2011 events

Protest against biofuels fuelling climate meltdown

Saturday 22nd October

At  DECC – Department of Energy & Climate Change

Protesters gathered outside the Department of Energy and Climate Change offices calling for the end of subsidies for bioenergy, in a demonstration organised by Biofuelwatch with the support of Campaign against Climate Change.

As a public consultation on the financing of renewable electricity launched last week, campaigners warn that government proposals to prioritise bioenergy over wind and solar will speed up global warming and cause human suffering across the globe. Campaigners travelled from as far as the Isle of Wight, Scotland, Bristol, Port Talbot in Wales, and Manchester to unite in a common call.

Bioenergy currently accounts for 82.5% of the UK’s renewable energy generation. But Biofuelwatch and Campaign against Climate Change warn that bioenergy power generation, which involves burning fuels such as wood pellet from Brazil and palm oil from Malaysia, speeds up deforestation, climate change and land-grabbing in the global South. Last month, the European Environment Agency cautioned that Governments across Europe are ignoring the true carbon costs of bioenergy, and that it can release more carbon emissions than traditional fossil fuels.

However, the new government proposals will allow for a boom in biomass and energy crop imports, as biomass and bioliquids remain eligible for Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs). In addition, the proposals include new increased support for the enhanced cofiring of biomass and biomass conversion. Enhanced cofiring refers to stations which combust biomass and coal, but which will switch to full biomass in the future.

Biofuelwatch has estimated that the existing subsidies for bioenergy have already caused a surge of at least 42 new planning applications for bioenergy power stations across the UK, which, if built, will cost the public £3 billion in subsidies each year.

Earlier this year, the UN identified the UK as the third largest land grabbing country after China and Saudi Arabia with over a million hectares acquired for biofuel production, mostly in Africa. This area represents about 10% of UK agricultural land.

Emilia Hanna, Biofuelwatch campaigner, said, 'Colonialism continues because of our consumption addiction in the West, in Europe, in the UK, and in the areas where people have travveled from. The government's latest proposal to continue the subsidies for biomass and bioliquids is what is fuelling our addiction. Companies are promised profit, so thay are going for biomass and bioliquids on a massive scale, with 60 million tonnes of wood and 400000 tonnes of bioliquid demanded per year. This will come mainly from overseas leading to more land grabbing and more forest destruction. We are here to show that we are united in our call of NO to subsidies for biofuels and biomass, and YES to reducing our consumption in the West.'

Biomass use is also incredibly polluting and can release more emissions than ordinary fossil fuels, threatening people's right to live in a healthy environment. Jayne Dillon, campaigning against a biomass incinerator in Trafford, near Manchester, said, 'We are facing a proposed 25 year sentence of biomass incineration in our suburban, family-based community in Manchester. We already tolerate elevated levels of air pollution and we are determined that this dirty technology which releases a wide range of harmful emissions, including arsenic, will not be built. Too much evidence exists which associates these air pollutants with serious illnesses and deaths and this cannot not be ignored. We don’t want this incinerator to operate and generate profit at the expense of our health, as the burden of decisions made now will be carried for decades.'

See more on the CCC Biofuels page or find  more information about ROCs on the Biofuelwatch website here.

Learn more about biofuels, come and discuss how to stop this destructive bandwagon, at the Biofuels workshop at the Climate Justice Conference on Saturday the 12th November.


Public Meeting: The real cost of subsidies for biofuel and biomass electricity

Biofuelwatch in association with CCC organised a public meeting entitled “The real cost of subsidies for biofuel and biomass electricity” . The venue was filled to capacity as for three hours the hall heard from speakers including Elias Mtinda (Food Rights Coordinator for ActionAid Tanzania), Kenneth Richer (Friends of the Earth), Emilia Hanna (Biofuelwatch), Sarah Clayton (AirportWatch) talk about the insanity of subsidising biomass and biofuel instead of real renewables like wind and solar. Presentations from the event can be downloaded here. Videos of some of the speeches are below:


Camp Frack

Report From Camp Frack

Photo credit: Adela Nistora
                                      Click here for more photos from the weekend

Camp Frack was a huge success!  It attracted activists from all around the country as well as local residents who were a big part of the camp's success. There was lots of media coverage.  Have a look at the video reports below on Camp Frack, as well as footage from the demo.

