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”.
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.
Earlier this month leading climate scientists issued their landmark report on climate solutions, directly to world governments, saying it’s “now or never” if we are to meet the Paris Agreement 1.5°C warming limit.
And the response?
Well, not what we need. Since the release, governments have announced or approved new oil and gas projects, despite the IPCC science saying we already have too many!
It occurs to me that this could be a dangerous time for politicians and others failing to address the climate crisis. We have the most recent IPCC report identifying necessary action including an immediate stop to all new fossil fuel use and it’s ignored. Climate change is seen and experienced, it’s beyond controlling the narrative. The people that have warned of the growing crisis will be gaining power and influence, [ed: in a few years … ] we may well have laws that are applied retrospectively – and why shouldn’t they be? [ed: Why shouldn’t they be held responsible for their actions or – potentially recognised as criminal – neglect? Had the power to address severe climate destuction but chose not to …]
U.S. President Joe Biden’s reported plan to protect old-growth forests—which help combat global temperature rise by storing planet-heating carbon—is “grossly inadequate,” one climate advocacy group said Thursday.
Biden will mark Earth Day in Seattle on Friday with an executive order on the issue, according toThe Washington Post, which cited five unnamed sources briefed on the plan.
Responding in a statement, Food & Water Watch national organizing manager Thomas Meyer declared that “President Biden seems to think we’re celebrating the first Earth Day in 1970, rather than in [the] depths of the climate crisis in 2022.”
“Protecting forests without addressing the root cause of the climate crisis, namely the continued extraction and burning of fossil fuels, will do very little to slow global warming,” he warned.
“The president has many effective tools at his disposal to address the climate and public health impacts of fossil fuels in a serious way,” Meyer added. “He should start by following through on his pledge to end fracking on public lands and stop offshore drilling, and directing his agencies to reject all new fossil fuel infrastructure.”
Over 20 advocacy organizations are planning a nationwide “Fight for Our Future” mobilization for Saturday to demand climate action from the Biden administration and Congress.
On the heels of Earth Day, demonstrators plan to gather in Washington, D.C., and communities across the United States to reiterate the necessity of pursuing bold policies to combat the fossil-fueled planetary emergency, citing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released earlier this month.
The organizing comes not only in the midst of the climate emergency but also as Russia’s war on Ukraine and price gouging by fossil fuel giants—in the third year of the Covid-19 pandemic—drive up the cost of gas.
Sierra Club president Ramon Cruz in a statement that “in this unprecedented moment of climate crisis, rising prices, energy insecurity, and racial and environmental injustice, it’s vital that our leaders fight to establish a livable, just, and healthy planet for all.”
“The latest IPCC report made clear that we not only have an imperative to address the climate crisis, but also the means to do so—doing so just requires the political will to make transformational investments at the scale and speed the crisis demands,” he added. “There’s a clear path forward for critical investments in climate, care, jobs, and justice, and Congress must seize this crucial opportunity to truly ensure the future we all deserve.”
Just Stop Oil has said it will suspend its direct actions against fuel distribution for a week, but has told the prime minister its members will escalate their disruptive protests “if you do not fulfil your duty to the people”.
For two and a half weeks, the climate activists have been targeting oil terminals and oil tankers in the Midlands and the south-east of England with blockades and mass trespass.
The government and petrol retailers have attempted to downplay the scale of the disruption to fuel deliveries. But there have been widespread reports of petrol station forecourts running dry in various parts of the country.
Just Stop Oil’s activists have vowed to continue their campaign until the government agrees to a ban on new oil and gas extraction projects, or until they are all jailed.
CLIMATE activists today targeted the London HQ of Israel’s largest private arms firm in protest at “brutal” attacks on al-Aqsa mosque by Israeli forces in recent days.
Members of the youth branch of Extinction Rebellion teamed up with the Palestine Action group to blockade the entrance of Elbit Systems’ offices in Holborn on Wednesday morning.
