Protesters from Greenpeace, Stay Grounded, Extinction Rebellion and others chain themselves to aircraft in Geneva
Dozens of climate activists have disrupted Europe’s largest private jet trade fair by chaining themselves to aircraft to protest against the sector’s carbon emissions.
The demonstrators on behalf of Greenpeace, Stay Grounded, Extinction Rebellion and Scientist Rebellion also attached themselves to the entrance gates of the event at Geneva airport in the hope of preventing prospective buyers from entering the annual show.
The activists, who were calling for a global ban on the use of private jets because of their carbon footprint, stuck tobacco-style health warning labels on some of the jets at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) saying private jets “burn our future”, “kill our planet”, and “fuel inequality”.
… In a tense moment during the meeting, which had already been delayed for nearly an hour, security stepped in to prevent a protester from reaching chairman Sir Andrew Mackenzie and other board members on the stage.
Dozens of protesters were escorted out by members of the security team at London’s Excel conference centre.
“Obviously that last incident went a stage further than we experienced in the first part of today,” Mackenzie said, after protesters had been escorted out.
Early in the meeting, a group of protesters sang, “Go to hell Shell and don’t you come back no more, no more, no more, no more,” to the tune of the Ray Charles song Hit the Road Jack.
The first protester to get up shouted: “Welcome to Shell… complicit in the destruction of people’s homes, livelihoods and lives. Welcome to hell.”
“Energy security can only be achieved by rapidly and equitably phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable energy, not locking in deadly fossil fuels and lining the pockets of oil and gas executives,” said one critic.
Since Group of Seven leaders on Saturday put out a wide-ranging communiqué from a Japan-hosted summit in Hiroshima, climate action advocates from G7 countries and beyond have blasted the statement’s support for future investments in planet-heating gas.
The statement comes after G7 climate, energy, and environment ministers were criticized for their communiqué from a meeting in Sapporo last month as well as protests around the world this week pressuring the summit’s attendees to ditch fossil fuels and “deliver a clear and just renewable energy agenda for a peaceful world.”
To meet the 1.5°C goal of the Paris climate agreement, the new statement commits to “accelerate the phaseout of unabated fossil fuels so as to achieve net-zero in energy systems by 2050 at the latest” along with “the elimination of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025 or sooner.”
“The G7 must stop using fossil fuels immediately—the planet is on fire.”
The statement also highlights that last year, G7 nations—Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States—pledged to end “new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector, except in limited circumstances,” though as recent analysis shows, some are breaking that promise.
The communiqué then endorses liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a solution to “the global impact of Russia’s war on energy supplies, gas prices and inflation, and people’s lives,” referencing the invasion of Ukraine:
In this context, we stress the important role that increased deliveries of LNG can play, and acknowledge that investment in the sector can be appropriate in response to the current crisis and to address potential gas market shortfalls provoked by the crisis. In the exceptional circumstance of accelerating the phaseout of our dependency on Russian energy, publicly supported investment in the gas sector can be appropriate as a temporary response, subject to clearly defined national circumstances, if implemented in a manner consistent with our climate objectives without creating lock-in effects, for example by ensuring that projects are integrated into national strategies for the development of low-carbon and renewable hydrogen.
“The G7 energy outcome correctly diagnoses a short-term need for energy security, then promotes a dangerous and inappropriate lock-in of fossil gas that would do nothing to address this need,” responded Collin Rees, United States program manager at Oil Change International (OCI). “Energy security can only be achieved by rapidly and equitably phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable energy, not locking in deadly fossil fuels and lining the pockets of oil and gas executives.”
After accusing the summit’s attendees of “using the war as an excuse,” deflecting blame for current conditions, and neglecting Global South countries disproportionately suffering from the climate crisis, Max Lawson, head of inequality policy at Oxfam, declared that “the G7 must stop using fossil fuels immediately—the planet is on fire.”
Greenpeace International global climate politics expert Tracy Carty also demanded a swift end to fossil fuels, charging that “G7 leaders’ endorsement of new fossil gas is a blunt denial of the climate emergency” which dooms “current and future generations.”
Gerry Arances, executive director of the Philippine Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development, similarly argued that “the endorsement of increased LNG deliveries and investment in gas in the G7 communiqué is no mere backsliding—it is a death sentence being dealt by the G7 to the 1.5°C limit and, in consequence, to the climate survival of vulnerable peoples in the Philippines, Southeast Asia, and across the world.”
