms have set up fake anti-divestment, pensioners’ rights groups to lobby against divestment. We are already knew that oil and gas companies like Exxon have for decades lead campaigns to hinder climate action and sow confusion about the science of climate change. This most recent expose, months in the making, reveals that fossil fuel companies are scared of the success of the global divestment movement, and pulling out all the sneaky and nefarious stops to trying to erase the fossil free writing on the wall.

One such group – Protect our Pensions – has published opinion pieces in newspapers and written letters to legislators and pension trustees, supposedly from regular “Jane and Joe” pensioners. Turns out though, most of these pieces have been written by public affairs firms “operating in the shadows” according to Bloomberg.

 

 

The use of the tactic of creating fake groups, also known as astro-turfing groups, to counter the campaigns of real grassroots groups fighting to save our planet is growing as fossil fuel companies including pipeline builders find their projects repeatedly delayed or cancelled. The desperation is revealing and is a clear validation that our campaigns have traction and are affecting change.

As further proof of the success of the global divestment movement and in the midst of COP23, the United Nations Secretary General said that investing in fossil fuel projects mean an “unsustainable future”, one that we must avoid at all costs. António Guterres called for “more ambition, more leadership and more partnerships to tackle climate change.”

The world should adopt a simple rule: If big infrastructure projects aren’t green, they shouldn’t be given the green light. Otherwise we will be locked into bad choices for decades to come. Investing in climate-friendly development is where the smart money is needed” – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres

His words seemingly foreshadowed an announcement, described as “heard around the world”, by the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, that is is proposing to divest from oil and gas companies. The fund, valued at more than $1 trillion and the largest fund in the world, currently invests more than $35 billion in oil and gas companies like Exxon, Chevron, Shell and Total.

“Our perspective here is to spread the risks for the state’s wealth,” Egil Matsen, the deputy central bank governor overseeing the fund, said in an interview in Oslo. “We can do that better by not adding oil-price risk.”

According to Bloomberg, “the fund, which controls about 1.5 percent of global stocks, said it doesn’t expect returns or market risk to be affected “appreciably” by its proposal, emphasizing that cutting exposure to the energy industry would allow it to crank up investments in other sectors”. After the announcement stocks of large oil and gas companies plunged.

Bloomberg: Oil and Gas stocks drop after Norway signals divestment

One could easily argue that if this fund, built on oil and gas royalties, can in a financially responsible fashion, divest from fossil fuels then any pension fund or university endowment could do the same. And that would include iconic pension funds like New York City’s valued at $160 billion.  

Meanwhile the very mainstream and financially conservative S&P Global showed that fossil free investments outperformed regular indexed investments over the past 5 years. Further proof that divestment from fossil fuels is not only the morally correct thing to do, it is a financially prudent action as well.

S&P Dow Jones – Fossil Free indices outperform

Join us as we take action the stop all fossil fuel projects and move to 100% renewable energy.

 

 

Categories: International News

The Keystone Spill and Fight Ahead

November 17, 2017 - 10:08pm

TransCanada’s Keystone 1 pipeline leaked 210,000 gallons of oil Thursday, gushing the equivalent of ten backyard swimming pools of toxic tar sand oil onto the grassy plains of South Dakota – just miles from the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate reservation.

This spill comes just days before the Nebraska Public Service Commission will decide the fate of Donald Trump’s pet project, Keystone XL – a proposed expansion of the same pipeline system.

We’re confident Nebraska will make the right decision and reject this project, but no matter what happens on Monday, communities are ready for whatever outcome — and we won’t stop until this project is dead for good. Stay tuned for an announcement from us and next steps.

These pipelines, like all pipelines, are fundamentally and inherently dangerous. They threaten land and water and poison the climate. If Keystone XL is approved, there will undoubtedly be more disasters like this spill. And the climate crisis will hurtle even closer to the tipping point. We must keep tar sands in the ground.

While Big Oil’s leaky pipelines fail, we remain strong and resolute. A coalition of Indigenous peoples, farmers and ranchers along the Keystone XL route have held the line against this project for years. Whatever Nebraska commissioners decide on Monday, we are prepared to stop this pipeline and all fossil fuel developments that threaten people and planet.