The groups said the action, which saw activists lock on to the entrance of the building at 77 Kingsway Road and hurl red paint across the facade, forced the offices to shut for the day.
Palestine Action said the activists wanted to show solidarity with Palestinian worshippers during Ramadan after Israeli forces launched a series of raids on the al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, injuring dozens of Palestinians.
Members of Extinction Rebellion (XR) marked Tax Day with the “No Wars, No Warming” demonstration outside a federal building in NYC where various agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), have offices.
Demonstrators perched on top of and locked themselves to two 15-foot tripods installed near the Charging Bull sculpture to block traffic on Broadway, according to organizers. Nine activists were arrested.
“We recognize that the people who are most often placed in harm’s way from armed conflict are also the people who have and will continue to face the brunt of the climate crisis,” says the XR event webpage. “In this moment, after two years of Covid-19, our tax money should be funding social services that benefit the communities most impacted by the climate crisis and most affected by decades of systemic underfunding.”
In Paris, activists closed down a large square in the center of the city in protest over the environmental programs proposed by the remaining candidates in France’s upcoming presidential election, Reuters reported.
“Their inaction leads to our rebellion,” was the calling cry for hundreds of people who gathered in Paris’ 9th district, including some who lay on the floor during a so-called “die-in” demonstration, per the outlet.
“We are blocking this Paris square to rebel against alternatives that we don’t have,” Lou, a 26-year-old history teacher, told Reuters. They told the outlet that they “joined the Rebellion movement two years ago.”
“This election leaves us with no choice between a far-right candidate with repugnant ideas … and a candidate who during five years cast the ecology issue aside and lied,” they said, referencing President Emmanuel Macron and his challenger Marine Le Pen ahead of their run-off election.
Six people have been arrested after Extinction Rebellion activists, including two Olympians, scaled an oil tanker in west London.
Stott said: “I am acting to try to disrupt the toxic fossil fuel industry that is destroying everything we hold dear. I am hoping we can slow it down long enough to create a moment where everyone can stop and think where we are going and change course.
“I am aware that my actions will cause anger to many people and I am prepared to be held accountable. But our government should also be held to account for its decisions which are destroying our planet’s ability to support human civilisation.”
The Olympic sailor Laura Baldwin, who also took part in the protest, said: “This is the most critical time in the history of humanity and I feel I must do all that I can to raise the alarm.”
“Extinction Rebellion is calling on all peaceful, loving and determined people to step into rebellion and resistance now.”
A marine biologist held by police for more than 48 hours over a climate crisis protest was taken from her cell to hospital in an ambulance.
Emma Smart, 44, one of nine scientists affiliated with Extinction Rebellion who were arrested at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), had gone on hunger and thirst strike to protest against the conditions in which she was being held.
On Friday night, police called an ambulance to Charing Cross police station to take Smart to hospital. According to her supporters, she was keen not to waste hospital resources and accepted rehydration treatment, then was taken back into police custody. She was released on Saturday after appearing at Westminster magistrates court.
There is very little reporting of Extinction Rebellion events at Hyde Park / Marble Arch, as if it’s censored.
18/4/22 I think muted rather than censored as a consequence of a combination of events e.g. a bank holiday weekend, news event not promoted so well, etc.
Hundreds of scientists from around the world took part in protests last week to apply pressure on government agencies to make “rapid and deep” cuts to greenhouse gas emissions before it’s too late.
In Los Angeles, NASA scientist Peter Kalmus and three other people were arrested on Wednesday after they chained themselves to the front door of a Chase Bank building in protest of the company’s investment in fossil fuels.
“We’ve been trying to warn you guys for so many decades that we’re heading towards a f—— catastrophe, and we’ve been being ignored,” said Kalmus, Business Insider reported. “The scientists of the world are being ignored, and it’s got to stop. We’re not joking. We’re not lying. We’re not exaggerating.”
Kalmus and his fellow protesters were met with 100 LAPD officers in riot gear and arrested, according to Salon.
The protests were part of a week of civil disobedience organized by Scientist Rebellion, the scientific branch of the climate change activist group Extinction Rebellion.
