Climate change & climate action

1 June 2024News

GP suspended for five months over climate action

Most climate direct action recently seems to have been carried out by Just Stop Oil (JSO), and most of the court cases also involve them, including three acquittals and a professional suspension. Here is some of what’s been happening.

On 15 May, three JSO activists were convicted under the Section 7 of the new Public Order Act 2023, which bans interference with ‘key national infrastructure’, including roads.

Daniel Hall, Phoebe Plummer and Chiara Sarti had marched along a…

1 April 2024Review

Pluto Press, 2023; 272pp; £20

Why is it legal to advertise products that are driving us and the planet to destruction? Why should advertisers be able to tempt us to buy an SUV [an oversized car – ed] as if it were no more damaging to the environment than a bicycle? And what can we do about it?

All these questions and more are tackled in Badvertising

We are surrounded by advertising: online, on TV, in the street, on public transport, and – more insidiously – through sponsorship, whether it’s BP…

1 February 2024Feature

From Waging Nonviolence: how European climate movements are copying a major Dutch civil disobedience victory

Success in climate activism can take a lot of forms, and relatively few of them are glamorous. The change we work for might be too abstract to measure, or our role in it might be unclear. Perhaps, in difficult conditions, success might mean no more than keeping your head above the water.

Still, there are times when success can actually be joyful, epic and infectious, as in the case of the recent blockades on the Dutch capital’s A12 highway.

The shortest version of this story is…

1 February 2024News in Brief

On 5 December, Culture Unstained put a formal 34-page complaint to the board of trustees of London’s Science Museum. The climate action group called for director Ian Blatchford to be investigated for his role in pushing through a sponsorship deal in 2021 with a major coal-producing conglomerate Adani.

‘Adani Green Energy’ is sponsoring a climate gallery.

Culture Unstained also called for the museum to cut ties with Adani, because the process that led to the sponsorship deal ‘…

1 December 2023News in Brief

On 17 November, Global Justice Now handed in a 120,000-strong petition to Number 10 Downing Street, demanding the UK leave the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT).

The treaty allows foreign fossil fuel companies to sue governments for taking climate action – using corporate courts outside their national legal systems. Firms can get massive payoffs or pressure governments to back down.

A Jersey-based oil-refining company is suing the EU, Germany and Denmark under the ECT for at least €…

1 December 2023News in Brief

The government’s climate strategy for aviation will not work, but it is possible for the UK to stay on track for carbon reductions. That’s the conclusion of experts at Chatham House, the highly respected thinktank, who were commissioned to study the topic by the very wonderful climate action group Possible.

According to the report, if no one took more than one return flight a year, that would bring the aviation sector onto a trajectory that’s safe for the climate. That would mean…

1 December 2023News

Week of protest targets fossil fuel conference

On 17 October, Shell CEO Wael Sawan was unable to get into a major oil and gas conference in London because activists were blockading the luxury hotel hosting the event. Sawan was forced to deliver his keynote speech online instead. We shut the Oil & Money summit down!

This was the result of Fossil Free London’s biggest mobilisation to date: ‘Oily Money Out.’ As the biggest names in the fossil fuel industry, banking and politics gathered for the exclusive Oil & Money summit (…

1 December 2023News

A rapid survey of the last two months of UK climate activism

Here are some of the climate actions that have taken place in the UK since our last issue. The major event was the acquittal, on 16 November, of the HSBC Nine: XR women prosecuted for £500,000 damage done to windows at the headquarters of HSBC bank in London in 2021.

The other major event has been the continuing Just Stop Oil (JSO) slow walk campaign in London, mostly marching from Trafalgar Square to Whitehall.

JSO claim there have been 612 arrests between 30 October and 22…

1 December 2023News in Brief

In mid-November, around 30 folk from a range of direct action/civil resistance groups came together in Yorkshire to begin developing deeper collaboration for more effective and coordinated strategy for climate justice direct action.

Groups included Animal Rising, Christian Climate Action, Defend Our Juries, Earth First!, Fossil Free London, Greenham Women Everywhere, HS2 Rebellion, Just Stop Oil, Palestine Action, Quaker Roots, Reclaim the Power, Trident Ploughshares, XR Cymru, XR…

1 October 2023News

Direct action dips in face of legal action

Nonviolent direct action by climate activists has almost ground to a halt recently, in the face of large numbers of such activists being put on trial and being given heavy sentences.

Insulate Britain ended its campaign of road obstructions in 2022.

Just Stop Oil’s only actions since June have involved slow marches in Exeter and Leeds, holding up traffic in its campaign to get the UK to stop giving licences for new oil and gas fields.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) suspended…

1 August 2023Feature

Protesting the International Maritime Organisation's climate conference

On 26 June, Ocean Rebellion brought a puppet oil tanker, belching a vile fog of heavy fuel oil (HFO) smoke, to the headquarters of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on Lambeth Road in London. Inside, where the photo above was taken, delegates were sipping drinks on the first day of a conference to revise the IMO’s climate strategy.

Ocean Rebellion were protesting against the fact that the IMO is not aiming to halve shipping greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, but only by…

1 August 2023Review

Allen Lane, 2022; 260pp; £20

Due to the impacts of global warming, ‘human movement on a scale never before seen will dominate this century and remake our world.’

This is the central proposition of this important popular science book. Gaia Vince, an honorary senior research fellow at University College London, believes we are on course for a 3 – 4 °C of temperature rise by 2100, with tens of millions of people forced to leave their homes by mid-century.

Vince points to some African cities: by 2030, Dar es…

1 August 2023News

Legal challenges, trials and 2,350 arrests

Three successes for climate activists occurred in June. On 16 June, the group Feedback was granted the right to a judicial review.

They had challenged the UK national food strategy for not have a plan to cut meat and dairy consumption, arguing that the strategy failed to take into account ministers’ duties to cut carbon emissions as set out in the Climate Change Act 2008.

The high court had refused Feedback a judicial review; the court of appeal has now decided they can…

1 August 2023News in Brief

One in 10 flights leaving UK airports are now private jet flights, which can be up to 30 times more polluting than standard flights – but someone on a standard flight could be paying more tax than someone on a private jet.

One in five private jet flights don’t need to pay ‘air passenger duty’ at all, and most of the rest only pay the standard rate.

Find out more in Jetting away with it: How private jets pollute the most and pay the least, a new report from Possible,…

1 June 2023News

Just Stop Oil continue daily 'slow marches' as pair jailed for multiple years

The longest sentences yet imposed on climate activists were handed down on 21 April, at Southend crown court, when a jury found two Just Stop Oil activists guilty of causing a public nuisance. Judge Shane Collery KC sentenced Morgan Trowland, 40, to three years in prison and Marcus Decker, 36, to two years seven months, to ‘deter’ copycat actions.

The two were arrested last October after they had climbed 200 feet up onto the QEII Bridge over the Dartford Crossing in East London,…