Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil vow to continue disruptive action

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/02/insulate-britain-and-just-stop-oil-vow-to-continue-disruptive-action

Commitment to ‘civil resistance’ comes after Extinction Rebellion said it would prioritise ‘relationships over roadblocks’

Just Stop Oil protesting in London 6 December 2022.

Just Stop Oil protesting in London 6 December 2022.

Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil have doubled down on their commitment to disruptive climate “civil resistance” after Extinction Rebellion announced new tactics prioritising “relationships over roadblocks”.

“It’s 2023 and XR has quit,” Just Stop Oil said in a statement. “But it’s 2023, and we are barrelling down the highway to the loss of ordered civil society, as extreme weather impacts tens of millions, as our country becomes unrecognisable … there is now a need to face reality.

“We must move from disobedience into civil resistance – this is what the nurses and paramedics are doing. They are on the frontline of the harm being wreaked on us and have said no more.”

Insulate Britain said its supporters remained prepared to go to prison. “Insulate Britain supporters remain committed to civil resistance as the only appropriate and effective response to the reality of our situation in 2023,” its statement said.

Continue ReadingInsulate Britain and Just Stop Oil vow to continue disruptive action

Open Letter to Liz Truss on ‘Anti Growth’ – XR co-founder, Gail Bradbrook

Dear Liz Truss,

In your recent speech at the Conservative party conference you mentioned growth 29 times; said “I will not allow the anti-growth coalition to hold us back” and named Extinction Rebellion as part of this coalition.

Thank you for opening up this critical conversation. We appreciate the opportunity to share our understanding and we hope many others will join us for a grown up conversation in these urgent times. 

We know that members of your party understand our concerns, and are also worried about your economic ideology. When we met Michael Gove in 2019 he said:

“We have had an economic model for generations which has been extractive and exploitative, and in the same way as we’ve created debt fuelled economic growth that creates a burden for the next generation, so our approach towards natural resources has had to change and we’re wrestling as a government with how to do that, how to move towards a more circular economy. And also how to re think different parts of our economy, and again we may disagree over the imperative or the importance placed on growth, but certainly how we can achieve a greater degree of human flourishing and at the same time be more respectful to the limited resources that the earth has and critically also recognise that its not simply about drawing down resources, the earth is a system, our environment is a system of which we are a part and if we do violence to it then we are doing violence to ourselves, we are hacking at the tree of life.”  

There are many forms of growth that are beneficial. Specific sectors of our economy badly need to grow, for example homegrown sources of renewable energy. A sector that would do so much better if this supposed free market was not distorted by the vast subsidies the UK gives to fossil fuels.

However, the data is clear, growth for growth’s sake, without limits, without purpose, is destroying life on earth. When unfettered growth happens in a human body we call it cancer. Economic growth is only beneficial up to a certain point, beyond which it is harmful to people and planet. Economic growth is lucrative to those who are already wealthy (who unsurprisingly then insist on keeping it as the focus). Trickle down economics has failed us for a long time, everyone knows it’s just an out of date idea, not a realistic method that improves the lives of the general public. When we are measuring GDP we would best consider it a measure of the Gross Destruction of the Planet by the Greedy Death Project! 

Do you not agree when Margaret Thatcher said “We should always remember that free markets are a means to an end. They would defeat their object if by their output they did more damage to the quality of life through pollution than the well-being they achieve by the production of goods and services”

Extinction Rebellion are calling for a Well Being economy, which has a clear and measured purpose to maximise wellness and minimise harm; at home and across the world. There is no shortage of fantastic ideas about how to achieve that, including ideas to support circular uses of materials whilst staying within planetary and social boundaries. We love imaginative ideas, such as regenerative finance and mission based economics; where there could be a focus of our specific strengths on tackling major challenges together, making use of the innovation and delivery capabilities in business and markets, the organising capacities of our civil service, the intellect of our academics. We are a wealthy country, we could afford to pay for universal basic services and lead the world on tackling the climate and ecological crisis. And Extinction Rebellion champions assemblies of ordinary people, to think together with experts about how to make this vital transition.

Because it doesn’t matter how attached your Government is, Ms. Truss, to a specific form of free market ideology. Physics and ecology are ultimately in charge and the life support systems of the earth are starting to tip. Doubling down on the extraction of fossil fuels commits our children and grandchildren here and globally to lives where food production fails and civilisation  collapses. We charge that members of your Government, who are making decisions now, against the advice of scientists and international bodies, are committing crimes against humanity. 

