website utilities

People before Profit

Follow alonovo.com on:

350.org

Subscribe to 350.org feed 350.org
We're mobilizing a global movement to stop dangerous climate change. Join us at 350.org, and take action at an event near you on the International Day of Climate Action, 24 October, 2009.
Updated: 19 min 44 sec ago

Fossil Free Europe – Country Updates

Fri, 2014-07-11 19:36

European Divestment Training, May 2014Well folks, it’s been 4 months since we highlighted 9 European divestment campaigns to look out for.  So much has happened since then that we thought it was time for an update on the status of the Fossil Free campaign across Europe.

Perhaps most important is the work that’s been going on behind the scenes to build the power and campaigning skills of the people who make up Europe’s rapidly-growing divestment movement.  In May, we brought together 30 key organisers from Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Poland, Netherlands, Germany and the UK in rural Germany for a week-long training and strategy session.  It’s these people who have made the successes below a reality.

Here’s a rundown of just a few highlights from each country:

SWEDEN

hemskt mkt moaThe campaign has really taken off at Swedish universities including Lund, Stockholm, Uppsala, Jönköping and Gothenburg, with creative actions,  petition gathering and public debates. After the financial officer of Gothenburg University threw down a challenge to students, saying “There’s a difference between if 10 or a 1000 people think [divestment] is an important issue”, the students set out to show just how much support they had.  Within a fortnight they quickly delivered his demand for a 1000 supporters.

Meanwhile, Swedish citizens have also been demanding that the cities of Malmö, Lund and Stockholm divest from fossil fuels, whilst a high profile campaign to divest Sweden’s national insurance pension fund is gathering momentum.   To highlight their demands at a recent drinks reception held at the annual Almedalen political festival, guests were treated to a series of oily cocktails and coal nibbles by divestment activists.  They certainly put divestment on the agenda for whole Almedalen festival,  using panel debates, media coverage and a fantastic endorsement of divestment from Sweden’s first female Archbishop, Antje Jackelén.

What’s coming up next?  Expect a national gathering in August to get training in divestment campaigning, lots of summer activity around the AP pension funds (including some more carbon bubble volleyball), and some workshops in Malmö, Gothenburg and Stockholm to help strengthen the city divestment campaigns there.   Contact Olivia for more details.

 

UNITED KINGDOM

Students blockage office of Universities UK demanding end to £5.2bn investments in fossil fuels

Students blockade office of Universities UK demanding divestment, July 2014

Danni, our new UK Divestment Organiser, joined the team and quickly got to work supporting our partners running the university, faith and health strands of the Fossil Free UK campaign.

There have been big successes in each strand, starting when Brighthelm became the UK’s first church to divest in May.  Then the faith campaign scored perhaps the biggest global win to date when the World Council of Churches announced it would divest.  It represents over half a billion Christians in 345 church denominations worldwide.   Faith partners Operation Noah are hopeful that the Church of England and Methodists won’t be far behind.

Student network People & Planet continues to ramp up the pressure on UK universities to divest, with campaigns now active on over 50 campuses. The battle is on to see who will be the first to clear bureaucratic hurdles and divest, with Glasgow University looking the mostly likely.  People & Planet recently held a summer training camp to prepare student activists for escalating their campaigns in the Autumn.  Meanwhile, Oxford students and over 100 senior academics made huge progress in forcing the university – which has the largest endowment in the country – to officially consult all staff and students on whether it should divest.

Last but not least, new health strand partners Medact and Healthy Planet came on board and quickly racked up a massive win for the global divestment movement when the British Medical Association voted to shift its investments from fossil fuels into renewable alternatives.

What’s coming up? There’s a busy summer and autumn ahead with a new campaign targeting the Greater London Authority gearing up to launch.  Reclaim the Power – an anti-fracking climate action camp in August – looks set to hit the headlines and lead to some creative action, whilst all strands of the campaign gear up for a UK-wide joint weekend of action on 19-21st September.

GERMANY

German Munster University coal waiter actionThere are now 7 divestment campaigns in Germany with 5 directed at universities and 2 targeting the pension funds of Munster and Konstanz.  Fossil fuel divestment has quickly gained profile within the German climate movement, with more and more people from the grassroots and NGO approaching Tine from Fossil Free Deutschland to work together on divestment campaigns.

In recent months, the focus has been placed heavily on building up the capacity of local Fossil Free groups and connecting them together through a series of trainings and workshops. Results are already starting to show with the group at Munster University recently staging a creative intervention to escalate their demands after they received a no from the management.  Not only did they make a great impact during an official university event, but they also learned media skills as they were interviewed for a feature in a national publication.

What’s coming up? Municipal campaigns offer great potential for challenging the coal, oil and gas investments of the German Savings Bank and its climate-funding investment arm, Dekabank. We’re also considering teaming up with new partners to launch a faith-focussed campaign so watch this space and contact Tine to get involved.