The Saturday was spent with a host of lively workshops and also planning sessions to build the campaign. For some there was also time to take the message into Preston, unfurling our monster anti-fracking banner outside the County Council building before taking the message to shoppers in the centre (see photos clickable above).  On Sunday the weather cheered up for our march out to the drilling rig (as close as we were allowed) - which was led by REAF (see below) members and was fantastic fun for all. The atmosphere was full of positivity and infectious good cheer, building a real sense of solidarity between all the different groups involved (see photos and video below)

Involved in the camp, as well as the Campaign against Climate Change was local group 'Ribble Estuary against Fracking' (REAF) , national anti-fracking group 'Frack Off', various Climate Camp groups (eg Liverpool and Yorkshire) as well as members from Friends of the Earth groups and  the Cooperative Society - as well as individuals from all over!



News coverage of the camp

The Guardian - Camp Frack mobilises against UK shale gas well

BBC News - Shale gas drilling protest camp sets up in Lancashire

Liverpool Echo - Environmentalists join Southport protest camp against fracking shale gas drilling

Blackpool Gazette - United front will halt the frackers

OilVoice - Camp Frack Urges Cuadrilla To Suspend Fraccing At Lancashire



Following Camp Frack, on Wednesday 21st September, Cuadrilla Resources held a Press Conference at the Imperial hotel, Blackpool, announcing it had discovered huge amounts of gas (200 trillion cubic feet), was planning to drill at least 400 wells in Lancashire to extract it, and promising thousands of jobs would be created as a result (there may have been strong financial reasons why Cuadrilla needed to publish good results now: see here and doubts have now been cast on their claims - see here) .  This was a major media offensive from Cuadrilla but having heard the news we srambled to get there and were able to organise a small but noisy protest outside the meeting (see posed photo at start of demo below). We were able to give the other side of the argument highlighting not only the destructive environmental impacts of fracking but also the need for investment in the renewable energy industry, creating jobs in that sector rather than in another fossil fuel - which will increase the  levels of carbon dioxide emissions and lead us further down the path to climate catastrophe.

BBC News - Shale gas firm finds 'vast' gas resources in Lancashire

ITV News - Blackpool Gas Hotspot

Caroline Lucas - Fracking must be halted until we know more

Channel 4 News - Shale gas find in Lancashire fuels protests (video below)


Beforehand, Camp Frack had amassed interest from the media, including The Guardian and the Blackpool Gazette. George Monbiot also wrote an editorial on fracking mentioning the camp.

  • Caroline Lucas and Michael Meacher have submitted an EDM calling for a moratorium on coal bed methane, shale oil and shale gas. Read it here and get your MP to sign it. Download a template letter to send to your MP here.
See about the anti-fracking banner placed 500 feet up Blackwall Tower here.
See our shale gas page here.
To download a flier about fracking (you could improve it or make your own!) click here. You can also download a Word version for editing here.

Finally for an irreverent light-hearted view of the Blackpool gas "bonanza" see here.



Fracking Hell? What will shale gas mean for the UK?

Public Meeting, Tuesday 19th July
in the Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London.


Listen to the sound recording of this meeting:

Supported by Artists Project Earth Image
Sign the APE anti-fracking petition here.


Kevin Anderson
Professor Kevin Anderson is Director of the Tyndall° Centre for Climate Change Research which has recently produced a report “Shale gas: a provisional assessment of climate change and environmental impacts” which recommends a moratorium on drilling shale gas in the UK. Kevin Anderson has been outspoken on the need for scientists not to pull any punches in communicating the gravity of the climate crisis to policy makers.
Caroline Lucas
Caroline Lucas is the UK’s first Green MP (Brighton Pavilion) and leader of the Green Party of England and Wales. She has supported the call for a moratorium on shale gas and condemned a report from the Energy and Climate Change Committee which concluded there was no need for a moratorium.
Michael Meacher
Michael Meacher, Labour  MP for Oldham West and Royton, was Minister of State for the Environment May 1997 to June 2003. He has long represented the environmental conscience of the Labour Party and has outlined in his blog the case against shale gas.
Phil Mitchell
Phil Mitchell is chair of the Blackpool Greens and has headed the local campaign against the exploratory drilling for shale gas, that has already started in the area. Cuadrilla Resources is already at work with two drilling rigs in the area – the first in the UK.