We see truths shared from many quarters. King Charles has said “We need nothing short of a paradigm shift, one that inspires action at revolutionary levels and pace.” The Chief Executive of Shell Ben Van Beurden recently called for a windfall tax and  Philip Kotler, father of modern  marketing called for Degrowth (the academic term for an economy focussed on Wellbeing) In October 2018 the IPCC said that limiting global warming would require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. 

People will become increasingly desperate in this country as the consequences of years of terrible choices come home and impact us all. Choices to sell off our assets, to poison our food, air and water; while at the same time we failed to invest in homegrown renewables and insulate homes. We are left with little security and a cost of living scandal. Over 20,000 people in the UK already died unnecessarily this year since April. Those with the least responsibility for these crises are suffering in the millions, battered and uprooted by climate disasters, from the Horn of Africa, to Bangladesh, to Mozambique, to Pakistan.

We see the callousness and the corruption and the refusal to face reality. Those of us who have the capacity and the conscience will do all we can to stop this death machine. There are a growing number of people who just can’t pay the bills that are mounting and others who won’t work for poverty wages, unable to make ends meet despite their hard work (though I understand you, Liz Truss, think British workers “need more graft”). We will strike bill payments in solidarity and strength, and we will not let you frack the British countryside, poison the water and the people.

Yes, we are uniting, because we believe in our shared humanity, we love our country, and this Earth, and we are willing to take responsibility, whether that comes at a cost to us, on behalf of our collective wellbeing. 

A key aspect of civil disobedience is a belief in the need to talk. I would welcome a dialogue with yourself or colleagues – please be in touch!

Sincerely,

Gail Bradbrook

Dr. Gail Bradbrook, Co-Founder Extinction Rebellion

Notes for Editors

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/23/uk-has-biggest-fossil-fuel-subsidies-in-the-eu-finds-commission
  2.  A systematic review of the evidence on decoupling of GDP, resource use and GHG emissions, part I: bibliometric and conceptual mapping https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/159385/; Tim Parrique https://unevenearth.org/2020/06/decoupling/ Limits to Growth review https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3xw3x/new-research-vindicates-1972-mit-prediction-that-society-will-collapse-soon 
  3.  When countries have low GDP, economic growth brings a high marginal benefit. But, for developed countries with high GDP, the marginal benefit of economic growth is lower. There is a diminishing marginal utility of extra income and at higher levels, the problems of growth may outweigh the benefits. https://www.economicshelp.org/macroeconomics/economic-growth/benefits-growth/ 
  4.  The academic term is Degrowth – eg see Jason Hickel Less is More, https://weall.org/ etc
  5.  Circular Economy eg https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/topics/circular-economy-introduction/overview
  6.  Doughnut Economics https://doughnuteconomics.org/about-doughnut-economics
  7. Eg https://thefinanser.com/2022/10/what-is-regenerative-finance-refi-part-one 
  8.  Mariana Mazzucato https://ec.europa.eu/research-and-innovation/en/horizon-magazine/missions-could-make-europe-cool-again-prof-mariana-mazzucato 
  9.  UBS eg https://universalbasicservices.org/; Calls for UK to not drop its commitments : https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/03/cop27-host-egypt-warns-uk-not-backtrack-climate-agenda
  10. https://theconversation.com/climate-tipping-points-could-lock-in-unstoppable-changes-to-the-planet-how-close-are-they-191043
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/oct/04/shell-chief-tax-energy-firms-ben-van-beurden-gas-electricity
  12. Philip Kotler, father of modern marketing, supports degrowth: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/ben-tolhurst_degrowth-the-case-for-constraining-consumption-activity-6982821869351510016-jRQb?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_ios
  13. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2335991-there-are-thousands-more-uk-deaths-than-usual-and-we-dont-know-why/
Continue ReadingOpen Letter to Liz Truss on ‘Anti Growth’ – XR co-founder, Gail Bradbrook

UK must insulate homes or face a worse energy crisis in 2023, say experts

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2022/sep/11/britain-insulate-homes-energy-crisis-2023-heat-loss-houses-subsidising-bills

Britain will be plunged into an even worse energy crisis in a year’s time without an immediate plan to improve leaky homes and dramatically reduce demand for gas, ministers have been warned.