 

NETHERLANDS

Fossil Free activists play carbon volleybubble outside coal power plant

Fossil Free activists play carbon volleybubble outside coal power plant

Last but definitely not least, the Dutch team have been busy relaunching their campaign as FossielvrijNL to great success – complete with new Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Thanks to student pressure and growing support from faculty, the Erasmus University Rotterdam became the first to formally respond to divestment demands in the Netherlands by commissioning research into their ties with the fossil fuel industry.

As well as pushing divestment up the agenda of its universities, there is a strong national Dutch team working together to get the country’s largest pension fund, ABP, to divest. Already, campaigners have persuaded a third of the funds’ accountability body members to call on the board to divest its large fossil fuel holdings.

In such a small country, campaigners have been able to meet up regularly for trainings and workshops to network and build their skills.  And there’s been lots of fun and games too.  FossilvrijNL organised a giant game of carbon bubble volleyball outside a coal power plant for the Great Climate Games 2014. They also teamed up with UK activists to hold a joint carbon bubble stunt during the Royal Dutch Shell AGM.

What’s coming up?  Expect a national training event  in early September from country coordinator Liset and her team.  Progress towards a Fossil Free ABP is also anticipated with an upcoming meeting with the Board and an open letter launching soon to collect widespread national support.

It’s been a fantastic few months for the Fossil Free movement in Europe.  Not only are we better connected to each other, better resourced and more powerful as we go into the Autumn, but we’re already winning some of the highest profile victories of the global divestment movement.    Awareness of the carbon bubble has never been higher, thanks to some beautiful, creative actions and a steady flow of media coverage.  This is key to our strategy of stigmatising the fossil fuel industry in Europe.

As the Ban Ki-Moon climate change summit approaches this September in New York, look out for some even bigger victories and mobilisations across Europe and please… Get involved.

The post Fossil Free Europe – Country Updates appeared first on Fossil Free.

Introducing Our New U.S. Digital Campaigner: How Divesting from Fossil Fuels Started with a Field of Bees

Fri, 2014-07-11 19:00

Since starting at 350.org as the new US Digital Divestment Campaigner, I keep thinking of one summer afternoon storm two years ago in Eastern Turkey.

The sky was a sick orange as ominous dust clouds marched across the Anatolian plateaus. Old nomadic beekeepers, with their faces wrinkled from years of squinting at the horizon sighed as they ducked into their white canvass tents, muttering in Turkish “well, there goes our season.”

Within minutes, the clouds were upon us, and brown hail the size of golf balls pummeled the tent. Accompanying the ice orbs, thick dark sludge slid from the sky and landed in deafening plops.

Mud rain fell for the next few hours, covering all of the plants in thick film, wiping out all of the blossoms, and stunting an otherwise promising 2012 honey season. This June mud rain was devastating, but it wasn’t the only inclement weather we would see that summer high on the fragile grasslands of Northeastern Turkey, bordering Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia. There would be blizzards in the middle of July and August too that would wipe out whatever flowers remained.

 Cat Jaffee)

Storm clouds loom over nomadic beekeeper hives in Eastern Turkey (Photo: Cat Jaffee).

And that was it. Thousands of beekeepers that had traveled hundreds of miles to be here on the plateaus would pack up hives of hungry bees early and turn around to venture into the lowlands, pumping their bees with sugar and medication to keep them alive for yet another season somewhere else.

Cellphone waves! Pesticides! Monocrops! Varroa Mites! There are countless war cries around what’s wiping out the bees. But out in Eastern Turkey there are few telephone lines and limited organized agriculture. Here, many people keep bees the same way since the beginning of recorded time; yet only recently are bees visibly struggling. And the main culprit that few even consider is climate change.

Since I was 22, I had been traveling to this part of the world to start a community led honey tasting trekking company called Balyolu: The Honey Road. Eventually, I picked up everything and made Eastern Turkey my home, running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the idea, winning business competitions, rallying grant funding, and even convincing National Geographic to support me as a Young Explorer, only to find myself in the middle of some of the worst honey seasons in world history. Many factors contributed to why no one could produce honey, but variable weather unlike anything anyone has ever seen was reason number one.

 Cat Jaffee).

A beekeeper in Eastern Turkey opens his hive to reveal a tomb of dead bees (Photo: Cat Jaffee).

During the five years that I spent building and eventually running my company, the weather became more and more unpredictable, the honey less and less mellifluous, and the beekeepers increasingly disheartened. As my company struggled, and environmental and political protests rippled across the country in 2013, it became time to leave Turkey and return to Colorado where fires, floods, and fracking circled my home.

Looking down at my resume, trying to figure out what to do next, I saw in all of my experiences something that each of us have: a climate context, a climate CV. These are the ways in which climate change has followed all of us, forcing us in and out of jobs and homes, influencing the way we live, what we eat, and why we believe what we believe. Avalanches, draughts, typhoons, blizzards, floods, and mud rain were the main headings of mine, and it felt like time to start doing something about it.

