Climate change action groups

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Climate change action groups

Hoda Baraka writes about the climate action movements working to end fossil fuel extraction.


People protest against President Donald Trump's executive order fast-tracking the Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 10, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The planet is only 1°C warmer than pre-industrial times, but we are already seeing serious climate changes all over the world.

If we want to stop more serious changes, we must stay under a 1.5°C increase in global temperatures. This is what the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says. Staying below the 1.5°C increase will need an immediate stop to the use of fossil fuels. We need to bring greenhouse gas emissions down to zero by 2050 and cut them in half by 2030.

We cannot do this and at the same time clear forests to expand mines (Germany), do fracking in the countryside (Britain), or sell rights for oil reserves (Brazil), or increase coal projects in the Global South. The change from fossil fuels will need to be faster than ever before, but it is technically possible, good economically, and it’s not only the right thing to do, it’s the only thing we can do.

The Pacific front

This plan is not possible with coal mines planned by the big fossil fuel company Adani in Eastern Australia. The Carmichael mine will be next to the Great Barrier Reef, through which they will ship the coal.

The coal is part of the Galilee Basin, one of the world’s largest coal reserves, where there are plans for eight more new mines. The coal from these mines would more than double Australia’s coal production and burn five per cent of the world’s carbon budget. Australia and the Pacific Islands have seen the destructive possibilities of climate change. There is a record drought and big wildfires on parts of the east coast. Storms and rising sea levels have forced some Pacific Islands states to plan to move all of their people in twenty to thirty years.

The Australian government has supported the Adani mine, but people have been fighting against it through the #StopAdani protest. The Pacific Climate Warriors is a group of Pacific Islanders who are protesting about climate change. They are soon going to knock on doors to tell people about the problems of the Adani coal mine for lives, jobs, and ecosystems in the Pacific. Activists are protesting against giving social licenses to the fossil fuel industry.

Free movement for...oil?

Halfway across the world, in San Foca, southern Italy, a local community is fighting against the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), and trying to protect their olive groves, which are hundreds of years old.

There is police violence and heavy fines, but local people are organizing peacefully and powerfully to stop the pipeline. The pipeline would bring Azerbaijan’s gas to Europe, carrying billions of cubic metres every year from 2020. European governments think it is important but the plan will cost €45bn. It would be the most expensive fossil fuel project in the continent. With the possible methane gas, the climate impacts of the gas will be at least as bad as coal.

Scientists say that if average temperature rises are above 1.5C, large parts of Southern Europe and Northern Africa will be deserts with more frequent deadly heat waves and serious effects on food production. Olive groves and grapes might go in a few generations.


But a good example of how things can be different comes from some of the communities most at risk. It’s the example of those who ae against the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States. The pipeline would connect Canada with Gulf Coast refineries, carrying around 800,000 barrels per day of oil across the United States. President Obama said no to the permit for this plan in 2015 because of the effect on the climate. One of Trump’s first moves in office was to change this decision.

And so indigenous communities, landowners, farmers, and supporting organizations, started Solar XL - renewable energy resistance that’s building solar panels in the route of the planned Keystone XL pipeline and putting clean energy solutions in the path of the problem.

These are only some of the stories of resistance to the fossil fuel madness, in the People’s Dossier on 1.5°C, a new report by the protest organization 350. As the IPCC shows, activists protesting against fossil fuels were right and it’s now clear that we need to do three important things:

We must stop all new fossil fuel projects.

It’s clear that the fossil fuel industry is trying to make enough money from their business model before they are forced to change.

No more money can go to dirty energy companies.

Those who have control of the money, often our money, need to divest from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy, energy storage, and low-carbon projects in transport, building, and agriculture.

We must change quickly to 100% locally distributed, renewable energy with off-the-grid solar and wind power and community energy production.

This will take away power from big energy companies and give the power back to the people, and make sure we stop making our planet dirty with fossil fuels.

The IPCC says, we have less than 12 years of emissions before we hit 1.5°C. If we start slowing down emissions now, we might have a few more years. But this means no new fossil fuel projects, anywhere, ever again.

Global support for climate action, led by local communities can make the change to a fossil free world.

It’s true, we don’t have much time left, but we were right before, and now it’s the time to make our voices, the voices of the people, heard by those who wouldn’t listen to make changes.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: (This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed)