Climate Change

1 June 2022News

Oil terminals blockaded as XR promotes door-knocking project

There were a huge number of climate actions in April and May, organised by Extinction Rebellion (XR) and its spin-off, the Just Stop Oil (JSO) coalition.

JSO reported over 965 arrests by 15 April as a result of two weeks of daily blockades of oil terminals and petrol stations all over the country, including in Birmingham, Essex, London and Southampton.

By 4 May, the total had grown to over 1,200 arrests, according to the group.

JSO demands that the government calls a…

1 June 2022Review

Verso, 2021; 256pp; £16.99

‘The sky is a cornucopia – heaven, not so far from earth. We have to guard that cornucopia against industries and interests that would make it scarce.’

Thus writes anthropologist David McDermott Hughes, on the final page of this enthralling book. It’s simultaneously a call for a new ‘socialism of the wind’ and an in-depth exploration of the social, political and cultural challenges facing the renewable energy revolution.

Two ideas underlie this book.

Firstly, we urgently…

16 May 2022News in Brief

On 1 March, it was confirmed that ClientEarth, Friends of the Earth and Good Law Project can take the UK government to court over its inadequate net zero strategy.

The government’s own baseline forecasts show that the UK’s projected emissions in 2037 will be more than double the levels the government is legally required to achieve under the 2008 Climate Change Act in order to meet its legally-binding carbon budget.

www.clientearth.org

1 April 2022News

Climate activists have recorded two major successes in their campaign to stop oil company sponsorship of cultural institutions.

Scottish Ballet ended its partnership with BP (formerly ‘British Petroleum’) on 31 January. The ballet company said its partnership deal no longer ‘aligns with the company’s green action plan – to be carbon neutral by 2030’.

Three weeks later, on 22 February, the National Portrait Gallery in London announced that it had also ended its BP sponsorship…

1 April 2022News

Global action for climate draws 330,000

Over 330,000 young people took part in the 25 March global school strike for the climate, according to Fridays for Future (FFF), the youth-led global climate action group founded by Greta Thunberg. The main slogan was ‘people not profit’; FFF also called for climate reparations. 1,152 events were organised in 639 cities in 92 countries, higher numbers all round than the strike last November. More info: fridaysforfuture.org

Image…

1 April 2022News

Over 260 charges brought after five jailed

After five Insulate Britain (IB) activists were jailed in February, police forces in three counties brought criminal charges against IB road blockaders in March.

Kent police charged 74 people, all but one for causing a public nuisance, many also for obstruction of the highway. Two were charged with criminal damage to a police car.

The Met in London laid 63 ‘public nuisance’ charges against 56 activists.

Surrey police brought 131 charges. They charged 54 people with…

1 April 2022News in Brief

On 23 March, Animal Rebellion used a lorry to blockade the road leading to the Kedassia (kosher) abbatoir in Hackney, East London.

This was the beginning of ‘Gardens Not Slaughterhouses’, a campaign to shut down what the group says is London’s last remaining slaughterhouse – and turn the site into a community garden.

Two days later, on the day of the global climate strike, students from University College London, King’s College London, and London Metropolitan University dropped…

1 April 2022News in Brief

On 1 March, it was confirmed that ClientEarth, Friends of the Earth and Good Law Project can take the UK government to court over its inadequate net zero strategy.

The government’s own baseline forecasts show that the UK’s projected emissions in 2037 will be more than double the levels the government is legally required to achieve under the 2008 Climate Change Act in order to meet its legally-binding carbon budget. 

www.clientearth.org…

1 April 2022News in Brief

If we’re to have a chance of keeping global heating at 1.5 ºC, and if we want to avoid putting the burden of the climate transition on poorer (fossil-fuel producer) nations, then rich countries must completely stop producing oil and gas by 2034.

That was the stark message of the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in a major report released on 22 March.

The report notes that some poorer countries, like South Sudan or Gabon, are so reliant on fossil fuel revenues…

1 April 2022Feature

There are big question marks over Roger Hallam’s latest strategy – and over his climate science claims

Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Insulate Britain co-founder Roger Hallam has been touring the UK recently, recruiting for his latest nonviolent direct action project: Just Stop Oil. Among other things, he’s been telling audiences that we’re looking at experiencing a 7 ºC temperature rise by 2042 (possibly sooner) – and that solving the climate crisis ‘is not complicated’. 

These claims deserve examination. Hallam expressed them, for example, in a talk in Hastings on 10 January. (I’m…

1 April 2022Review

Pluto Press, 2021; 146 pp; £9.99

Though he doesn’t mention it in this book, I imagine activist Chris Saltmarsh is a big fan of the Chico Mendes quote that often appears on Twitter: ‘Environmentalism Without Class Struggle is Just Gardening.’

For Saltmarsh, ‘the root cause of climate change is our system of organising the economy and our relationship to nature: capitalism.’ With the ruling class profiting most from the crisis, he notes the resistance of capital is ‘perhaps the biggest barrier to climate justice.’…

1 February 2022Feature

Can community organising force the government to insulate the UK’s leaky homes?

All of the UK’s housing stock ‘zero carbon’ by 2050. Everyone living in well-insulated homes heated by clean, green energy – whether they rent a flat or own a castle. A ‘Great Homes Upgrade’.

That’s the goal of an ambitious community-organising initiative recently launched by the New Economics Foundation (NEF).

In the near term, this means getting seven million homes – including all social housing – brought up to a good standard by 2025, and a further 12 million homes brought…

1 February 2022Feature

Jonathan Baxter shares his reflections from a long walk to COP26

For Peace News, I should say something constructive, something that encourages ongoing political engagement. But there was something about the Pilgrimage for COP26 that encouraged a different sort of engagement; less constructive in a clear-cut way.

After all, the pilgrimage arrived in Glasgow just before COP26 began and, while some of us stayed on to engage with COP26, most of us went home.

First the facts. We walked from Dunbar to Glasgow as a lead-in to the…

1 February 2022News

Freed IB campaigner promises 'something new' in 2022

Six climate activists from Insulate Britain (IB) were freed from prison on 14 January after serving their sentences (with time off for good behaviour). The only remaining prisoner from that group was Ben Taylor (27), who had one more month to go.

Two IB prisoners had been released earlier, on New Year’s Eve: Louis McKechnie (21) and Ana Heytawin (58).

Louis McKechnie told the Big Issue after his release that the group will be employing different tactics this year: ‘I’m not sure…

1 February 2022Review

Verso, 2021; 208pp; £9.99

If you haven’t been hiding under a rock for the last three years, you’ll probably have heard of ‘net zero’. This is the idea that, in order to address the climate crisis, we must rapidly bring about a balance between human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere and human-caused removals of the same.

The best versions of net zero could be part of the solution and a instrument for climate justice.

However, as Holly Jean Buck argues in this timely work, the…