So I linked up with 350.org to help run some of our story-telling platforms, focusing on fossil free and divestment. My hope is to impact the way we US citizens view our own global presence and start applying pressure to our political and economic systems to take a good long look at our collective climate CV. I know there is no possible scenario in which we can use fossil fuels forever, let alone beyond the next 50 years, so why wait and watch as mud rain suffocates flowers and stifles bees; or as floods drown our homes and then fires light their wreckage ablaze? Divestment has legs, because it initiates the social stigmatization that we need to move forward. Divestment is not asking people to stop driving cars or flying planes, nor does it ignore that all of us still do still rely on fossil fuels in many ways. What divestment does is it asks us to take the first step in recognizing our own climate context. Divestment helps our communities become aware, respond, and transition to new ways of living by applying the age-old tactic of simple social pressure.

As part of my role now, I wake up and read hundreds of articles about climate change in the US, a job that sounds like it should be depressing; except that it’s not. I see sparks of hope across all of our news feed, people of all faiths joining together to divest, universities taking a stand, communities and governments rallying together to build a world that we can all continue to live in.

I think enough of us have looked up and seen a mud-filled dark orange sky, a sign from weather and nature that something isn’t right. And enough of us have looked down at our climate CVs and decided that it’s time that we do something about it all.

Join me on our Fossil Free social media channels FBTwitterInstagram, and let’s build our movement together.

 Rebecca Shannon Spitzer).

Cat Jaffee and local women beekeepers work with Caucasian honey bees (Photo: Rebecca Shannon Spicer).

 

How Campaigning to Divest From Fossil Fuels Started with a Field of Hungry Bees

Fri, 2014-07-11 18:35

Since starting at 350.org as the new US Digital Divestment Campaigner, I keep thinking of one summer afternoon storm two years ago in Eastern Turkey.

The sky was a sick orange as ominous dust clouds marched across the Anatolian plateaus. Old nomadic beekeepers, with their faces wrinkled from years of squinting at the horizon sighed as they ducked into their white canvass tents, muttering in Turkish “well, there goes our season.”

Within minutes, the clouds were upon us, and brown hail the size of golf balls pummeled the tent. Accompanying the ice orbs, thick dark sludge slid from the sky and landed in deafening plops.

Mud rain fell for the next few hours, covering all of the plants in thick film, wiping out all of the blossoms, and stunting an otherwise promising 2012 honey season. This June mud rain was devastating, but it wasn’t the only inclement weather we would see that summer high on the fragile grasslands of Northeastern Turkey, bordering Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia. There would be blizzards in the middle of July and August too that would wipe out whatever flowers remained.

 Cat Jaffee)

Storm clouds loom over nomadic beekeeper hives in Eastern Turkey (Photo: Cat Jaffee).

And that was it. Thousands of beekeepers that had traveled hundreds of miles to be here on the plateaus would pack up hives of hungry bees early and turn around to venture into the lowlands, pumping their bees with sugar and medication to keep them alive for yet another season somewhere else.

Cellphone waves! Pesticides! Monocrops! Varroa Mites! There are countless war cries around what’s wiping out the bees. But out in Eastern Turkey there are few telephone lines and limited organized agriculture. Here, many people keep bees the same way since the beginning of recorded time; yet only recently are bees visibly struggling. And the main culprit that few even consider is climate change.

Since I was 22, I had been traveling to this part of the world to start a community led honey tasting trekking company called Balyolu: The Honey Road. Eventually, I picked up everything and made Eastern Turkey my home, running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the idea, winning business competitions, rallying grant funding, and even convincing National Geographic to support me as a Young Explorer, only to find myself in the middle of some of the worst honey seasons in world history. Many factors contributed to why no one could produce honey, but variable weather unlike anything anyone has ever seen was reason number one.

 Cat Jaffee).

A beekeeper in Eastern Turkey opens his hive to reveal a tomb of dead bees (Photo: Cat Jaffee).

During the five years that I spent building and eventually running my company, the weather became more and more unpredictable, the honey less and less mellifluous, and the beekeepers increasingly disheartened. As my company struggled, and environmental and political protests rippled across the country in 2013, it became time to leave Turkey and return to Colorado where fires, floods, and fracking circled my home.

Looking down at my resume, trying to figure out what to do next, I saw in all of my experiences something that each of us have: a climate context, a climate CV. These are the ways in which climate change has followed all of us, forcing us in and out of jobs and homes, influencing the way we live, what we eat, and why we believe what we believe. Avalanches, draughts, typhoons, blizzards, floods, and mud rain were the main headings of mine, and it felt like time to start doing something about it.

So I linked up with 350.org to help run some of our story-telling platforms, focusing on fossil free and divestment. My hope is to impact the way we US citizens view our own global presence and start applying pressure to our political and economic systems to take a good long look at our collective climate CV. I know there is no possible scenario in which we can use fossil fuels forever, let alone beyond the next 50 years, so why wait and watch as mud rain suffocates flowers and stifles bees; or as floods drown our homes and then fires light their wreckage ablaze? Divestment has legs, because it initiates the social stigmatization that we need to move forward. Divestment is not asking people to stop driving cars or flying planes, nor does it ignore that all of us still rely on fossil fuels in many ways. What divestment does is it asks us to take the first step in recognizing our own climate context. Divestment helps our communities become aware, respond, and transition to new ways of living by applying the age-old tactic of simple social pressure.

