Guess what, it’s not just you and me that are growing tired of fossil fuels. Thousands of people around the world have taken part in what some people call “the largest ever global civil disobedience against fossil fuels”. There have been dozens of activists arrested because they tried to shut down coalmines, rail infrastructure and a large port.
These protests have been held for over two weeks now, countries included in these protests are: UK, US, Australia, South Africa and Indonesia. The protester came with a strong and clear message, keep oil, coal and gas in the ground, not above it.
A coalition of a large variety of different environment groups, called the actions ‘break free’, and they are pushing to completely shift away from fossil fuel and use renewable energy instead.
Bill McKibben, founder of the climate group called 350.org, says: “This is the hottest year we’ve ever measured, and so it is remarkably comforting to see people rising up at different parts of the world to insist on a change”.
Around 50 or so protesters were arrested in the state of Washing for trespassing as they camped out on large railroad tracks. But these tracks weren’t just any tracks, they are mainly used for transporting oil to Shell and Tesoro refineries. The protesters action managed to close down the whole rail line over the weekend.
In Washington DC thousands of people marched in a call for Obama to call off the offshore drilling for oil and gas. At the same time, a thousand people protested against the newly planned expansion of a BP refinery in Chicago. Five people were also arrested in Albaby, New York, for attempting to stop a train transporting fossil fuel.
And it’s not just the US seeing protesters taking action. Australia had a group of kayakers using inflatable kayaks trying to shut down the world’s largest coal port in Newcastle. Around hundreds of people invaded the largest opencast coalmine in the UK, which is located in South Wales. The largest opencast mine in Europe, which is located in Germany was also attacked by protesters trying to shut it down.
More of these activities have taken place in Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa and also Canada. Some of the biggest protests took place in Indonesia and the Philippines, combined together there was an estimate of 10,000 people marching together.
Many of the protesters have expressed anger towards last year’s climate deal, which were supposed to have nations around Europe keep global temperatures below 2 degrees Celsius. But somehow the exclusion of fossil fuels were not included in this deal.
These protests couldn’t happen any time sooner, as we’ve already covered in a previous article, the global temperatures around the world have been broken 7 months in a row, with April being the hottest one ever recorded. These global temperatures were aided by a hefty El Niño, which caused the drought in Africa, corals around Australia to perish and the Arctic to experience a new low in ice.
Scientists were surprised as the 400PPM milestone was reached way sooner than expected. Sadly a large amount of warmth has already been locked in, which no future emissions cuts will help. This warmth will lead to the sea level rising, food become all more insecure and will also lead to extreme weather events around the world.
On a more positive note, global renewable energy grew by 8.3% last year, solar and wind technology are now outpacing new coal facilities. Data from the gridnetwork in the UK showed that the amount of electricity provided by coal reached zero several times last week.
The US energy information administration have however warned that fossil fuels will stay make up 75% of energy production up to 2014. The cause for this is caused by non-OECD countries like India and China.
Naomi Klein, author and climate activist says:” This is a race against time. Our movement is stronger than ever, but to beat the odds, we have to grow stronger”.