Hydraulic fracturing” or “fracking” for shale gas is taking off in the UK. This newly developed technology allows the exploitation of previously untappable reserves of natural gas. Its already big in the US but it has caused a storm of protest there, which has even inspired an Oscar-nominated film.

ImageWe are just seeing the start – up in the Blackpool area – of something that could get much, much bigger in the UK Will we see the many cases of contamination of drinking water and other pollution incidents that we have seen in the US, here in the UK? Will we, too, be able to set fire to our tap water because it contains so much methane?

But more worrying still, will we see a diversion of resources and investment away from renewable energy to the development of another source of fossil fuel? Will we be investing in infrastructure that will lock us into a fossil fuel economy for yet longer into the future? On a world wide scale are we going to see the development of more and more unconventional fossil fuels increasing the total amount of carbon we can spew into the atmosphere and delaying until far too late the clean break we need to make away from the fossil fuel economy and into the green renewably-powered economy? Is shale gas, in other words, just another part of our recipe for global climate suicide?

See further here.




Saturday July 16th

Actions and events took place all around the country promoting the goal of a 'Zero Carbon Britain by 2030'
The message taken to the heart of the capital...

See the Zero Carbon Britain Day page here for a  list of actions and events around the country.  We will post news of the events when we get it...

On a day on which the weather made immersion in water seem anyway highly likely... many actions around the country used the theme of “Zero Carbon Britain before we drown” or similar, involving semi-submergence in water near a local landmark.

You can order a free 8-page ZCB 2030 pamphlet  to find out about and promote the Zero Carbon Britain 2030 Report produced by the Centre for Alternative Technology, (CAT) which outlines a practical, well researched plan for reaching a zero carbon economy by 2030. E-mail bruce.heagerty@mail.cat.org.uk with 'Zero Carbon Britain Day' in the subject line).

Lobby your MP to sign Early Day Motion 853 which calls for Zero Carbon Britain by 2030. To lobby your MP using our information hub see here.

Send us news of any action or event you took part in at  info@campaigncc.org!


No backtracking on climate!

Climate activists braved an early start at 8.00am on the morning of Monday 16th May to demonstrate outside the Lib Dem HQ, at 4 Cowley Street, Westminster - as part of the battle to make sure the government does not cave in to short term economic interests and weaken climate targets.


They handed in a letter before moving on to Downing Street at 8.45am.

See photos here and here. See Guardian blog here.

The demonstration took place after the Observer had reported that the combined pressure of the Green Movement had borne fruit and the Government had now accepted the recommendations made by the independent Committee on Climate Change, for relatively ambitious cuts in emissions up to 2030..However more recent news suggests the picture is much more complicated as to precisely how much of the recommendations the government is agreeing to. See here and here. A public statement is expected on Tuesday.

This is how the story unfolded from early last week:

On Monday May 9th The Guardian broke the story that the chief executive of the Committee on Climate Change warned that a key cabinet decision on whether or not to stick to the UK's climate change targets was imminent, describing it as "the key test of the government's green credentials".

Later that day, Friends of the Earth called for Chris Huhne, the minister for Energy and Climate Change to resign if his fellow ministers renege on targets. Soon, George Monbiot had penned an article about it and the Guardian printed a follow-up story, claiming that Vince Cable had clashed with Huhne, arguing that an aggressive level of cuts would be "would be detrimental to UK", arguing instead for a weaker target. This led to public outcry, with the heads of 15 environmental NGOs writing an open letter to the Prime Minister, as well as the leader of the opposition and former Energy and Climate Change minister Ed Miliband writing his own letter.
The letter handed in by activists took the form of a reminder to the Lib Dems and to the government, that despite the apparent victory for the greener forces within the government we are still courting climate disaster until we see a real quantum leap in the scale of our response to the climate crisis.

This is because – in particular:

1) The Committee on Climate Change recommends an increase in the use of biofuels which will do more harm than good.

2) The Committee’s recommendations do not take into account the effective outsourcing of a large proportion of UK emissions to countries like China to feed our increased demand for consumer goods.