We’ve been stopping Keystone XL and TransCanada for the better part of a decade. We will keep stopping them. Last month, TransCanada withdrew its application to build the Energy East tar sands pipeline after thousands of people (including 350.org‘s tar sands team in Canada) successfully pressured the Canadian government to apply a climate test to the project.

This fight goes beyond one project. Resistance to Keystone XL has reshaped the fate of every fossil fuel project. Now, the industry fears the “Keystone-ization” of any proposed fossil fuel project. It’s time to double down.

As the Trump administration attempts to ham-fist the Keystone XL pipeline down the throats of Indigenous peoples, ranchers, and Mother Earth, we say no more.

A better world is possible and deeply necessary right now. Let’s fight for it.

Read our statement from 350.org Executive Director May Boeve.

Tweets:

Keystone pipeline spills 210,000 gallons of oil on eve of key permitting decision https://t.co/6cbn1Z9Hvt

— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 16, 2017

Developing: More than 200,000 gallons of oil have spilled out of the Keystone pipeline in South Dakota https://t.co/zk7haIqQ0b

— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) November 16, 2017

A total of 210,000 gallons of oil leaked from the Keystone Pipeline in South Dakota, according to the pipeline’s operator, TransCanada.

The spill involved the equivalent of about 5,000 barrels of oil. https://t.co/yWHLmf7tVl pic.twitter.com/XAsvivpi1u

— CNN International (@cnni) November 17, 2017

Categories: International News

U.S. People’s Delegation at COP23

November 17, 2017 - 11:20am

The only event the Trump administration hosted at the COP23 UN climate talks during the last two weeks in Germany was a panel promoting “clean” coal, nuclear, and other fossil fuels. This is climate denial in action.

Luckily, people weren’t buying it. As fossil fuel executives took the stage to speak, hundreds of people rose up, disrupting the event by singing, and walked out. I was there, and I can tell you that being part of that beautiful and powerful moment sent shivers down my spine. But don’t just take it from me — watch this powerful video of people rising up in resistance:

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The U.S. People's Delegation at COP23

Communities in the U.S. are standing up. Despite Trump’s disastrous climate decisions, at the UN Climate Talks, the U.S. People’s Delegation spotlighted the solutions we need, showcased what climate leadership needs to look like and strongly resisted fossil fuel cronies' efforts. Watch what the People’s Delegation accomplished over the past two weeks at COP23. #USPeoplesDelegation

Posted by 350.org on Thursday, November 16, 2017

 

This powerful act of resistance was led by members of the U.S. People’s Delegation. The delegation included youth, Indigenous peoples, frontline communities, advocates, and policymakers who came to Germany to stand their ground as the true representatives of people in the U.S. Through direct actions, speak outs and discussions with elected officials, they spotlighted that true climate leadership in the U.S. comes from the people.

The organizations represented in the People’s Delegation include: SustainUS, Sunrise Movement, Indigenous Environmental Network, Global Grassroots Justice Alliance, and the Climate Justice Alliance as part of It Takes Roots, U.S Human Rights Network, Climate Generation, Our Children’s Trust, ICLEI USA, NextGen America, and 350.org.

 

Together they sent a powerful message to the world in Germany: U.S. communities aren’t waiting for this administration to get its act together — we’re demanding lasting change now. The delegation showed world leaders that people are already organizing in cities and states across the country to call for a fast, just transition to a world free of fossil fuels that’s powered by 100% renewable energy for all.

Now, as the climate talks draw to a close, the delegation members are heading home for some much-needed rest — but here in the U.S., our fight is just beginning.

Until then, watch and share the U.S. People’s Delegation’s video here to spread the word that no matter what Trump says, U.S. communities are still fighting for real climate solutions.

With resolve,

Thanu Yakupitiyage

P.S. Once you’ve shared the video, there’s one more way you can join the movement for local climate solutions: People across the U.S. are holding #FossilFree House Parties to chart out a plan for 100% renewable energy and no new fossil fuel projects in their communities. Click here to find or host a house party near you this week.

Categories: International News

After COP23: “The Ambition Race Is On”

November 17, 2017 - 10:23am

Bonn, Germany — As the UN Climate Talks wrap-up in Germany, campaigners with 350.org are looking ahead to a year that will dramatically accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy for all.

