Youth stand with vulnerable to demand climate justice

By Morgan Curtis. 3 december, 2015. The New Internationalist. Retrieved from here.

Young delegates inside the Paris climate summit were frustrated that the media were ignoring key issues. So yesterday, they took matters into their own hands, Morgan Curtis reports.

“My daughter is 7 days, 20 hours old. I really should not have left her, or her mother, but I am here, speaking for her.” With that declaration of love, Dingdong Dantes, youth commissioner for the Philippines, silenced the room. He was speaking at a high level announcement from the Climate Vulnerable Forum inside COP21 on Monday evening: a brave call from the countries most vulnerable to climate impacts to demand climate justice. Joined by leaders from Costa Rica, Bangladesh and Ethiopia, they issued the Manila-Paris Declaration, boldly demanding climate change be limited to 1.5ºC by all countries signing on to a long term goal of decarbonization by 2050.

In the days previous, youth from around the world gathered at the 11th Conference of Youth to launch a campaign: #ZeroBy2050. We sat in circles, some of us on the floor, for many a meeting, and discussed how we could best push for some sort of outcome from COP21. As young people we have been alive as long at these conferences have been happening, at most. We feel the impacts of climate change now, and don’t often allow ourselves to imagine our futures. We started wearing a circle of face paint around our right eyes to symbolize 0 – zero fossil fuels by 2050, necessary to keep warming below 1.5ºC. Some of us have the immense privilege to be accredited to be working inside the UN space. In here, our face paint says we are watching you.

Not everyone’s voice is heard at the UN. The historic announcement on Monday from the world’s most vulnerable countries was drowned out by coverage of the world’s leaders. On Tuesday, YOUNGO, the youth constituency, held a formal press conference to articulate our demands. Four journalists came. One question was asked. How to get their attention?

With Paris under state of emergency no more than two people may gather in a public space with a shared political message. Inside COP21, it is always a state of emergency. Every banner must be approved by the UN. You must stand in a certain place, and deliver specific messaging. You may not call out any individual country. You must apply to take action 24 hours in advance. You may not be approved.

Our approval came through. Circles showed up again during late night banner painting at the art space. We sang together. We laughed together. We spilled paint and covered it over with a hastily sketched clenched fist. We drafted press releases, recruited photographers and refined messaging. We approached random journalists in the hallways and asked if they would come.

‘Growing up in foothills of the Himalayas, I was 10 years old when I realised the urgency of climate action. I began to see the mountains melt, glacial lakes flood, and the human impacts of the climate crisis on the 2.3 million people who depend on it for fresh water and natural resources,’ said Sagar Aryal, 20, standing before the crowd of press with nearly one hundred young people from around the world behind him. Sagar was 10 years old when he founded the Sano Sansar Initiative for climate action in Nepal. He’s here in Paris as Coordinator of Climate Strike, a global movement of young people skipping school for climate action. After Sagar came AJ from the Marshall Islands. ‘I want you guys to look at me, and think about my people,’ he said. ‘One point five to survive, one point five to strive,” and the crowd began to chant: One point five to stay alive. One point five to stay alive.

A crowd gathered outside of the building after the action. We were surrounded by the flags of the world, outside the security that keeps the citizens from their ‘leaders. Daniel Jubelirer, RYSE Youth Council member of Earth Guardians, had brought together a second group of young people: those not accredited to be on the inside. They all had O’s around their eyes as well. ‘Take off your badges,’ someone cautioned those of who had just come out. ‘We don’t know what’s going to happen.’

We began to sing. Quietly at first.

People gonna rise like the water
Gonna calm this crisis down
I hear the voice of my great grand-daughter
Saying one point five C now

We walked through the flags of the world, heading towards the ‘Green Zone’, the public area of COP21. This space, controlled by the French police instead of UN security, does not have yet have any protocol for actions. Bolstered by supportive cheers and the growing size of our group, we unfurled our banners and formed a march through the booted and suited delegates heading back inside.