More than 1,000 scientists from over 25 countries took part in the protests to highlight the findings from a United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report stating humanity only has three more years to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
PARIS, April 16 (Reuters) – Climate change activists forced the closure of a main square in central Paris on Saturday to protest against the environmental programmes put forward by France’s remaining presidential candidates.
“We are blocking this Paris square to rebel against alternatives that we don’t have. This election leaves us with no choice between a far-right candidate with repugnant ideas … and a candidate who during five years cast the ecology issue aside and lied,” Lou, 26, a history teacher, who joined the Extinction Rebellion movement two years ago told Reuters.
Hundreds of people gathered in Paris’ 9th district brandishing banners targeting the candidates, chanting slogans such as “their inaction leads to our rebellion”, or lay on the floor in protest.
Four London bridges have been forced to close by Extinction Rebellion climate activists who formed human barriers, blocking traffic and bringing delays to the capital.
Eco protesters lined the roads outside Blackfriars, Westminster, Waterloo and Lambeth bridges causing “delays and disruption” to people in central London.
Extinction Rebellion posted online: “Rebels are swarming across London, part of a global wave of civil disobedience as people wake up to the fact that our leaders are failing to tackle the climate crisis.
“They promise Build Back Better but all they do is pour oil on the fire.”
A scientist who was arrested for raising the alarm on climate change went on hunger strike yesterday evening after being denied bail by police. She is also refusing water. Emma Smart, an ecologist, was detained yesterday during a protest with 24 fellow scientists at the UK Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in London on Wednesday. Instead of being released on bail she is being held at Charing Cross Police Station waiting for a court hearing on Saturday.
Along with eight other scientists, Emma has been charged with criminal damage after pasting scientific papers to the Government building and gluing themselves to the glass frontage. Their protests form part of the April Rebellion which is calling for an end to all new fossil fuel investments immediately.
Emma was also one of the Highway 9 who spent time in prison over Christmas for breaking an injunction with Insulate Britain. She said during her trial last year: “This court may see me as being on the wrong side of the law, but in my heart I know I am on the right side of history. I will not be a bystander.” Her determination and courage in the face of the horrors of the climate crisis and the inaction of our leaders is an inspiration to all of us and we send our love and strength to her at this time.
Emma’s husband, Andy Smith, said: “What kind of world do we live in when scientists are forced to put themselves into positions of arrest and hunger strike to be heard? And why has she not been released? This was a minor crime with no disruption to the public. Her treatment is disproportionate to her crime.
“Our politicians are aware of the severity of the climate emergency, every decision should be informed by science, not coerced for profit and greed. Emma knows what’s at stake if we don’t stop fossil fuel investments and she is taking a stand for her nieces future and all those around the world suffering now from this crisis. Everyone must stand with her now and come out on the streets to show the government that change is coming whether they like it or not.”
Air quality scientist Pete Knapp from Scientists for XR said: “The fact that Emma is being held beyond the usual 24 hours shows that the UK Government is effectively at war with climate science. They would rather lock up and silence experts sounding the alarm than do their duty and protect the public from catastrophic climate change. The science is totally clear: we must not drill for new oil and gas. Instead we must move to clean energy as quickly as possible. But our Government only last week declared it will licence new fossil fuel exploration in spite of repeated and dire warnings from scientists that this will lead to disaster. This is the flagrant dereliction of duty that Emma is calling out, and they are locking her up for it.”
dizzy: I’m busy away from the internet tonight and tomorrow a.m.
An oil firm has secured a High Court injunction aimed at stopping environmental protesters from targeting its fuel processing sites.
Valero Energy, which operates Pembroke refinery in Pembrokeshire, South Wales, and six fuel terminals across the UK, was granted the injunction against a number of environmental groups and “persons unknown” earlier this week.
But the judge refused to widen the injunction to include blocking, endangering, slowing down, preventing, or obstructing the free passage of traffic on the access roads, and refusing to leave the roads when asked by police.