The UK ranks among the worst in Europe for the energy efficiency of its homes, according to new research outlining an urgent need to reduce the amount of heat being wasted. Experts are warning that while Liz Truss has bought the government time with her £100bn-plus package to cap energy bills, similarly expensive and unsustainable schemes will be needed unless substantial plans are introduced to improve homes and reduce demand.

Experts believe a serious energy-efficiency programme could have a real impact within a year. The institute pointed to Germany as a success story, where grants, low-interest loans, tax rebates and free expert advice have all been used, resulting in high take-up figures.

Continue ReadingUK must insulate homes or face a worse energy crisis in 2023, say experts

We all just want to stop oil

Bought my coach ticket X

Cost of Living Crisis and Climate Crisis: The Same Crisis

Enough is enough. When did we decide to just sit there and be OK with people in the fifth richest country in the world having to choose between food and heating? When did that happen? When did we decide that we are just going to sit there and let civilisation as we know it to collapse because the government is refusing to cut carbon emissions in line with the cries of the world’s most renowned climate scientists. When did that happen?

People have woken up to the fact that there is only one crisis – the crisis of an elite which cares no more about old people dying of the cold than it does about young people dying of hunger before they get to middle age. This elite refuses to see the misery it is already inflicting on the Global South. The global majority already faces looting, exploitation and climate breakdown. Know one thing for sure – this is murder, plain and simple. Today’s fossil capitalism profits from yesterday’s barbarous imperialism. And they will carry on unless we stop them. No one is coming to save us – not the politicians, not the NGOs, not the entrepreneurs – the only way things will change now is through People Power. It has been the case throughout our history, and so it is today.

We All Want to Just Stop Oil is bringing together the wider environmental and progressive labour movements, faith communities, charities, people from social institutions and famous people – along with thousands of ordinary people who have never before been involved in anything like this – to create mass civil resistance. This is how we will overcome entrenched power – ongoing organised peaceful civil disobedience – slow marches, sit downs, blockades, etc., week after week. They may arrest people but we will not be afraid. We will be courageous, and our contagious courage will spread. They may imprison people but that will make us even more determined to show our solidarity. Their time is up. Our time is now.

On 23 July we are gathering to connect and build. Then, thousands of us will mobilise around the country to prepare for an Autumn of popular mass action – like Extinction Rebellion did in April 2019, forcing the government to respond by occupying central London. But this time involving many more people from a wide coalition of groups, building a deeper, more powerful movement.

Continue ReadingWe all just want to stop oil

Government policies will not get UK to net zero, warns damning report

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2022/jun/29/government-policy-failures-are-obstacle-to-uk-net-zero-target-advisers-warn

The government is failing to enact the policies needed to reach the UK’s net zero targets, its statutory advisers have said, in a damning progress report to parliament.

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) voiced fears that ministers may renege on the legally binding commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, noting “major policy failures” and “scant evidence of delivery”.

Lord Deben, the chair of the committee and a former Conservative environment secretary, said the government had set strong targets on cutting emissions but policy to achieve them was lacking. “The government has willed the ends, but not the means,” he said. “This report showed that present plans will not fulfil the commitments [to net zero].”

He said net zero policies were also the best way to reduce the soaring cost of living. Average household bills would be about £125 lower today if previous plans on green energy and energy efficiency had been followed through. “If you want to deal with the cost of living crisis, this is exactly what you need to do,” he said.

The greatest failure was the insulation policy. Britain’s homes are the draughtiest in western Europe, heating costs are crippling household budgets, and heating is one of the biggest single sources of carbon emissions, but the government has no plans to help most people insulate their homes.

Five things we have learned about the UK’s path to net zero

Energy efficient homes could be an easy win, but we’re ignoring it

There are currently no credible plans to help the majority of households to improve their energy efficiency, the progress report from the Committee on Climate Change concludes: a gaping policy hole that is costing the UK dear, not just in climate terms but in unnecessarily high energy bills for our leaky homes. Insulating buildings would be the quickest and most effective way to counter soaring gas prices, but has been largely ignored by the government after the botched “green homes grant” was scrapped last year. Even our new homes are not efficient: at least 1.5m homes have been built in recent years that will require expensive retrofitting. “It’s a complete tale of woe,” said Chris Stark, chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change.