A line of x-ray machines and security met us. Banners stuffed in backpacks, we spread out and each made it through successfully. We were soon surrounded. Close to 25 police gathered around us, faces solid, preventing us from entering the building. Before we knew it, we were back outside. The police closed up the banners, and summoned representatives from the UN secretariat. No one was allowed to leave. Anyone entering the building with a painted eye was stopped and brought to join us.

Daniel Jubelirer
Police with banner. Daniel Jubelirer

‘Today we are detained by the police for our eye make-up. Of course. We are in the fashion capital of the world,’ Maria Theresa Lauron, from the Philippines, had joined us as we marched. Banners confiscated, we were put back in one security line, for an even more thorough search to be undertaken. We gathered one-by-one on the other side, shaken, and formed a circle, holding hands. Tetet spoke, this time not a spokesperson to a crowd of journalists, but to each of us, human to human. ‘We stand here with you young people from the US, the belly of the beast. The country with the world’s second highest global emissions and most historical debt to the South. You are choosing to speak truth to power. For us, fighting for climate justice is not a choice. It is a necessity.’

Emboldened by Tetet’s words, we picked up our song once more, marching and gathering smiles and camera snaps all around the building: one point five C now… Hearing word that security was now diverting all those with the painted 0, we washed our faces clean and were let back inside the UN, for now.

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Paris climate summit: hackers leak login details of more than 1,000 officials

By Francis Churchill. The Guardian. Thursday 3 december 2015. Retrieved from here.

Private data including emails, usernames and phone numbers of 1,415 delegates posted online by Anonymous in protest against arrests of activists.

Hackers have leaked the private login details of nearly 1,415 officials at the UN climate talks in Paris in an apparent act of protest against arrests of activists in the city.

Anonymous, the hacktivist movement, hacked the website of the summit organisers, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and posted names, phone numbers, usernames, email addresses, and secret questions and answers onto an anonymous publishing site.

Anonymous claimed the attack was an act of protest against the arrest of protesters on a climate march in Paris on Sunday. Climate activists organising a peaceful protest say that the demonstration was hijacked by a small group of anarchists who clashed with police. All public protests have been banned in the city since a state of emergency was declared after the terror attacks nearly three weeks ago.

Officials whose data has been leaked are from a range of countries including the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Peru, France, and the US. Employees of the British Council and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs are among the British officials whose data is now in the public domain.

“For the UNFCCC itself it’s embarrassing,” says Oliver Farnan, security researcher at the Cyber Security Network in Oxford University. “The specific attack that was used [an SQL injection attack] is a well-known vulnerability … To have their entire user database compromised in this way demonstrates a lack of focus on security,” he said.

Farnan also said that the password encryption used by the UNFCCC appeared to be an “old and weak hashing algorithm,” that should have been “phased out”.

However the damage is likely to limited, and mitigated by changing the passwords on any accounts that use similar passwords.

“Although it’s embarrassing, it’s essential to ensure that their users don’t get compromised in follow on attacks,” Farnan said.

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Paris climate activists put under house arrest using emergency laws

By Arthur Neslen. The Guardian. Friday 27 November 2015. Retrieved from here.

French police arrest activist for flouting ban on organising protests during climate talks next week

At least eight climate activists have been put under house arrest by French police, accused of flouting a ban on organising protests during next week’s Paris climate summit, the Guardian has learned.

One legal adviser to the activists said many officers raided his Paris apartment and occupied three floors and a staircase in his block.

French authorities did not respond to requests for comment but lawyers said that the warrants were issued under state of emergency laws, imposed after the terror attacks that killed 130 people earlier this month.

The author and climate change campaigner, Naomi Klein, accused French authorities of “a gross abuse of power that risks turning the summit into a farce”.

“Climate summits are not photo opportunities to boost the popularity of politicians,” she told the Guardian. “Given the stakes of the climate crisis, they are by their nature highly contested. That is democracy, messy as it may be. The French government, under cover of anti-terrorism laws, seems to be trying to avoid this, shamefully banning peaceful demonstrations and using emergency powers to pre-emptively detain key activists.”