350.org Strategy and Communications Director, Jamie Henn issued the following the statement:

“There’s one word that needs to define the year ahead: ambition. 2018 will be all about accelerating the transition away from fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy for all. Movements will do our part by stopping new fossil fuel projects, ending dirty finance, and getting as many towns, cities, and regions as possible to commit to 100% renewable energy for all.

Learn more here 

Categories: International News

Norway proposes divesting its $1trillion wealth fund from oil and gas

November 17, 2017 - 7:43am

The managers of the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund – run by the Norwegian central bank – have recommended divesting $35 billion in oil stocks. If approved by the Norwegian government, this would be the first time a large equity investor has left the fossil fuel industry altogether.

This massive fund controls about 1.5% of global stocks, and a move like this would send dramatic shockwaves through the fossil fuel industry, specifically oil giants Royal Dutch Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and others. Europe has already seen a drop in oil stock prices.

“This is astonishing — as astonishing as the moment when the Rockefellers divested the world’s oldest oil fortune. This is the biggest pile of money on the planet, most of it derived from oil — but that hasn’t blinded its owners to the realities of the world we now inhabit.”

Bill McKibben, 350.org co-founder

The bank sees this move as essential to future-proofing the fund as it becomes increasingly clear that fossil fuel assets will need to be kept in the ground to avert a climate crisis. As the global community invests more resources into clean, 100% renewable energy sources, investments in fossil fuels have become an increasingly short-sighted financial (not to mention immoral) decision.

Just this week at the COP23 talks held in Bonn, Germany, UN Chief Antonio Guterres warned that investments in fossil fuels means “an unsustainable future” and that time is running out to prevent calamitous climate change caused by atmosphere-fouling emissions.

“The fact that one of the world’s biggest sovereign wealth funds of a country that has built its wealth on oil is looking at turning its back on coal, oil and gas companies is a major milestone for the divestment movement and yet another nail in the coffin of the coal, oil and gas industry. To stop climate catastrophe, fossil fuels need to stay in the ground. Investing in them is no longer financially sound, nor morally acceptable, and this proposal is a clear recognition of that.”

Nicolò Wojewoda, 350.org Europe Team Leader

To date, over 800 institutions representing more than $5.4 trillion in assets have committed to some level of divestment. If the Norwegian bank joins this worldwide movement, this incredible divestment would set a new benchmark for global progress towards a Fossil Free world.

A decision from the Norwegian government is expected next year.

Share this huge news and explore this site to get involved in pushing your own local and national institutions to commit to a Fossil Free world. 

Categories: International News

Brazil wins ‘Fossil of the Day’ at COP 23

November 16, 2017 - 10:30am

 

While Brazilian diplomats are in Bonn, Germany, defending the rapid implementation of the Paris Agreement, at home the government of Michel Temer tries to urgently approve a Provisional Measure that puts at risk its commitments. The proposal, which is on the agenda of the National Congress to be voted any time, grants tax incentives that may exceed the R$ 1 trillion (US$ 300 bi) for companies to explore oil and gas in the country. The measure was the reason Brazil won the “Fossil of the Day” this Wednesday (15) at COP 23.

The bill was edited for the purpose of stimulating the interest of companies in the blocks offered in the last pre-salt auctions. If it success, the government will be digging its own grave in the global climate scenario. According to estimates, all known pre-salt reserves can house about 80 billion barrels of oil. The burning of all this fuel can increase even more the placement of Brazil – which now occupies the seventh place – in the ranking of the biggest villains for the climate.

“The Brazilian government should be fulfilling the commitments made under the Paris Agreement, with a complete restructuring of the energy matrix, redirecting resources to renewable energy initiatives, but instead they continue to carry out fossil auctions and giving subsidies that strengthen the most polluting sector in the world: the fossil fuel industry. This measure will not only hurt public coffers, but also increase exponentially the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, which already grew by 9% last year. This irresponsibility must be denounced and the government unmasked internationally,” said Nicole Figueiredo de Oliveira, director of 350.org Brazil and Latin America.

The countries’ current targets are still not enough to contain global warming. Even the fulfillment of all the commitments does not guarantee the maintenance of the terrestrial temperature below the 2oC. Precisely for this reason, world leaders should be thinking of increasing the ambition of their national goals, not the reverse. In the global climate battle, the oil reserves are a time bomb counting the minutes to explode.