Continue ReadingGovernment policies will not get UK to net zero, warns damning report

Climate protest news 26 April 2022

A selection of climate protest news articles. Insulate Britain are acting on their policy that UK courts are regarded as a ‘site of civil resistance’

Insulate Britain members disrupt trial by gluing hands to court furniture

Three members of Insulate Britain have disrupted a magistrates court trial, gluing their hands to court furniture and paying tribute to the environmental activist who died after setting himself on fire outside the US supreme court.

Dr Diana Warner, a retired GP from Bristol, had been due to face trial at Stratford magistrates court on a charge of causing a public nuisance by obstructing junction 14 of the M25 on 27 September last year.

But when she entered the dock, fellow Insulate Britain members Liam Norton and Ana Heyatawin followed her into the court, began filming and broadcasting with their phones, and glued themselves to the furniture.

Just Stop Oil protests: Protesters breach Kingsbury Oil terminal injunction

A number of activists have been arrested after breaching an injunction outside an oil terminal in Tamworth.

Members of the Just Stop Oil group blocked access to the Kingsbury Oil Terminal from 07:30 BST on Tuesday.

A new High Court injunction in the area grants police “enhanced powers to prevent and disrupt any unlawful activity”.

Warwickshire Police said it had detained 16 people following the demonstration.

dizzy: If you count the people in the article photographs, it looks very close to 16 so we might assume that they’ve all been arrested which is probably the protesters’ expectation and intention

Top cop ‘highly advises’ Just Stop Oil protesters to stay away from Kingsbury

This evening, Mr Gardner urged protesters not to return. He said: “The High Court injunction remains in place. I would strongly advise against people coming to Kingsbury to conduct any protest activity.

“Although the force respects the right to a peaceful protest, we will always take action against anyone found to be acting outside of the law. If you’re believed to be in breach of the order, officers will arrest you and you will be taken into police custody until appearing before the courts.”

Surge in public concern over environment and climate linked to rise in protest activity, research shows

“Protest can be predicted by prior levels of public attention to the environment,” said Ms Kirby, “but a surge in protest levels also leads to increased public attention in the following months”.

“This effect is largely driven by recent protest, which indicates it played a role in recent rise in public concern.”

The research also suggests that the sheer number of people involved in recent protests has a bigger impact on raising concerns about the environment than protesting methods.

Continue ReadingClimate protest news 26 April 2022

Climate protest news 25 April 2022

A selection of climate protest news – apologies that I’m inevitably missing many.

  • Earth Day on Friday saw many protests in North and South America including one protester who took his own life through self-immolation.
  • Insulate Britain declares UK courts ‘ “a site of non-violent civil resistance”, saying the UK legal system no longer has any legitimacy.’
  • A very broad injunction granted against fuel protests in Essex.

Wynn Bruce took his own life in protest outside the US Supreme Court.

A US climate activist has died after he set himself on fire outside the US supreme court building in Washington.

On Sunday, Kritee Kanko, a Boulder-based climate scientist and Zen Buddhist priest, said Bruce was a friend and member of her Buddhist community, who had been planning the self-immolation for “at least one year”.

“This act is not suicide. This is a deeply fearless act of compassion to bring attention to climate crisis,” Kanko said in a tweet.

In a subsequent interview with the New York Times, Kanko said she could not be certain about Bruce’s intentions. She told the newspaper that “people are being driven to extreme amounts of climate grief and despair” and that “what I do not want to happen is that young people start thinking about self-immolation”.

Arrests made after XR blocks printers for US newspapers including NYT on Earth Day

Insulate Britain declares courts ‘site of civil resistance’, saying legal system not legitimate

In an open letter to the UK judiciary, the group wrote: “We understand that this is a difficult time for the UK judiciary and we trust that you will connect to our shared humanity as we come to ask you for help…

“If a government insists on destroying the nation state, then that government is involved in tyranny. It is involved in an act of criminality of the highest order.

“It becomes the duty of all people of conscience to oppose that tyranny as an act of self-defence.

“The criminalisation by the judiciary of ordinary people attempting to preserve lives and the very fabric of our society is abhorrent.

Oil protests: High Court grants injunction against Essex demonstrations

An injunction to prevent people protesting at oil terminals and outside petrol stations has been granted at the High Court.

The injunction applies to all petrol station forecourts in the county as well as several oil terminals.

Activists have staged protests across the county for several weeks.

Protest group Just Stop Oil wants the government to halt new oil and gas projects.

Continue ReadingClimate protest news 25 April 2022