As part of my role now, I wake up and read hundreds of articles about climate change in the US, a job that sounds like it should be depressing; except that it’s not. I see sparks of hope across all of our news feeds, people of all faiths joining together to divest, universities taking a stand, and communities and governments rallying together to build a world that we can all continue to live in.

I think enough of us have looked up and seen a mud-filled dark orange sky, a sign from weather and nature that something isn’t right. And enough of us have looked down at our climate CVs and decided that it’s time that we do something about it all.

Join me on our Fossil Free social media channels FB, Twitter, Instagram, and let’s build our movement together.

 Rebecca Shannon Spitzer).

Cat Jaffee and local women beekeepers work with Caucasian honey bees (Photo: Rebecca Shannon Spicer).

The post How Campaigning to Divest From Fossil Fuels Started with a Field of Hungry Bees appeared first on Fossil Free.

World Council of Churches divests from fossil fuels and encourages its members to do the same

Fri, 2014-07-11 13:16
World Council of Churches Central Committee

Image: www.oikoumene.org

The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC), a fellowship of over 300 churches, which represent some 590 million people in 150 countries, endorsed fossil fuel divestment this week.

The WCC agreed to phase out its own fossil fuel holdings and encourage its members to do the same. The WCC Central Committee is made up of dozens of influential religious leaders from around the world, meaning the decision could resonate far and wide.

350.org founder Bill McKibben said:

“The World Council of Churches reminds us that morality demands thinking as much about the future as about ourselves–and that there’s no threat to the future greater than the unchecked burning of fossil fuels.

This is a remarkable moment for the 590 million Christians in its member denominations: a huge percentage of humanity says today ‘this far and no further.’

Guillermo Kerber, who coordinates the WCC’s work on care for creation and climate justice explained:

“There was an explicit wish at the Finance Committee to include fossil fuels as one of the sectors where the WCC will not invest in, based on decisions to divest from fossil fuels taken by member churches in different parts of the world.

The general ethical guidelines for investment already included the concern for a sustainable environment, for future generations and CO2 footprint. Adding fossil fuels to the list of sectors where the WCC does not invest in serves to strengthen the governing body’s commitment on climate change as expressed in various sessions of the Central Committee.”

The endorsement is a major victory for the fossil fuel divestment movement, which has seen a surge of momentum amongst religious institutions over the last few months.

350.org’s European Divestment Coordinator Tim Ratcliffe said:

The World Council of Churches may be the most important commitment we’ve received yet. It opens the doors for churchgoers around the world to encourage their institutions to live up to their values and divest from companies that are destroying the planet and our future.”

In recent weeks, the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in the United States committed to divest,  the University of Dayton in Ohio became the first Catholic institution to join the campaign, and the Church of Sweden have come out in favour of divestment.

At the national level, the United Church of Christ in the US and the Quakers in the UK have also endorsed divestment. Regionally, Lutheran, Quaker, and Episcopal denominations have also joined the effort in the US.

One of the most powerful advocates for fossil fuel divestment has been Nobel Peace-Prize winner and former South African Anglican Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, who called for an “anti-apartheid style boycott of the fossil fuel industry”.

Tutu’s call to action has been echoed by top UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, who recently urged religious leaders to pull their investments out of fossil fuel companies, as well.

The post World Council of Churches divests from fossil fuels and encourages its members to do the same appeared first on Fossil Free.

The Divestment Movement Takes on the NYC $1.6 Billion Retirement Fund

Thu, 2014-07-10 13:00

At $160 billion, the NYC Common Retirement Fund is the third largest pension plan in the country, and it’s heavily invested in the fossil fuel industry.

The following video illustrates efforts by Fossil Free NYS and local activists to redirect these investments to be more in line with the morals and beliefs of the fire-fighters, teachers, and government employees it represents.

Over 12,000 New Yorkers have already signed the petition calling on Comptroller DiNapoli to divest the NYS Common Retirement Fund. Many statewide organizations have submitted formal divestment resolutions and requests. The Comptroller’s current response is to participate in a yearlong climate risk study — while the CRF continues to invest in a climate crisis that deepens every day.

Climate change is real, it’s here, and it’s hurting New Yorkers. Join the efforts by signing the petition today.

The Divestment Movement Takes on the NYC $160 Billion Retirement Fund

Thu, 2014-07-10 13:00

At $160 billion, the NYC Common Retirement Fund is the third largest pension plan in the country, and it’s heavily invested in the fossil fuel industry.

This video illustrates efforts by Fossil Free NYS and local activists to redirect these investments to be more in line with the morals and beliefs of the fire-fighters, teachers, and government employees it represents.

Over 12,000 New Yorkers have already signed the petition calling on Comptroller DiNapoli to divest the NYS Common Retirement Fund. Many statewide organizations have submitted formal divestment resolutions and requests. The Comptroller’s current response is to participate in a yearlong climate risk study — while the CRF continues to invest in a climate crisis that deepens every day.

Climate change is real, it’s here, and it’s hurting New Yorkers. Join the efforts by signing the petition today.

The post The Divestment Movement Takes on the NYC $160 Billion Retirement Fund appeared first on Fossil Free.