I wanted to sound the alarm about oil exploration and the climate crisis, but Good Morning Britain just didn’t want to hear
Civil resistance is really not about protests or marches, it is about responding to a situation beyond our worst nightmares. At Cop26, the people who run things effectively confirmed that they were going to let billions of the poorest people on this planet die in order to keep business as usual going.
Well, to that we say no. We will not continue as generations have before and allow our actions today to have devastating consequences on those tomorrow. It is time to break that cycle and stand up for what is right. “If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now – from this year.”That is a direct quote from Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. He said that last year. Time has quite literally run out. It only takes one quick search on the internet to see what is happening. Somalia. Madagascar. Yemen. Australia. Canada. The climate crisis is destroying lives already and will continue to unless we make a commitment to stop oil now.
Activists have glued themselves to UK government buildings in protest against new oil and gas as Extinction Rebellion continued its week of mass action in London.
XR said scientists – dressed in white lab coats – were taking part in the demonstration on Wednesday, even sticking scientific papers to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on Wednesday.
Campaigners from groups including Stop Cambo and Extinction Rebellion Scotland have staged a sit down protest outside the Market Street building as part of a wave of action against the Jackdaw field
Activists have demanded plans for a new North Sea gas field are rejected in a sit-down protest outside a prominent Edinburgh government office.
Campaigners from the Stop Cambo movement gathered outside the Market Street building on Wednesday afternoon as part of a protest against Shell’s proposed Jackdaw field off the coast of Aberdeenshire.
The energy giant resubmitted an application for the location last week – despite having initial plans turned down by regulators in October – amid encouragement from the UK authorities for firms to ramp up oil and gas production in an effort to reduce energy reliance on Russia.
Just Stop Oil protesters have been arrested on their twelfth day of action as they glued their hands to roads and climbed on top of oil tankers in Essex.
The group launched a demonstration on an oil refinery in Purfleet, Essex
Images shared by Just Stop Oil show protesters on top of tankers in Purfleet with the message: “ We are in civil resistance. This morning we occupied a tanker on the roads near Purfleet terminal to stop the flow of oil”.
The environmental activist group said more than 60 people had been at the site in the City of London since 7am on Tuesday to prevent workers from entering and with the intention of closing the business for the day.
Extinction Rebellion (XR), which encourages supporters to cause disruption through non-violent civil disobedience, said it was demanding that Lloyd’s stops insuring fossil fuel projects.
Tory MPs have criticised Ben Goldsmith and called for his resignation as chair of the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) and a director at Defra after he voiced support for Extinction Rebellion.
The financier and environmentalist, who sits on Defra’s board, has apologised after criticising Labour’s strong stance against the Just Stop Oil protests, during which activists have blockaded fuel distribution terminals. He has said he has no plans to resign.
Anti-fossil fuel activists have vowed to continue blockading oil terminals until they are jailed, as they approached 1,000 arrests for their actions so far.
“Ministers have a choice: they can arrest and imprison Just Stop Oil supporters or agree to no new oil and gas,” Just Stop Oil said on Tuesday morning. “While Just Stop Oil supporters have their liberty the disruption will continue.”
Fuel-blockade activists were taking their first day off in 12 days on Tuesday, after beginning their campaign on 1 April. “We decided to give them a break,” a campaign spokesperson said. About 400 people have been arrested a total of 900 times for taking action so far, according to the campaign.
Extinction Rebellion is continuing its protests this week with bridge blockades, mass outreach and targeted actions, such as today’s shut down of financial institution Lloyd’s of London. The movement is also supporting disruption at oil facilities with the Just Stop Oil coalition.
As petrol pumps around the country begin to run dry, the government has a choice: continue destroying life on Earth by doubling down on oil and gas and supporting corporate interest over people’s lives, or honour the UK’s Paris commitments and change course.
In short, put an end to all new fossil fuel investments immediately.