Since Thursday, three people have been placed under house arrest in Rens, two in Paris, two in Rouen and one in Lyons, according to campaigners. They may now only leave their houses to sign a post office register verifying their whereabouts, three times a day.

Joel Domenjoud, a legal activist, said that he had been served with a restraining order wrongly describing him as a “principal leader of the ultra-left movement” just hours after a judge refused to hear an appeal against the ban on the climate demo that he had petitioned for.

“I wasn’t there when they came to my house but my neighbour called me to say ‘What’s wrong? The stairs are full of cops from the first to the third floor!’” he said.

Domenjoud says he was then followed by several undercover officers, before returning home, where he was served with the restraining notice.

“I feel angry about it because I think they made a big mistake,” Domenjoud added. “They weren’t looking for people like us activists – or if they were, it shows that they can target people for no reason at all and our civil liberties are in danger.”

Several sources said that officers also raided three squats in Paris – and more across the country – seizing computers, documents and personal effects.

Thousands of climate campaigners, including Vandana Shiva, have vowed to defy the blanket ban on demonstrations. One protest on Sunday will be protected by a ‘human chain’, while a day of civil disobedience will take place when the summit ends on 12 December, dubbed as ‘red lines’ day.

Numbers are expected to be smaller than previously hoped, but artists have been working around the clock on creations such as a series of ‘inflatable cobble stones’, alluding to a famous slogan from the May 1968 protests: Beneath the cobble stones the beach.

Some protesters argue that the permission granted to football matches, trade fairs and Christmas markets in Paris over the summit period suggests that the authorities’ real concern is to suppress dissent.

“We are trying to find grey areas in the law,” said John Jordan, a prominent activist. “At the moment, a demonstration is legally defined as more than two people who share a political message. We are trying to find creative ways around these laws.”

During recent protests by Quebec students, participant numbers were kept to below 50 on each march, to avoid a prohibition order.

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Heathrow protesters block entrance tunnel to Terminals 1, 2 and 3

By Damien Gayle. The Guardian. 26-11-2015. Retrieved from here.

Campaign group Plane Stupid parked van across road at 7.40am, and police say protesters removed and road reopened by about 11.10am

Environmental activists caused disruption at Heathrow during rush hour by parking a van across the entrance tunnel to Terminals 1, 2 and 3 and locking themselves to the vehicle so that it could not be moved.

The campaign group Plane Stupid said three of its members parked the van across the tunnel at 7.40am and unfurled a banner quoting David Cameron’s election promise: “No ifs, no buts: no third runway.”

The Metropolitan police said they were called to the scene soon after, and by 8.40am officers had made five arrests for “obstruction-related offences”. The force said the protesters were removed and the road reopened by about 11.10am.

A video posted to Twitter showed a small white van parked across both lanes of the carriageway inside the tunnel, with traffic backed up behind it. Motorists held up by the protest had got out of their vehicles but appeared calm.

On the side of the parked van there was a banner that said “No new runways”. In the video, a protester is lying next to the front left wheel of the vehicle, presumably locked to it.

The demonstration blocked the inbound section of the tunnel. A contraflow system was put in place on the outbound section in an effort to clear the traffic.

Cameron Kaye, a spokesman for Plane Stupid, said the protest was being staged to draw attention to concerns about the impact a third runway could have on the environment.

“Airport expansion would wreck the legally binding Climate Change Act, risking wiping out 55% of species this century and displacing 75 million more people from their homes by 2035,” Kaye said in a statement on the group’s website.

“If aviation growth isn’t reduced, by 2037 aviation alone could emit all of the carbon it’s safe for the UK to emit. The government needs to choose: build new runways or stop climate chaos. It’s that simple.”

A spokesman for Heathrow said passengers planning to travel to the airport by road should set off earlier.

“We can confirm there is a protest taking place in the inbound tunnel which is currently affecting traffic around the central terminal area and Terminals 2 and 3 at Heathrow,” the spokesman said. “Police are now on site but we urge passengers to allow extra time getting to the airport today.”