If you love LEGOs, this new video might change your mind

Wed, 2014-07-09 22:51

Greenpeace just released a fake LEGO ad that exposes their dirty partnership with Shell. If you ever loved LEGOs, watch this now:

Courtesy of Greenpeace

This is climate change photojournalism at its best

Wed, 2014-07-09 07:16

These are some of the most beautiful photos I’ve seen that document the human consequences of climate change. Step onto the Tibetan Plateau with photojournalist Sean Gallagher, and watch the video below:

Meltdown: Photographing Climate Change on the Tibetan Plateau from Sean Gallagher on Vimeo.

Kiribati and Climate Change: The Fight You Don’t Read About

Wed, 2014-07-09 00:41
We are not drowning. We are fighting

We are not drowning. We are fighting

If someone was to google “Kiribati,” search results will speak of the sad realities of this Pacific Island nation.

“Plagued by sea-level rise,” “Besieged by the rising tide of climate change,” and “Climate change destroys Pacific Island Nation” are the headlines you are most likely to stumble across.

Sadly, this island nation, rose to fame as steadily as the level of seawater has been rising to consume their islands.

Recent news articles about the people of Kiribati speak of them becoming climate refugees, having to relocate to another Pacific Island nation close by, Fiji, because of the continuous threat of climate change to its people.

But these headlines miss the fact that there’s still several decades before such a move caused by climate change might be necessary.

Constantly, the reality of the people of Kiribati have been brought to life with a common narrative — that they are mere victims of climate change. This is not a narrative only unique to Kiribati, but one that is slowly blanketing the rest of the region — from Tuvalu to the Marshall Islands.

Yes, they are a vulnerable group of islands at the forefront of climate change, akin to the canary in the coal mine, but the way Kiribati is talked about by global media is like climate change porn. Its superficial and there’s no character development — Kiribati has become defined as the nation that is drowning.

Yet when I travelled there earlier this year, I saw a dramatically different side of Kiribati. My experience was defined by the people I met, the strength of their unique culture, and their warrior-like commitment to fight for their islands in the face of climate change. Armed with nothing more than a smile, a spring in their step, and the conviction of their forefathers — they are the caretakers of these lands and the vast ocean that surrounds them.

This video is another side of Kiribati that isn’t being told enough.

The place is beautiful, the people are joyful and their positivity is infectious. It was shot on the fly, during our 350 Kiribati Climate Warrior training. It shows just a snapshot of what it is about Kiribati that makes it worth fighting for.

The people I met in Kiribati refuse to remain silent as they continue to be talked of as climate change porn. Sure, the fossil fuel industry and the burning of coal may result in the map having less green dots and more blue in their region one day, but they are convinced that they must continue speaking their truth, and showing the humanity of what is at stake.

While they are aware of the realities of climate change, they are not defined by it.

They choose to be defined by the commitment to a better future, they choose to be defined by hope, they choose to be defined by resilience, they choose to change the narrative of the Pacific, shouting, we are not drowning, we are fighting!

The enemy of Kiribati is not just climate change, but it is the disempowering notion that its time to give up on the people, and the nation.

Right at this time, Kiribati needs all the allies we can muster around the world to fight its enemies. These allies are the people who will no longer just read the headlines, get depressed, and do nothing. Instead, they’re the people who realize that wherever they are in the world, there is something they can do to be part of the solution.

Are you one of them?

The work that we do at 350.org is to act as a focal point for those people all over the world to take action – before it really is too late.

You can read more about the Pacific Climate Warrior campaign, at 350pacific.org

 

Germany debates new fracking ban

Tue, 2014-07-08 12:11

fracking-450x283

On Friday, German Ministers laid out plans to ban hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) for shale gas, although anti-fracking campaigners believe plans for the new law should go much further.

In a press briefing, the Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks  announced that the government will begin drawing up legislation on the issue and have it approved in the final half of this year, with a review taking place in 2021:

“There won’t be fracking of shale-gas and coal gas for economic reasons in the foreseeable future”

However, the proposed new law doesn’t go far enough for many opponents, due to a number of exceptions which allow fracking under specific circumstances. For example, the proposed ban  applies to “unconventional” fracking taking place more than 3000m below the surface but will still allow “conventional” fracking below 3000m to take place.

German brewers concerned over water contamination have rallied behind calls for fracking ban

German brewers concerned over water contamination have rallied behind calls for fracking ban

A not-so-unlikely coalition of beer brewers and greens have been piling pressure on the German government to ban fracking.  Whilst Germany’s beer-makers are worried about the potential for water contamination, there has been growing mainstream concern over the health, climate and environmental implications of using fracking to unlock the estimated shale gas  reserves of between 1.7 and 2.7 trillion cubic tonnes.

“Fracking must be banned in Germany without any exceptions” Hubertus Zdebel, a Left party member of the German parliament’s committee for environment, conservation, construction and reactor safety.

According to estimates from the Federal Institute of Geosciences and Natural Resources, the planned restrictions would still allow the exploitation of half of all unconventional gas deposits in Germany, the Left party politician Zdebel said.