In addition to leaving a gigantic gap in the public coffers, the Provisional Measure will make the mission of reducing emissions more difficult than it already is. “Brazil must expand its investments in renewable energy and keep oil and gas reserves on the ground. Only this radical change will bring the climate security that the world needs. It is not only matter of protecting the interests of the country, but of ensuring the future of populations, the environment and the climate of the entire planet. Continuing to follow the path that prioritizes the fossils, together with all other environmental setbacks in force, should yield to the Brazilian government the title of ‘fossil of the last years’ and not just today,” said Nicole Oliveira.

Delivered on a daily basis by the Climate Action Network (CAN) at the COP, the “award” denounces those countries that have contributed least to the progress of the negotiations, and further distancing themselves from meeting global warming targets. Countries like United States, Japan, Australia, Germany, France and Norway have already won the Fossil of the Day at this COP.

Help the Brazilians to send a message to the government: No more subsidies for oil and gas. Not a trillion, #Not1Cent!

SIGN THE PETITION

Categories: International News

Merkel at COP23 in Bonn – Our Statement

November 15, 2017 - 10:10am

Just now Angela Merkel spoke at the World Climate Summit COP23 in Bonn. She said that we still have to find out what role lignite should play in the German energy market. We have a very clear opinion. Coal, whether brown or hard coal, must remain in the ground and the phase-out has to start immediately.

Merkel also said that the energy transition in Germany is already so successful that we no longer need subsidies for renewable energies. What a farce. The expansion of renewable energies is increasingly stalling and, at the same time, huge subsidies continue to flow into coal and other fossil fuels.

Olivia Langhoff, 350.org Program Director comments:

“Angela Merkel is still failing to actually honour the Paris Agreement and take the required action to keep global warming below 1.5°C, which is crucial for the survival of Pacific Islands and the safety of people around the world. Germany needs to start shutting down its outdated and destructive coal mines and power plants now. The anti-coal movement and people around the world are taking the lead where the German government has failed. Together we will make sure we stop the destruction of our climate and that we keep fossil fuels in the ground and create an economy powered by renewable energy that puts people and planet before the profits of polluters.”

Categories: International News

deCOALonize.africa Gains Momentum

November 15, 2017 - 2:33am

The fight for a coal-free Africa is breaking into the public spotlight.

Momentum is building to deCOALonize.africa with three uplifting victories to share already:

Standard Bank sets the record straight on financing Lamu

South Africa’s Standard Bank has stated they will not fund the proposed Lamu coal-fired power plant in Kenya. This comes despite reports that they were a major project funder, as included in the bank’s annual report of 2015.

This is good news for the deCOALonize Kenya campaign and the Lamu people, who have been at the forefront of the contentious court battle against the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA). If it were built and operated, there is little doubt that the Lamu coal plant would not only seriously affect the well-being of local communities, it would also become Kenya’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide.

This is particularly excellent news! The fact that a major African bank is unwilling to fund this deadly plant sends a strong anti-coal message amidst financiers increasing unease of funding coal globally. Join us in celebrating this win by sharing this news on your social media.

Ivory Coast enters the fight to deCOALonise Africa

West African activists mobilised and called for the halt of fossil fuel projects. In a press conference held on October 23, as part of deCOALonise.africa campaign, leaders of Young Volunteers for Environment and the local 350 group, advocated for the cancellation of the proposed coal project in the coastal town of San Pedro. You can read a blog post about it here.

If you are connected to an anti-coal campaign, send them this link here to ask them to join the decoalonise.africa platform.

Uganda: Art-meets-Music-meets-Climate-Activism event.

Finally, we’ve seen great social media coverage of an Art Disco event that took place in Kampala, Uganda. The event was a creative open space that allowed participants an opportunity to speak out against the power of coal corporations while calling for a prioritization of a 100% renewable energy solutions in Uganda and across the continent.

This has been an incredible start for the #deCOALonise campaign, and now we need to keep up the momentum.

Here are 5 things you can do to spread the word about the #deCOALonise campaign platform.

With your voice — and the voices of frontline communities who are fighting coal in Africa — we will be heard!

Categories: International News