3) In the light of the latest science, the targets enshrined in the Climate Act are inadequate. This is what those at the sharp end of scientific research into climate change are saying, like Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Centre who says we need something more like 10% cuts a year, or James Hansen who heads the climate research effort at NASA who says that two degrees of warming is too dangerous.

See the full letter here.


Nuclear Power - the Great Debate

ImageThe question being debated was "Nuclear Power has no place in the fight against Climate Change: it is simply a diversion which leads us away from the real answer, renewable energy" as the SOAS lecture room heard from both sides of the argument. Stephen Tindale (ex Executive Director of Greenpeace but a recent convert to the case for nuclear) and Darren Johnson, Green Party chair of the London Assembly Environment Committee and career-long anti-nuclear campaigner both made convincing cases for expanding and curtailing nuclear power respectively.

First off, Stephen Tindale (pictured above left) described how he supports nuclear as a "bridging technology" - between the fossil fuel era and the ultimate goal of 100% renewable energy, and that nuclear is preferable to coal, which is what he predicts will replace nuclear power stations if they are shut as a result of the Fukushima disaster.

Next, Darren Johnson told the audience how opposition to nuclear power was at the core of his motivation on environmental issues, and that nuclear power was simply too dangerous and expensive to be practical in the fight against climate change, saying that renewables are the only option.

The evening was rounded off with questions from the floor covering topics from Combined Heat and Power to renewable gas and climate jobs. The debate was well attended and enjoyed by the audience with many more in the audience at the end of the evening than when the debate began.


Action on Climate Change is not "Red Tape"

Urgent Demonstration outside the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills
Thursday, 21st April  from 5.00 pm to 6.30 pm

The government is defining the Climate Act,  crucial legislation against the greatest threat facing humanity, as “red tape”.

Not only that, but a host of other environmental legislation like the Wildlife and Countryside Act are potentially being thrown on the deregulation bonfire.

See further: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2011/apr/17/environment-green-laws-red-tape

and https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-innovation-skills

This looks like the thin end of the wedge of a trend towards deregulation that in the US, for instance, is threatening to roll back decades of environmental progress – as well as preventing any kind of meaningful action to prevent catastrophic climate change.

The Campaign against Climate Change was outside the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills a few days after the "red tape challenge" launch,  with the message that calling action on climate "red tape" is not acceptable...



Fundraising ceilidh

A great fundraiser ceilidh was held - courtesy of  Green Kite Midnight (known to many as 'the Climate Camp house band') at The Others, Stoke Newington,  London on Saturday 16th April.

Everybody had a load of fun, danced like crazy, and more than £300 was raised!


Campaign against Climate Change Forum/AGM 2011

Confronting the Climate Emergency in an era of "austerity"

1.00 pm - 6.00 pm, Birkbeck University, London

Discussion group at the AGM

The CCC AGM was lively, positive and sets us up for the coming year in a very constructive way. Sub-groups conentrating on various areas of campaigning are underway - more on this site about that shortly.

Discussion included:

  • What can we do to get the urgent action we need to confront the climate crisis during the coming  year?
  • What are the key considerations about the current political scene?  And the social and economic scene, media climate etc. etc.
  • Bullding the climate movement nationally and internationally.
  • Putting climate back at the heart of the national debate
  • Radical solutions / Building a Zero Carbon Britain / Million Climate Jobs
  • Concrete ideas for action.

Nurturing the light of a positive solution while the world goes mad…



Demonstration against the Koch Brothers

Monday 28th November

Raising the banner outside the London offices of Koch International.

Monday 28th was the opening day of the Durban Climate talks. Who's really responsible for blocking progress on a workable treaty for global action on climate ?  More than anyone else it's the American hard right and their big-money backers! The Koch brothers, owners of the second biggest privately owned industrial conglomerate in the US, have been identified as the biggest funders of climate disinformation in the US (overtaking ExxonMobil) and the main corporate instigators of the Tea Party movement. For more about the Koch Brothers see here.


On Monday 28th activists raised the giant "Koch Brothers: Dirty Money" banner (see above) outside St Pauls at the "Occupy" camp and gave a shout out over the pa system about the Koch Brothers and the role their 'dirty money' plays bankrolling the Tea Party and funding climate disinformation, before a posse headed out to the offices of Koch Industries International on Fenchurch street, about 20 minutes walk away. Here more demonstrators joined to raise the giant banner again (see photo above) and give out countless fliers to the passing public, whilst addressing them over the megaphone with a constant stream of information about the iniquities of the Koch Brothers.