“Unless they genuinely put forward the phaseout of all fossil fuels, Japan and all G7 nations spout nothing but lies when they say they have aligned to 1.5°C,” he continued. “They cannot claim to be promoting development while subjecting our people to decades more of pollution and soaring energy prices. We reject this notion of a development powered by fossil fuels.”
Looking to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) planned for later this year, Arances added that “Japan and G7 leaders should already be warned that civic movements will not tire in pushing back against fossil fuels and false solutions and in demanding a renewable energy transition.”
“Civic movements will not tire in pushing back against fossil fuels and false solutions and in demanding a renewable energy transition.”
Other campaigners also specifically called out the Hiroshima summit’s host—including Ayumi Fukakusa, deputy executive director at Friends of the Earth Japan, who asserted that the country “has used the G7 presidency to derail the global energy transition.”
“Japan has been driving the push to increase gas investments and has been promoting its so-called ‘green transformation’ strategy,” Fukakusa said of a “greenwashing scheme” featuring hydrogen, ammonia, nuclear, and carbon capture and storage technologies.
OCI Asia program manager Susanne Wong agreed that given the nation’s promotion of gas expansion and technologies to prolong the use of coal, “this year’s G7 is revealing Japan’s failure of climate leadership at a global level.”
“Activists mobilized 50 actions across 22 countries this week to demand that Japan end its fossil fuel finance and stop driving the expansion of gas and other fossil-based technologies,” Wong added. “Japan will continue to face intense international scrutiny until it stops fueling the climate crisis.”
Groups from other G7 countries also called out their political leaders. Petter Lydén, head of international climate policy at Germanwatch, said, “Most likely, the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, has been a driving force behind the weak language on gas, which is a serious blow to Germany’s international credibility on climate.”
Citing sources familiar with summit negotiations, The New York Timesreported Saturday that “Britain and France fought the German effort” while U.S. President Joe Biden was caught between defending his climate agenda and “aiding other United States allies intent on increasing their access to fossil fuels.”
OCI’s Rees said the that “this betrayal continues a disturbing turn by President Biden and Chancellor Scholz from rhetorically committing to climate leadership to openly boosting fossil fuel expansion. History will not look kindly on world leaders who accelerate the pace of fossil fuel buildout in the face of worsening climate crisis.”
Between two and three hundred protesters will join a seven-day march from Arnhem to The Hague, organised by Extinction Rebellion. They will start on Sunday and walk along the A12. The march ends on 27 May, the day the group plans to block the A12 in The Hague again to protest against government subsidies to the fossil industry.
It is the seventh time that Extinction Rebellion is planning to block the A12. At the last demonstration on 11 March, some 700 activists were eventually detained.
Video of March 2023 protest.
During a demonstration by Extinction Rebellion on the A12 in The Hague a symphony orchestra played the second movement of Beethoven’s Symphony no.7. By doing so, the orchestra supported the demand of XR to stop the yearly 17.5 billion in fossil fuel subsidies by the Dutch government. The musicians are convinced that the beauty of music and of people connecting through music will also disappear if the climate crisis exacerbates.
At the moment the orchestra entered the road, police began to demand the protesters to leave or face arrest. Threatened by the deployment of water cannons, the orchestra decided to play anyway, which seemed to have a de-escalating effect. With this action the orchestra showed in a democratic way that beauty is tarnished.
Violinist Vera Beths : “Nature is a great source of inspiration for composers. You can find everything in it; harmony, dissonance, rhythm and form. We are in the process of disturbing this balance systematically. That has to stop. We have to start listening again.”
Activists from Italy’s Ultima Generazione (Last Generation) group turn Rome’s Trevi fountain black. Ultima Generazione is Italy’s group within the international Action Network. Italy has recently experienced extreme rain and flooding with at least 15 people killed.
Floods that sent rivers of mud tearing through towns in Italy’s northeast are another drenching dose of climate change’s all-or-nothing weather extremes, scientists say.
It is something that has been happening around the globe.
The coastal region of Emilia-Romagna was struck twice. First by heavy rain two weeks ago on the drought-parched ground that could not absorb it leading to overflowing riverbanks overnight. This was followed by the deluge that killed 13 and caused billions in damages this week.
More than 10,000 people fled their homes, some plucked from rooftops or balconies by rescue helicopters and others ferried out on dinghies.