Extinction Rebellion is told time and again to stop disrupting ordinary people and target the bad guys instead. But it turns out when we disrupt carbon people feel it, as almost everything we do economically relates to – or relies on – oil and gas. We recognise these protests are hitting people now, but as the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres said, we are “on track for an unlivable future” by continuing to invest in fossil fuels. The disruption coming will be far greater and beyond our control unless this stops now.
We are out of time – weather patterns are already destabilised and climate related deaths occurred on almost every continent in 2021. Our current political system is incapable of acting with the speed and integrity needed in this moment of crisis. Life as we know it is going to change, whether or not we choose to act on the climate crisis, and whether or not we like it. The UK government’s refusal to admit this is shameful dishonesty. In the words of its own Environment Agency, we must “adapt or die”.
Activists from Extinction Rebellion blocked the entrances at Lloyd’s of London headquarters and prevented staff from entering the building, with the aim of closing down the insurance and reinsurance giant for the day.
The climate campaigners are is demanding that Lloyd’s of London stop insuring fossil fuels projects, and highlighted the Trans Mountain Pipeline extension in Canada, which they believe is being insured through the Lloyd’s marketplace.
The action is part of the April Rebellion and comes after 10 days of ongoing disruption across the UK from Extinction Rebellion and the Just Stop Oil coalition.
The United Kingdom’s ostensibly leftist Labour Party came under fire Monday after calling for nationwide injunctions to block direct actions by climate campaigners that shut down oil terminals to demand an end to new fossil fuel investments.
“Those protesting against fossil fuel giants should be applauded, not arrested.”
“On the Conservatives’ watch, drivers are being hammered by rising petrol prices and now millions of motorists can’t access fuel,” tweeted Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer. “The government must stop standing idly by and immediately impose injunctions to put an end to this disruption.”
Steve Reed, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, made similar remarks Monday, outraging supporters of the Just Stop Oil (JSO) demonstrations—which started at the beginning of April—along with other leftists within and beyond the U.K.
“The Labour Party has just called for nationwide injunctions against climate protesters who are peacefully demonstrating against fossil fuels for all of our futures,” said Joe Ryle, who campaigns for a four-day work week and serves as the media and communications lead for a think tank.
“This is a disgrace, flies in the face of all the climate science, and will be deeply unpopular with Labour members,” asserted Ryle, a former press officer for the political party.
Former party leader Jeremy Corbyn made clear he disagrees with the push by Labour to criminalize or further block legitimate climate activism directed at the fossil fuel industry.
“We need a Green New Deal and a sustainable planet for future generations,” said Corbyn. “Those protesting against fossil fuel giants should be applauded, not arrested.”
“Absolutely incredible,” declared British columnist Owen Jones. “In Keir Starmer’s game-changing video in the Labour leadership campaign, he was showcased as a crusading lawyer who defended activists from being prosecuted by the state. Now he’s calling for environmental protesters to get locked up!”
Shortages at filling stations reported as campaign obstructs deliveries from fuel terminals in England
Downing Street has condemned the “guerrilla tactics” of protesters who have blockaded fuel distribution terminals, as reports of shortages at petrol station forecourts spread and figures showed a fall in fuel deliveries.
Supporters of the Just Stop Oil campaign have taken action at 11 different fuel terminals in England since the start of the month, blockading and trespassing on sites to stop tankers entering, filling up or leaving to deliver fuel.
Petrol retailers say that the protests are not having a serious impact on deliveries. But there have been dozens of local reports of petrol pumps running dry and Priti Patel, the home secretary, said “people across the country [were] seeing their lives brought to a standstill” by disruption caused by the campaign.
The protesters have vowed to continue taking action until the government agrees on a ban on all new fossil fuel projects. On Monday afternoon, their 11th day of action, several were entering their 31st hour chained to pipework at Inter Terminal in Grays, Essex, the third largest terminal in the country.
One in three petrol stations were forced to close in southern England amid oil terminal protests, according to fuel campaigners.
The Fair Fuel UK Campaign claimed an estimated 1,200 pumps south of the Midlands had run dry on Sunday as action by Just Stop Oil and Extinction Rebellion continued.