For demonstrations against the Koch Brothers by the 'Occupy' Movement (and others ) in the US see here, here and here.


Stand up for Climate Justice

Photo credit: Adele Nistora

The streets of London rang to the sound of chants for "Climate Justice" on the Global Day of Action for the climate on Saturday 3rd December.  Marchers had gathered at the North end of Blackfriars Bridge where they were joined by a group from Christian Ecology Link coming from a Prayer meeting at St Mary le Bowe, a group of Buddhists coming from a meditation session at the tate Modern  - and a substantial contingent coming via a 'Walk of Shame' through the City from a Climate 'teach in' at the Occupy camp at St Paul's.  Placards demanding 'climate Justice' and dispaying  '7%' as a way of expressing the inequity of business as usal on climate change  (see below) peppered the crowd as it moved slowly down embankment before turning right down Horseguards Avenue into Whitehall.

The shouts for climate justice grew louder as the marchers passed Downing Street and approached Parliament before gathering for a rally at  'Old Castle Yard' opposite Parliament. Here the crowd split into two groups in a ratio of one to seven (or 7% to 50%). Phil Thornhill, campaign coordinator, then addressed the crowd on the theme of 'climate justice' stating that we were on track for a catastrophe from which only the richest half a billion (from a population that should hit 9 billion in 2050) might survive by the end of the century.  There then followed a series of brief contributions giving an overview of climate campaigning in the UK. Peter Coville talked about the campaign against the Koch brothers - the biggest funders of climate denial and bankrollers of the Tea party in the US - as well as describing the work of the environmental group at the Occupy LSX camp. Steve Pulham reported on the campaign against the super-carbon-intensive Canadian Tar Sands, including a mention of the 1200 who got arrested in the US to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.  Peter Dean gave a passionate and informative speech against 'agrofuels' and John Stewart brought us up to date on the aviation campaign. Suzanne Jeffrey talked about fighting both the climate crisis and the economic crisis through a programme for a Million Climate Jobs and finally Fiona Brookes from the campaign office expounded on the goal of a Zero Carbon Britain by 2030.

Photo Credit: Adele Nistora

Throughout the crowd was engaged with chants and call and response including "amandla aweithu" ("power to the people") in solidarity with those marching at the UN talks in Durban, South Africa, "Cuadrilla, Mark Miller, toxic water spiller" against the company engaged in 'fracking' operations in Lancashire and a final shout for 'Climate Justice' before the rally broke up and demonstrators headed off for soup provided by the Brixton Tea party or gazed at a giant 8x4 metre banner - lambasting the Koch brothers and their 'dirty money'  - that stewards were struggling to hold up against the wind.

At 5.00 pm Prayers for the Climate were said at evensong at St. Pauls Cathedral.

See more photos from the march here
and here.

See BBC footage of the march here (after footage from the Durban demo)
See coverage on the Metro website


On the previous night:

Symbolic 'Climate Refugee Camp' and Vigil, night of Friday 2nd-Saturday 3rd

See more at   https://climaterefugee.wordpress.com/


The theme of the demo : 7%

7% of the world's population produce 50% of the world's emissions
7% of the world's emissions are produced by 50% of the world's population
For background info on this see here.

Climate Justice

This year the floods in Pakistan have returned displacing 5 million and killing hundreds. Last year's floods were the worst in living memory with 20 million affected and 2,000 killed. Last year also saw record breaking temperatures in Russia with wildfires and crop failures while this year we have seen the latest in a series of exceptional droughts in East Africa causing famine in Somalia.       
The frequency and severity of weather related disasters is on the increase and scientists tell us this is due to human-induced climate change caused overwhelmingly by the high emissions and high consuming lifestyles of richer countries like our own. Its the poorest and most vulnerable around the world - many of them in Africa where this year's climate talks are being held - who have done the least to cause the problem but who are suffering the most. And all this is set to get worse. Yet climate change and the conversion to a low carbon economy are routinely dismissed as minor concerns.
  • Download a Climate Justice information flyer (pdf) here.
  • Find out more about climate justice and the international negotiations here.
Supported by Artists Project Earth