So whilst a 7-year fracking ban sounds positive in principle, it seems there is still much room for improvement and developments will need to be monitored closely.

Want to tell the Economy and Environment Ministers to strengthen their proposed law to ban all fracking?  Start a campaign online today.

The future is already here. Watch Jason Silva riff on the possibilities before us.

Sat, 2014-07-05 21:46

The technology for a clean, renewable energy future exists today. Here’s your 3-minute reminder, brought to you by Jason Silva and The Solutions Project:

Quakers Move Their Money to Protect the Planet

Fri, 2014-07-04 20:03

This guest post is by Paula Kline of Fossil Free Friends.

The Eco-Justice Working Group of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting announced today that more than $2 million of assets have been divested from fossil fuels and reinvested in a new Quaker Green Fund offered by Friends Fiduciary Corporation. By doing so, Philadelphia area Friends join a growing number of religious communities, colleges, towns and states across the country, which are bringing pressure to bear on government and industry to act now to slow climate change. Meetings that have already shifted funds include Central Philadelphia, Lansdowne, Westtown, Lehigh Valley, Old Haverford, and Newtown Monthly Meetings. The question of investing with integrity is actively underway at many others. These Quaker Meetings are urging Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, the largest body of Friends in the United States, to divest as well.

“We understand that addressing the climate crisis is a moral imperative,” said Bruce Harrison of Westtown Monthly Meeting. “The divestment movement draws attention to the seriousness of climate disruption and the need to combat the powerful coal, oil, and gas companies, which persist in resisting efforts to curb polluting carbon and methane emissions,” he continued. The movement is based on recent climate and financial analyses by the Carbon Tracker Initiative which makes it clear that 80% of the world’s fossil fuel reserves must not be burned if we are to maintain a hospitable climate.

“By divesting and reinvesting, we communicate the urgency of our concern for protecting a stable climate future for the commonwealth of life. We want to invite meaningful conversation about the transition to clean energy,” said Paula Kline, member of the Eco-Justice Working Group. The decision is consistent with Friends’ values. Friends have a long history of concern for ethical investing and exclude other industries such as tobacco, gambling and arms manufacture because of the harm they do. Quakers understand that money is always an instrument of moral choice. Such difficult times for the future of the Earth, and more particularly its poorest citizens, merit dramatic, but responsible, actions like this.

Friends Fiduciary Corporation excluded coal and coal based utilities from their portfolio in 2013. Stanford University has just followed suit. “We have a carbon budget, with very real limits which must be respected, if we want to survive. We also know about financial bubbles, and the carbon bubble is a concern to any financial manager,” Kline commented.

The Eco-Justice Working Group acts on the Quaker commitment to stewardship including the Friendly Households program, which supports reducing our carbon footprint and promoting renewable energy options. The consequences of unchecked climate change can be described as a theft from our children, be we are all at risk. Climate instability threatens every society on earth and the natural systems on which they depend.

The post Quakers Move Their Money to Protect the Planet appeared first on Fossil Free.

Methodists fail to respond to grassroots call for fossil fuel divestment

Fri, 2014-07-04 09:27

Desmond Tutu quoteDespite unprecedented pressure from local churches, the Methodist Conference failed to commit to end its investments in fossil fuels. It announced that it will review its policy, with no decision for at least 12 months. The Methodist Church has investments in fossil fuel companies worth £58 million (2012 figures).

Mark Letcher, Vice-Chair of Christian climate change charity Operation Noah:

“Whilst I welcome the decision to review fossil fuel investments, I am disappointed that the Methodist Church has not decided to grasp the nettle and begin disinvesting from this sector, particularly coal, right away, despite strong calls from its own members.”

“Multimillion pound investments in companies determined to develop new reserves of coal, oil and gas are incompatible with policies to prevent uncontrolled global warming – facts that are recognised by a growing number of Churches in the UK and abroad.”

Just like grassroots Methodists, Operation Noah calls on the Conference to move rapidly to divest from fossil fuels. This year’s Methodist Conference received six resolutions (“memorials”) about investments in fossil fuels from local Circuits or Districts, four of which called for divestment.

Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org and a Methodist:

“I’m confident it’s only a matter of time before the Methodists are in the forefront of this campaign. But since Creation already groans under the weight of our carbon emissions, I hope this time is short indeed.”

Call on the Methodists to ditch their investments in fossil fuels!

While the Methodists fail to respond to the call for fossil fuel divestment, other religious institutions are active leaders tackling the climate crisis and protecting creation. Dozens of churches around the world, from Anglicans in New Zealand to Quakers in the United Kingdom, have divested their holdings. In the United States, the United Church of Christ and Unitarian Universalists have supported divestment at the national level.

Christian leaders around the world are calling for churches to divest from fossil fuels. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has recently called for an “apartheid style boycott” of the fossil fuel industry. Top UN climate chief Christiana Figueres urged religious leaders to pull their investments out of fossil fuel companies, as well.

Operation Noah launched its campaign for church divestment Bright Now in September 2013.

The Methodists’ decision was announced at the Methodist Conference 2014 that took place in Birmingham from June 26 to July 3.

