• Zoe Cawthorn

The Heat is On: A short Summary of this Week’s Wonderful Work by Climate Change Activists

Last Friday saw a huge global movement challenge the world's governments about their lack of action with tackling climate change. 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg managed to inspire and motivate people worldwide to participate in the schools climate strike, after she began protesting outside the Swedish parliament in 2018. With organisations such as FridaysForFutures and Extinction Rebellion joining together to follow Greta's lead, millions of young people and adults took to the streets in what was reported to be the largest climate protest to date.

It seems the momentum is building. This week a number of reports have shown action being taken in a variety of ways by governments, charities and commercial organisations alike. Here are a few examples of what happened this week in September 2019

  • Saturday 21st: The UN Youth Climate Summit took place in New York, bringing together young climate change activists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and change-makers. Young leaders in climate action from around the world were given the opportunity to showcase their solutions at the United Nations, and to meaningfully engage with decision-makers.

  • Sunday 22nd: The Nature-Based Solutions Coalition of the UN Climate Action Summit hosted a high-level event in New York, to highlight the critical role of nature for climate action. This event explored nature’s full potential for mitigation and adaptation to deliver the Paris Agreement and carbon neutrality by 2050. The event was convened by the UN Secretary-General, and featured many key stakeholders.

  • Monday 23rd: The UN climate summit in New York met in an effort to inject urgency into governments’ pledges to restrict the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, as agreed under the 2015 Paris agreement. Government and private sector leaders at the Summit announced potentially far-reaching steps to confront climate change, and demonstrated growing recognition that the pace of climate action must be rapidly accelerated.

  • Wednesday 25th: Four doctors glued themselves to the building of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in London, as part of an urgent public health warning to UK government officials. The doctors, from the rapidly growing group 'Doctors for XR', took professional risks (they could have been arrested) in order to demonstrate the severity of the climate and ecological crisis. Extinction Rebellion reported: 'The doctors have added to the criticism of the government’s 2050 net zero target, arguing that it is insufficient to protect young people alive today. Words mean nothing without proportionate action and their recent actions don’t match the science, their legal obligations under the Climate Change Act, or their commitments under the Paris Agreement.'

  • Thursday 26th: Swedish newspaper 'Dagens ETC' announced it will stop taking advertising that promotes fossil fuel-based goods and services with immediate effect. The editor of the daily paper said the decision was “crucial for our credibility” and he urged other media outlets to consider doing the same. Its editor-in-chief, Andreas Gustavsson, is convinced that this will prove to be a wise decision in the long term, despite a reduction in advertising revenue of more than 15,000 euros (equivalent). According to The Guardian, he said: “How far can journalism go when it is bankrolled by forces that have everything to gain from blocking large-scale action to address our climate crisis?”.

  • Client Earth launched a legal challenge against giant coal plant Belchatow (Poland), the largest single greenhouse gas emitter in Europe. Belchatow burns 45 million tonnes of lignite (the dirtiest form of coal) every year and has emitted approximately 1 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere over its lifetime. The plant's owner, PGE GiEK, has not presented any official plan to reduce its climate impacts and Client Earth have demanded that the plant operators stop burning lignite in the plant – or take measures to eliminate its CO2 emissions – by 2035 at the latest.

  • Friday 27th: The climate strikes continue! Well done to everybody taking to the streets today to fight for our future.