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Can the Paris Talks Save the Amazon?

During COP21, the International Rights of Nature Tribunal will also meet in Paris. Can Ecuador protect Yasuni National Park—and how can other countries learn from South America?

With tens of thousands of climate officials converging on Paris at the end of the month to seek an international agreement on global warming, environmentalists are reviving a controversial plan to protect a pristine stretch of the Amazon’s Yasuni National Park, which teems with biodiversity and is home to tribes living in voluntary isolation. (more…)

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‘This Changes Everything’: What the Paris attacks mean for the climate protests

By Claire Fauset, on November 17, 2015, for New Internationalist blog.

Key organizers are pushing for the climate marches and protests to go ahead in Paris despite threats of a government clampdown (see last night’s press statements by and Climate Coalition 21). Claire Fauset, one of many climate justice activists planning to attend the talks, explains why it’s more important than ever to take action in Paris.

This changes everything. The title of Naomi Klein’s book on the urgency of the fight to stop capitalism destroying our planet was the phrase that immediately came to mind as the horror of the Paris terror attacks settled on my brain last Friday night. I was with friends recording poems and snippets for a radio project during the climate summit, and all our thoughts were already in Paris. (more…)

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Paris attacks – COP21 and the war on terror

By Oliver Tickell, The Ecologist, 14th November 2015.

Is it a coincidence that the terrorist outrage in Paris was committed weeks before COP21, the biggest climate conference since 2009? Perhaps, writes Oliver Tickell. But failure to reach a strong climate agreement now looks more probable. And that’s an outcome that would suit ISIS – which makes $500m a year from oil sales – together with other oil producers.

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COP 21: movements rally to Paris for climate justice

By Skye Bougsty-Marshall On November 8, 2015. For

The COP 21 summit in Paris is approaching, but while the situation is grim the planned social movement mobilizations offer hope and opportunities.

Photo by Alberto Ñiquén.

We know how it all started — colonialism was the original metabolic rift in our history, which has been profoundly extended and deepened by industrial capitalism. Yet as we enter the 6th mass extinction, there is an ambient sense that there is no alternative to this way of life.

We collectively hallucinate that the present order of things will persist indefinitely, silently abiding the comfort and enslavement this disposition provides, all the while waiting for the apocalypse we are living through to blossom fully.

Many have been waiting for the totalizing revolution that appears as a vanishing point on a receding horizon, a perpetually deferred future. The intersecting ecological and climate crises stand as a refutation of more than a hundred years of left-wing teleology that ‘in the end we will win.’ Instead they reinforce the need for constant molecular struggles to open and expand cracks for resistance and new forms of life to flourish.


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On ‘D12’, we will draw our red lines in Paris

By John Jordan. Red pepper. November 2015. Retrieved from here.

John Jordan writes on the climate justice movement’s call for mass disobedience in Paris on 12 December, and beyond.

Two months ago I was running through the deep sand of an open-cast coal mine. I was running for life – for life everywhere – and I was being chased by German riot police. But I wasn’t alone. There were 1,500 of us and we had all pledged to non-violently block the gargantuan excavators with our bodies, thus shutting down Europe’s largest source of CO2 emissions for a day.

The action was named ‘Ende Gelände’ (‘Here and no further’), and we succeeded in what was one of the largest acts of direct action against fossil fuels ever in Europe. In that apocalyptic lifeless landscape we drew a line in the sand: if you, the toxic blend of governments and corporations, don’t stop digging the fossil fuels out of the ground, something all the climate science warns us we have to do now and not later, then we will do it for you.


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Activists promise largest climate civil disobedience ever at Paris summit

Thousands expected to take part in ‘red line’ blockades of Paris climate summit, after two weeks of colourful protests that have been dubbed ‘the Climate Games’

To read this article in French, click here.

By , The Guardian. 8 October 2015. Retrieved from here

Thousands of climate change campaigners have promised to blockade a major UN climate summit in Paris with what they say will be non-violent direct action on a scale Europe has not seen before.


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