The post Methodists fail to respond to grassroots call for fossil fuel divestment appeared first on Fossil Free.

These people strapped a GoPro to a polar bear, and the results are breathtaking

Fri, 2014-07-04 00:47

This footage is as amazing as it is heartbreaking. Follow this polar bear family as they traverse the Arctic Ocean in search of dwindling sea ice:

Courtesy of GoPro

No permit, no pipeline.

Thu, 2014-07-03 19:42

Friends,

Last weekend TransCanada’s permit for Keystone XL in South Dakota expired. They now no longer have a permit to build in 2 states — Nebraska, and South Dakota. 

The South Dakota permit was issued way back in 2010 when Keystone XL was supposedly a done deal, and 4 years was thought to be plenty of time to build the pipeline. Since then, a historic national alliance of farmers, ranchers, tribal leaders and climate activists have stopped Keystone XL in its tracks, and as of today the pipeline is stopped for at least another calendar year, if not forever.

As the permit expired, the Cowboy Indian Alliance hosted a cookout along the pipeline route to celebrate yet another setback for Keystone. I hope you take a little bit of time to celebrate the progress we’ve made together as well — you’ve certainly earned it.

We can’t be sitting on our laurels, however. In the coming months, we need to press our advantage and confront Big Oil and the tar sands in every way possible. Here is some of what’s on deck:

Stopping the Alberta Clipper pipeline expansion:

Last summer, President Obama said he would reject Keystone XL if it contributed to climate change. The company Enbridge wants to expand its Alberta Clipper tar sands pipeline, which runs from the northern border of Minnesota to Wisconsin, but they need President Obama’s sign off — and we’ll be organizing to make sure he applies the same climate standard to Clipper as well. The reason is simple: at this late hour, any project that contributes to climate change needs to be stopped, and it’s up to the President to lead the way.

Supporting Canada’s tar sands uprising:

Canadians are mobilizing against a huge number tar sands projects — from First Nations who have put up a legal wall of opposition to western pipelines, to the Eastern provinces where folks are getting together to fight the largest tar sands proposal ever, the Energy East pipeline, to a growing divestment movement takes aim at institutions bankrolling tar sands, to the heart of the destruction in Alberta where lawsuits and other actions are underway. We’ll need to keep showing our support for these tar sands fighters as they bring resistance to the industry’s back yard.

Defending communities from oil by rail:

Oil by rail shipments have been literally and figuratively exploding. While still just a trickle compared to the tar sands gusher of Keystone XL, oil by rail is expanding to communities across the US, meaning more derailments, spills and explosions. We’re gearing up for actions to confront big oil’s reckless dash for oil with a week of action in impacted communities starting July 6, with more to come after that.

All of this will help gather momentum for the Peoples Climate March, the biggest climate march in history, which will be on September 21st in New York City. That’s when we’ll be charting a course for our world leaders by showing them the huge number of people in this country and across the globe who stand for a safe climate future — which (it shouldn’t need to be said) is also a future without tar sands development.

Whether it’s continued birddogging to stop Keystone XL, fighting refineries or clearing out petcoke yards, our movement is demonstrating to this rogue industry that wherever they show up we’re ready to take them on and shut them down.

Many thanks again — you’re doing truly historic and necessary work, and I am very grateful to be a part of it.

Duncan

In Tajikistan countryside, next generation of climate activists grow up

Thu, 2014-07-03 18:38

Climate change hardly heralds anything good, especially for the village-dwellers who are extremely vulnerable and dependent on the environment. The folks from TYCC (Tajik Youth Climate Coalition) from Tajikistan, part of the international GlobalPowerShift family, have contributed to the common cause against the climate change and to the involvement of the local communities in solving… Read more »

Biggest college & university investment consultant just put out a new report on divestment.

Wed, 2014-07-02 22:13

A few days ago, Cambridge Associates, which advises 71% of the largest college & university endowments, quietly published a paper about divestment entitled The Fossil Fuel Divestment Discussion.

This is their first general statement about the fossil fuel divestment movement, although several individual Cambridge Associate consultants have published their own papers claiming significant costs to divestment (Pomona College being the most notable case). In this new paper, Cambridge remains fairly bland and expertly nonpartisan. The general conclusion to their paper is that institutions (in this case mostly schools) should think about social policies and sustainable investments, but be aware that fossil fuel divestment will change the structure of their portfolios.

Although there are many statements in the paper that deserve discussion, a few important issues stand out. In the spirit of the paper, I’ll break it down into two distinct categories:

Theory of Change:

Cambridge consolidates the arguments for divestment, into two general categories. Here they state Limiting Capital Supply as a primary argument. This movement has been very clear that this is not one of the arguments for divestment. Bill McKibben was clear about that on the Do The Math stage, and the students have been clear about that in their campaigns. We can’t bankrupt these companies, but we can bankrupt their social license.

They then go on to talk about Creating Public Pressure. Let’s remember that divestment is a time-tested political tool. In the cases of adult services, Darfur, tobacco, and South Africa, divestment campaigns were successful in lobbying for restrictive legislation. Institutions should be aware of the history of divestment success.