Fair Fuel UK wrote on Twitter: “We are getting credible intelligence that 1 in 3 garages have run dry of petrol and/or diesel particularly in the south, because of the ‘stop oil’ amoebas.
Home secretary Priti Patel branded the “selfish” protesters an “eco mob” as she attempted to blame Labour for not supporting the Conservatives’ new draconian police powers in the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill.
She told the Daily Mail: “Hard-working people across our country are seeing their lives brought to a standstill by selfish, fanatical and frankly dangerous so-called activists.
I think that it’s beyond any doubt that they are activists Priti. Selfish and fanatical for trying to save the planet from burning to a crisp? It appears to me that UK government is selfish and fanatical through ignoring the most recent IPCC report comprising the collected wisdom of renowned scientists stating that immediate action is needed.
UK govt line appears to be that the protests are having limited affect in disrupting supplies and that protestors are selfish.
Summary: Scientist Rebellion protests worldwide, fuel shortages happening as protests blocking fuel depots continues, Extinction Rebellion protests at Oxford circus and 2 London bridges at start of protests.
More than 1,000 scientists across the globe chained themselves to the doors of oil-friendly banks, blocked bridges, and occupied the steps of government buildings on Wednesday to send an urgent message to the international community: The ecological crisis is accelerating, and only a “climate revolution” will be enough to avert catastrophe.
“World leaders are still expanding the fossil fuel industry as fast as they can, but this is insane.”
What organizers described as “the world’s largest-ever scientist-led civil disobedience campaign” kicked off just days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest report detailing the grim state of efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C by century’s end, a target set by the Paris accord.
As one of the report’s authors put it during a press call earlier this week, “Unless there are immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, 1.5°C is beyond reach.”
Warning that the IPCC report’s language was watered down at the behest of governments unwilling to rapidly phase out fossil fuels, scientists and their allies took that message further during their direct actions on Wednesday, operating under the slogan “1.5°C is dead, climate revolution now!”
“I’m taking action because I feel desperate,” said U.S. climate scientist Peter Kalmus, who along with several others locked himself to the front door of a JPMorgan Chase building in Los Angeles. A recent report found that the financial giant is the biggest private funder of oil and gas initiatives in the world.
“It’s the 11th hour in terms of Earth breakdown, and I feel terrified for my kids, and terrified for humanity,” Kalmus continued. “World leaders are still expanding the fossil fuel industry as fast as they can, but this is insane. The science clearly indicates that everything we hold dear is at risk, including even civilization itself and the wonderful, beautiful, cosmically precious life on this planet. I actually don’t get how any scientist who understands this could possibly stay on the sidelines at this point.”
Climate activists, including an Olympic gold medallist, have staged a sit-down protest in Oxford Street and Regent Street, blocking traffic in the heart of London’s shopping district to call for no the Government to stop new investment in fossil fuels.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered at Speakers’ Corner at Hyde Park on Saturday morning before marching into the centre of the city’s West End.
Amid a weeklong global civil disobedience campaign to demand climate action commensurate with mounting evidence about the need for swift decarbonization, Scientist Rebellion is highlighting specific gaps between what experts say is necessary and what governments allowed to be published in the United Nations’ latest climate assessment.
“We need a billion climate activists…The time is now. We’ve waited far too long.”
The landmark report on mitigation by Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—part of the U.N.’s sixth comprehensive climate assessment since 1992 and possibly the last to be published with enough time to avert the most catastrophic consequences of the planetary crisis—was compiled by 278 researchers from 65 countries.
The authors, who synthesized thousands of peer-reviewed studies published in the past several years, make clear over the course of nearly 3,000 pages that “without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach.”
Meanwhile, a 64-page Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the report—a key reference point for governments—required the approval of all 195 member states of the IPCC and was edited with their input.
Following a contentious weekend of negotiations in which wealthy governments attempted to weaken statements about green financing for low-income nations and fossil fuel-producing countries objected to unequivocal language about the need to quickly eliminate coal, oil, and gas extraction, the IPCC document was published several hours later than expected on Monday.
