2007 events

National Climate March 2007


Despite torrential rain, and the worst weather you could wish for, the National Climate march was a great sucess - with up to 10,000 people turning up to show that they felt passionately enough about the issue not to be put off by the horrendous conditions.

The march assembled at Millbank in a downpour strong enough to put off the keenest (and which surely must have reduced numbers considerably - perhaps by up to 50%). Nevertheless a formidable if soggy throng set off past the Houses of Parliament with placards demanding an effective Climate Bill from the government - just about surviving to get that far before they began to turn to paste in the rain. The marchers were joined by two or three hundered cyclists, those super-keen enough to battle against the elements for a protest ride round London that had started earlier in the morning at Lincoln's Inn Fields. They had already staged two small protests - one at a Tesco store against biofuels and their effect of accellerating deforestation and therefore climate change, with speaker Andy Boswell from Norwich CCC and Biofuel Watch (see the Biofuel Watch Press release here) and the other at the Department of Transport in favour of climate friendy transport, with speaker Peter Lockley from Airport Watch.
Umbrellas go up as protestors gather in the rain.
After Parliament the head of the long train of drenched protestors reached Downing street where a delegation composed mainly of the the Hills family (Joanna with Imogen aged 4, Elliot, 9, Dylan 11 and also Monique Kellay, 16 and Jonathan Essex from the CCC steering group) handed in a a letter to No 10 (see letter here ) - on behalf of the campaign and the younger generation which will see the biggest impacts of climate change. With banner carriers struggling against the wind and the occasional slackening, or even break, in the rain being greeted with relief the marchers soldiered on, chanting slogans in defiance of the weather, down Whitehall, through Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus and on through Mayfair to Grosvenor Square. The campaign's veteran 'globe-in-a greenhouse' on wheels was out in front, together with the campaign banner which determined carriers bore up against all that the wind could do to blow it backwards or completely over.
The head of the march with CCC banner, globe-in-a-greenhouse and the indefatigable Auriel Glanville as "the Statue of Taking Liberties"
At Grosvenor Square the marchers assembled around a stage in the North East corner of the square where they were greeted with music frpm 'Seize the Day' to raise their soggy spirits. Then came a line of terrific speakers - most notably Michael Meacher, ex Labour Environment minister speaking his mind on what the government ought to be doing about the cimate crisis, and Chris Huhne shadow Environment Minister, from the Lib Dems on a similar theme and Caroline Lucas, Green party star and MEP at her usual eloquent best. Zac Goldsmith, editor of the Ecologist magazine and environmental advisor to the Tory Party could not make it in person but his contribution was ably delivered by by Hilary Gander who was also the unflappable master of ceremonies for the whole event.
Shorter (but punchy) contributions also came from Fraser Winterbottom describing his experience of the Christian Aid marathon 'Cut the Carbon' march, earlier in the year, Sophie Allain from the Climate Camp, Rahnia Khan - Respect councillor from Tower Hamlets, Andrew Boswell from Biofuel watch, Tony Kearns form the Communications Workers union and finally Tim Helweg-Larsen offering a positive vision for the future from 'Zero Carbon Britain'. Rounding off was Phil Thornhill, National Coordinator of the campaign and in a triumphant finale the ever-spell-binding George Monbiot. There had been a fantastic bouncy musical interlude from Seize the Day which kept the energy levels high and a huge crowd remained right to the end of this long line of speakers - before dispersing at last to places dry and warm.

Cyclists defy the rain - earlier in the day. One of them ended up on the front page of the Sunday Times.
Their efforts were rewarded by good media coverage, with the march featuring on the front page of the Sunday Times, a good write up in the Independent on Sunday, and good reports from the BBC.
At the same time as this National Climate March demonstrations or events were held in around 70 countries, with over 10,000 protestors involved, in Taiwan and Germany. See further here.