Risk & Return:

Cambridge compares the energy sector to the general stock market over the last 20 years. What they don’t show is how the market without the energy sector (or the top 200 fossil fuel companies to be more specific) would have performed over time. The question at hand is divestment, not the performance of energy stocks. Investors should be asking “how can we do without these stocks,” not “how are these stocks doing.”

Barry Schachter, advisor at Fossil Free Indexes, wrote in his blog about their S&P 500 without fossil fuels, “Return is usually the primary focus of investors when thinking about
performance. Stated simply, the returns of the fossil free S&P 500 and the S&P 500 are not
 distinguishable, looking at daily returns for the last 10 years.” Financial experts have taken an empirical lens to look at divestment and have found that it can be done at low risk. Institutions should be aware of this.

Now that I’ve gotten those things off my chest, lets hear a few reactions from students at the institutions Cambridge advises:

The report by Cambridge Associates in itself should be considered a win for the fossil fuel divestment movement; it demonstrates the demand for further investigation by financial experts. Given my college’s interaction with Cambridge, I am impressed with the stance the company took on divestment. Cambridge, a key player in leveraging divestment at larger endowments across the country, recognizes (at least at a superficial level) the moral impetus for divestment. My worries are the ways in which Cambridge presents a biased case against full divestment by discounting the non-monetary value of the action. The decision of whether or not to divest is necessarily one based on morality; earning $2 million from fossil fuel investments and the destruction of our planet is equally unethical as earning $1 million. This report demonstrates the serious misunderstanding of people in power of the power of social change and the need, not cost-benefit calculation, of social responsibility.

- Meagan Tokunaga, Pomona College

Anything less than totally wiping our hands of these companies misses the point and ultimately, falls short of the bold action and institutional change needed to address the climate crisis.

Really, Cambridge used a lot of the report to evade any sort of responsibility or involvement in the issue by repeatedly emphasizing that the decision of divestment was ultimately up to their clients. I understand that this is how the investment world works and appreciate Cambridge’s interest in “facilitating informed discussions.” That being said, the longer Cambridge remains “neutral” on divestment, the more complicit they become in our society’s failure to meaningfully address climate change.

- Deirdre Shelly, American University

If you’d like to read the report, click here.

The post Biggest college & university investment consultant just put out a new report on divestment. appeared first on Fossil Free.

Against the destruction of tar sands, healing wins

Wed, 2014-07-02 22:12

This past weekend, hundreds gathered to fight pipelines with a walk for healing. Watch Indigenous Peoples from across Turtle Island stand up to protect their land, water, air, and communities in the video below:


Thanks to our friends at Idle No More!

Calling all power shifters: time to remind our leaders that we’re EVERYWHERE

Wed, 2014-07-02 17:15

This September heads of states and governments are coming together in New York “as part of a global effort to mobilize action and ambition on climate change.” But looking at their record from past meetings, this summit could well be a gathering to talk about something as fantastical as solving interstellar travel to relocate people… Read more »

Glasgow University Working Group recommends divestment!

Wed, 2014-07-02 16:50

This blog was written by Miriam Wilson, a member of Fossil Free Glasgow University campaign in Scotland, UK.

The meeting of Glasgow University Court, our university’s decision-making body, on June 25th 2014 was a big moment for our Climate Action Society’s Fossil Free campaign. After 10 months of intensive campaigning, and an early morning banner drop, a decision on possible fossil fuel divestment was about to be made…

Glasgow University Climate Action group's banner drop

Glasgow University Climate Action group’s banner drop

Divestment was first placed on the Court’s agenda back in February. With the support of our Students’ Representative Council (SRC), we were able to bring fossil fuel divestment to the Court’s attention, and in response they formed Working Group on Socially Responsible Investment to consider our case.

At this point, our campaign team split into two groups: Action and Research. Our Research Team compiled a 180-page briefing setting out the case for divestment for the Working Group, and four members were invited to meet with the Working Group to make the case in person.

Meanwhile, our Action Team made big noise around the campaign on campus, staging numerous creative actions to draw attention to our cause. On the day of the June 25th Court meeting, that meant hanging a giant banner from the SRC building, calling on the university to make the responsible choice, and divest.

The Court meeting took place behind closed doors. Although two SRC representatives attended the meeting, we were not allowed to know what the Working Group recommendation on divestment was until after the meeting adjourned.

But the Working Group came out in full support of divestment, recommending that the university puts a freeze on new investments in the industry, winds down its existing holdings over the next 10 years, and where possible re-invests in green industries. The 10-year timeline isn’t in line with our demands or the science, but we’ll continue pushing them to bring this forward.

The professionalism of our campaign and the strength of our arguments were apparently commented on throughout the meeting. Despite this, a minority of Court members were opposed to divestment, and blocked a decision being passed until October. We still have work to do.

The Working Group will re-convene to consider concerns raised by a few Court members at the October meeting, and we have four months to persuade them further of our arguments, build up even greater momentum on campus around our campaign, and mobilise towards a divestment win in the new semester.

You can support our campaign by signing our petition

The post Glasgow University Working Group recommends divestment! appeared first on Fossil Free.

Pages