“Despite the escalating climate emergency and the total absence of emissions cuts, the framing of the final version of the SPM is still alarmingly reserved, docile, and conservative,” Scientist Rebellion, an international alliance of academics who are advocating for systemic political and economic changes in line with scientific findings, said Tuesday in a statement.
“The science has never been clearer: to have any chance of retaining a habitable planet, greenhouse gas emissions must be cut radically now,” the group continued. “Limiting warming to 1.5°C and responding to the climate emergency requires an immediate transformation across all sectors and strata of society, a mobilization of historic proportions: a climate revolution.”
“The IPCC [has] avoided naming the major culprits for 30 years, which is one reason for the absence of real emissions cuts,” the group added. “Facts detailing the complicity of the world’s richest countries in fueling the climate crisis have been watered down by the IPCC’s political review process.”
Scientist Rebellion proceeded to contrast the final version of the SPM—”the document that garners almost all attention”—to an early draft of a summary of the Working Group III report on mitigation that IPCC authors associated with the group leaked last August out of concern that their conclusions would be diluted by policymakers.
Peter Kalmus, a Los Angeles-based climate scientist and author who is participating in this week’s direct actions, told Common Dreams that the shortcomings of governments and policymakers have driven him to act.
Kalmus said he was willing to engage in civil disobedience and risk arrest this week, “because I’ve tried everything else I can think of over the past decade and nothing has worked. I see humanity heading directly toward climate disaster.”
With humanity “currently on track to lose everything we love,” he said, the scientific community must intensify its efforts.
“If we don’t rapidly end the fossil fuel industry and begin acting like Earth breakdown is an emergency, we risk civilizational collapse and potentially the death of billions, not to mention the loss of major critical ecosystems around the world,” said Kalmus. “This is so much bigger than me. Expect climate scientists to be taking such actions repeatedly in the future and in large numbers.”
On Wednesday, direct actions by scientists took place in Berlin, Germany; The Hague, Netherlands; Bogata, Colombia, and other cities.
In its Tuesday assessment, Scientist Rebellion documented how the political review process weakened or eliminated language about carbon inequality and the need for far-reaching socio-economic transformation to slash greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution in the final SPM:
Example 1: Section B6 of the report originally stated that “institutional inertia and a social bias towards the status quo are leading to a risk of locking in future GHG emissions that may be costly or difficult to abate.” This has been replaced with “global GHG emissions in 2030 associated with the implementation of nationally determined contributions… would make it likely that warming will exceed 1.5°C during the 21st century.” The final version also no longer mentions that “vested interests” and a focus on an “incremental rather than a systemic approach” are limiting factors to ambitious transformation.
Example 2: The leaked SPM stated that “within countries, inequalities increased for both income and GHG emissions between 1970 and 2016, with the top 1% accounting for 27% of income growth,” and that “top emitters dominate emissions in key sectors, for example the top 1% account for 50% of GHG emissions from aviation.” Neither statement appears in the final version.
“While the SPM—being approved line-by-line by all governments—is reserved, docile, and conservative, the situation is clear,” said Scientist Rebellion.
The group went on to quote U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, who said Monday that “we are on a fast track to climate disaster.”
As Common Dreamsreported Monday, more than 1,000 scientists in at least 25 countries on every continent in the world are expected to participate in strikes, occupations, and other actions this week to highlight “the urgency and injustice of the climate and ecological crisis,” and several demonstrations are already underway.
Guterres, for his part, said Monday that “climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals, but the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.”
For his part, Kalmus acknowledged it was going to take much more than a series of direct actions by scientists to turn the tide against inaction.
“We need a billion climate activists,” Kalmus said. “I encourage everyone to consider where we’re heading as a species, and to engage in civil disobedience and other actions. The time is now. We’ve waited far too long.”
“Mobilize, mobilize, mobilize,” he said, “before we lose everything.”
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