This may seem pretty obvious: to save the planet and billions of people on it - from the horrific tide of death and destruction that will come from the catastrophic destabilisation of global climate. But there are two main things we were pushing at the demo, which were reflected on the route chosen for the march.
We started at Millbank near the House of Commons and marched past No 10 where we delivered a letter. The focus here was on the UK government passing a strong Climate Bill. This will establish in legislation a cap for the whole of the UK's emissions - so its not like so many other climate initiatives - very good in themselves but at risk of being cancelled out by an increase associated with another sector of the economy. Also we cannot make meaningful reductions by our own individual efforts alone - these efforts will be wasted unless they are part of an overall plan coordinated by government. These are some of the reasons why we feel a strong climate Bill is so important !
We finished at the US embassy. Clearly whatever we achieve in the UK will be no use in solving this global problem except insofar as it encourages other nations to act and gives a stronger hand to those working to achieve a global agreement that will establish a cap on the global total of emissions. That is why our 'National climate March' was part of a Global Day of Action with demonstrations and events in more than 50 contries demanding real action on climate from world leaders at the UN Climate Talks in Bali. But the biggest block on progress at those UN Talks was still, as it has been for a decade or more, the United States. In particular the Bush administration has both rejected Kyoto (in 20001) and cynicaly manouevered to sabotage progress at the UN Climate Talks. It still refuses to accept binding targets (the only basis for a meaningful treaty) in a post Kyoto agreement and demands action, first, from China and India despite the fact that these countries emit far less per person, are much poorer with fewer resources to take the necessary action and do not have a historical reponsibility for much the greater part of the greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere.
ImagePrior to the Bali talks Bush tried to derail progress on climate at the Washington Climate Conference on the 27th-28th September (see more, eg, here). This was a transparent attempt to divert the world down a blind ally of 'voluntary measures' and 'intensity targets' and thereby pre-empt and derail real progress on absolute and binding targets (the only thing that can really work) at the official UN Talks in Bali. This came after he had forced the final communique at the G8 in Heilegendam in June to abandon any firm emission reduction commitments. Bush had been forced to change his language on climate but continued to be the major obstacle to progress. He may be on the way out but he is still doing damage and the cost of the delay he is imposing could ultimately be measured in millions of lives. That is why our march finished at the US embassy with a massive demonstration to show that we will not just stand by and allow Bush - or anyone else - to wreck the global effort to save billions of lives from climate catastrophe.
* Thanks to the thousands of climate change protesters who braved the weather in London - and thanks to all those around the world for being a part of this global event *
To see the BBC online coverage, click here.

To see photos of the National Climate March in London, click here.

To see photos of the 2007 Global Day of Action, click here.

New: To see videos of all the London speeches in full, click here.



"How can we win the race against climate catastrophe?"


Thursday November 8th, saw the Friends Meeting House packed out for a tremendous Public meeting

Speakers were George Monbiot, author and journalist, John Sauven,
Director of Greenpeace UK, Sophie from the Camp for Climate Action and Phil Thornhill, National Coordinator, Campaign against Climate Change.
>>> For video-recording of George Monbiot's speech click here.



Demonstrations for a Climate Bill that really works

For information and photos see The Climate Bill page.


International Climate Conference

Organised in partnership by the Campaign against Climate Change,
the London School of Economics and LSE's Centre for
Environmental Policy and Governance.


The Conference was a great success - providing an amazing range of high quality seminars and workshops for those attending. A broad range of views, and differing political perspectives was provided at the Saturday Plenary whilst the International Plenary on the Sunday ( a new departure since last year's Conference), with its line up of 12 fantastic speakers from all around the globe - was a real treat, a unique eye-opener of an experience not to be missed : you simply could not come away from it without having a different and much deeper perspective on what climate change really means for people all round the world.






