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Why we should celebrate the fracking moratorium - and fight for more

Guest post by Kim Hunter, Frack Free Scarborough (writing in personal capacity)

Late last Friday night, Britain's Tory government announced an immediate moratorium on fracking until it finds 'compelling new evidence' the industry won't have 'unacceptable impacts on the local community'.

Anti-fracking activists cried with relief, then uncorked the wine, told long-suffering family members they would finally spend quality time together and started organising well-side parties. And then they took to social media to question the Tories' integrity. 

They have none. 

Boris Johnson hasn’t suddenly become an ‘uncooperative crusty’ (as he called XR activists). He hasn't, after all, made 'people and planet before profit' the guiding principle of his election manifesto. The moratorium doesn’t include other forms of unconventional oil and gas, not even processes like acidisation, which in 2015 were excluded from the definition of fracking by political sleight of hand. The fracking moratorium falls into the same category as other populist pre-election measures.

But it is fracking that Johnson chose to sacrifice on the altar of his party's political ambition. He hasn't decided to renationalise the railways, or raise the minimum wage to £10 an hour. Fracking must fall because campaigners have so completely menaced the industry, so thoroughly countered its attempts to create positive PR, that it has become a political liability.

TUC votes to support the school student Climate Strike. Now turn words into action.

TUC conference has today unanimously passed a motion to support the school student Global Climate Strike on 20th September and has called on TUC affiliate Unions to organise a 30 minute work day campaign action to coincide with the school students strike on 20th September.

We congratulate the delegates at TUC who have voted to recognise the significance of the Global School Students strikes, initiated by Greta Thunberg and the need for adults and especially the Trade Union movement to stand alongside young people, to ensure they do not stand alone in fighting for the urgent action needed to tackle climate change and ecological crisis and to deliver Climate Justice.

We ask all Trade Unions to now turn words into action and get organised to build on the fantastic examples of Trade Union solidarity action already in place for 20th September. 

The 20th September is already set to be the biggest turnout of working people many organised through their Trade Unions in the UK uniting in solidarity with young people. But it can be even bigger and we still have two weeks to deliver solidarity action to put hundreds of thousands of Trade Unionist onto the streets.

We would like to salute the young people who have led the action and also the UCU NEC members who put forward the motion to TUC conference calling for a 30 minute stoppage. They have been bold enough to recognise the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for Trade Unionists to not only respond to the call for Trade Unions to join them but to be bold in their actions and demands. The support for the UCU statement with over 2000 Trade Unionists and over 100 organisations backing the call for solidarity and a 30 minute workplace stoppage on 20th has also shown us the appetitive that there is for climate action within the Trade Union movement.

We ask all Trade Unionists to do everything they can to match the boldness required of us by the urgency of the Climate Crisis. We have just under two weeks now to build maximum solidarity on the 20th. 

This is just the beginning and we will need to continue the work of building solidarity, fighting to ensure our unions have the most progressive policies which match what the science tells us that we need to do and to continue to demand the Climate Jobs and a Green New Deal which can deliver the Just Transformation that we need.

Act for the Amazon

Large areas of the Amazon rainforest are on fire, waking up the world to a calamity: no natural disaster, but part of a long-running strategy of destruction and exploitation. Bolsonaro came to power, following the imprisonment of former president Lula on corruption charges, with a clear agenda to dismantle the protection of indigenous lands. He once said, “It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry hasn’t been as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated the Indians”. 

The current fires were set deliberately to clear more land for agriculture, in particular cattle ranching, which is responsible for 80% of deforestation in the country. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased by two-thirds during Bolsonaro’s presidency. 

Indigenous people have as ever, been in the frontline of resistance, defending their land rights. The picture above is from the Indigenous Women March on August 13th, when almost 3000 indigenous women travelled from across Brazil to the nation's capital.

What can we do here in the UK?

The causes of the destruction are closer to home than you might think. The export market for commodities, in particular Brazilian beef, is driving deforestation. Europe is Brazil’s second biggest market for beef sales. The recently signed EU-Mercosur agreement between the EU and Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay would open EU markets to more beef imports in exchange for the export of EU cars, especially highly fuel-intensive SUVs. But the deal still needs to be approved by the European Parliament, and pressure is growing to block it.

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