This May, thousands of people from around the world will join actions taking place across 6 continents aiming to halt dirty fossil fuel operations and demonstrate support for an accelerated ‘just transition’ to 100% renewable energy. Major actions are currently planned in countries such as Indonesia, Nigeria, Brazil, US, Germany, Philippines, Australia and more - led by the communities that have spent years already fighting dangerous fossil fuel projects.
“Hot on the heels of the largest ever climate mobilisations in history activists are once again stepping back into the ring to strike a body blow against a fossil fuel industry that’s on its knees.” said Wael Hmaidan, the Director of Climate Action Network. “More and more people are joining the fight because they see how fossil fuels are destroying the planet, risking the economy, and creating injustice for local communities. The movement is here to stay, there is no end to it, until the final bell tolls for the fossil fuel industry.”
On the back of the hottest year in recorded history, communities worldwide are demanding governments put words into action after delivering the historic Paris Agreement in December where 196 parties signalled the end of the the fossil fuel era. In order to address the current climate crisis and keep global warming below 1.5C degrees fossil fuel projects need to be shelved and existing infrastructure needs to be replaced, now.
“The science is clear: we need to keep at least 80%, if not more, of fossil fuel reserves in the ground,” said Payal Parekh, the Global Managing Director of 350.org, “communiti es worldwide are experiencing first hand the consequences of climate change and the damage inflicted by the fossil fuel industry. It’s up to us to break free from fossil fuels and accelerate the shift towards a just transition to 100% renewable energy. It’s in our hands to close the gap between what current commitments will achieve and what science demands is necessary in order to protect our common home.”
The climate movement’s commitment to scaling up its resistance to the fossil fuel industry comes at a time when renewable energy is already more affordable and widespread than ever before. These new tools give communities at the front lines of climate change new ways to respond to the crisis and build their own power.
“Moving towards 100% renewable energy is possible with the political will to make the change” said Arif Fiyanto, Coal Campaigner at Greenpeace Indonesia. “There are no major economic or technical barriers to a future supported by renewable energy. Any new infrastructure built to support fossil fuels expansion, such as coal mines, power plants, oil rigs and export terminals will be a waste of money and further lock us into a path to irreversible climate change”
Post-Paris, the fossil fuel industry is running scared with prices plunging and companies going bankrupt. Now, ramped up civil disobedience will show that the industry’s social licence to operate is fast evaporating. Such peaceful civil disobedience brings people from all walks of life, and not just seasoned climate activists, to challenge both politicians and polluters to accelerate the unstoppable energy transition already underway.
One such example is last year’s Ende Gelände (Here And No Further), which saw 1500 people take part in a daring act of civil disobedience to shut down Europe’s biggest source of CO2 emissions. On the urgency at hand, Hannah Eichberger from this grassroots anti-coal alliance said: “It’s time now for a grassroots energy transition that does not only exchange one source of energy for the other but that tackles the root causes of natural destruction and social injustice: corporate power.”
The struggles against the fossil fuel industry and the environmental, social, economic and political destruction they’ve wielded has been underway across regions for many years.
"Fossil fuels have brought horrendous pollutions to the Niger Delta alongside unimaginable human rights abuses while severely harming communities, said Nnimmo Bassey, Nigerian activist from the Health of Mother Earth Foundation, “We cannot allow fossil fuel addicts to burn the planet. The time for the shift is now. No one will set us free. We must break free ourselves, now" he added.
These peaceful worldwide mobilisations taking place in May serve as an important point in the climate movement’s trajectory to increase pressure on the fossil fuel industry. The global struggle to finally break free from fossil fuels will continue making this a struggle the world cannot ignore.