Expose Exxon Day


Photos Donald Lyven, Barnet Green Party
"Die-in" at the gates of ExxonMobil UK headquarters, near Leatherhead Surrey, on Good Friday April 6th, 2007 the day of the release of the "Climate Impacts" section of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report, which outlined the devastating effects unchecked climate change will have on the world's poorest and most vulnerable people.
  ImageWe brought our anger at Exxon's cynical campaign of disinformation on climate change right up to the gates of their UK HQ for 24 hours, from 5.00pm Thursday 5th to 5.00 pm Good Friday April 6th. It started with a lonely 2 protestors putting together our 'globe-in-a greenhouse' under the scrutiny of the assembed forces of the law drawn up to defend the corporate miscreant in anticipation of our (moral) assault. Then there were tree climbing antics to string up our giant banner with the message "Climate Disinformation Kills", as more demonstrators arrived to leaflet the departing workers and blast out our message via megaphone. As the night drew in the curtain-sided truck for the stage arrived and a small band of overnighters from all around the country could gather within to stare out the defenders of the Exxon compex, with their floodlights, on the other side of the barrier. Later another gathering formed around a campfire in a lonely copse by moonlight, before collapsing into sleeping bags as the candles of the all-night vigil burned on.
In the morning the Nathalie Koerfer breakfast-van swung into operation as protesters stirred into life or trickled into our 'protest camp' from Leatherhead railway station. Lining the barrier in front of the Exxon complex, by now, were cut-out heads of the numerous stooges that make up the 'hydra' of the Exxon climate disinformation network. Phil Thornhill then took a few of these to illustrate his talk on just a small selection from the Exxon catalogue of 'dirty tricks'. Numbers, slow to build at first, now began to increase as the 'Brixton Tea Party' arrived to keep them all refreshed. Duncan Law gave a seminar on 'reducing personal carbon foorprints' while Cornelius gave us a musical interlude. Soon it was time for speeches - from Derek Wall, Green Party Principal Speaker(1 of 2) and Elaine Graham-Leigh, environment spokesperson from the RESPECT party. These were interrupted by wild clapping to greet the arrival of the cyclist party from London - which had been marauding 'Esso' garages en route, and then, later, the hard-core band of cyclists all the way from Brighton. After the speeches came the 'mass moment' when everybody lay flat for a symbolic 'die-in' in front of the Exxon gates to illustrate the deadly imacts of climate change (as substantiated by the UN report) - and more specifically the deadly impact of Exxon's campaign to delay effective action to deal with climate change. Extra poignancy was given to this by Chris Bluemel's melancholy violin solo - sufficient to dispel for a few moments the busy clamour of the present reality and allow a frightening comtemplation of the depth of the climate crisis we face. Shane Collins, veteran environmental campaigner and Green Party stalwart, then delivered us back to the present and the politics of what we can do now to resolve the crisis. There was performance poetry, too, from Dennis just Menis and Grassy Knoll, as well as a lively number to jig to from Chris on the violin. Phil returned to wrap up the speeches by reminding everyone of the very real damage done by Exxon and the need for our campaign to continually confront those with most power and most responsibility for blocking progress or failing to take action to deal with the huge threat to humanity posed by the climate crisis.
ImageThe protest on this beautiful bright Spring day then gradually wound down as musicians Sarah Behr and Rob arrived late, yet again, but rewarded those who had stayed the full course. The small bunch of lively dancers reluctantly terminated proceedings as the truck had to be driven away and the gear packed up. But a few ballons remained stuck in the trees with the message: "Exxon's Lies Kill".
For more information on Exxon click here.

"Is ExxonMobil the World's Worst Climate Criminal?"


Public meeting hosted by SOAS Green Group

This was a lively, well-attended meeting, held on the Vernon Square campus of the School of African and Oriental studies. First to speak was Mika Mina Paluello, from Platform , who filled us in with details about the curent status of ExxonMobil's oil business, and the massive investment they have made in finding new oil reserves - an investment they are determined to protect at all costs. Next was Claire Fauset, from Corporate Watch, who explained why she thought "genocide" might not be an inappropriate term to describe the impacts of Exxon's climate disinformation campaign over the last ten years or more. She went on to say that now that we were winning the argument about the seriousness of the climate threat we had to face the problem of the "decoy" - that is things that purported to be part of the solution - like carbon "offsetting" - but which were really nothing of the sort. Brief contributions followed from Derek Wall, principal speaker of the Green Party who reminded us that the people who were "murdering the planet had names and addresses" (as in the famous quote) and Martin Empson from Respect, who emphasised the need for a popular movement to force governments and companies to act. Jeremy Legget, Director of 'Solar Century' and author of "The Carbon War" and "Half gone", then returned the focus squarely onto Exxon and their misdeeds over the last ten years and his personal experience of their devious manouevres. He emphasised that campaigning against them had had results and that in certain areas they were already on the retreat.

Phil Thornhill (CCC national coordinator) emphasised that even if they were no longer "denying' climate change Exxon (and the people they funded) were still dangerously undermining the arguments for action, in other ways - like suggesting we did not need mandatory emissions cuts because "new technologies" would solve the problem. He also drew everyone's attention to the demo at Exxon HQ on Good Friday and said that all creative contributions to this would be really welcome. Then the floor was open for discussion until Chris Huhne MP - the Lib Dem shadow environment secretary - arrived. He had been expected late because of a vote in parliament, but was now able to tell us about his personal experience of Exxon, who, in a personal phone call to him, had tried to discredit the author of a letter written on behalf of the Royal society, criticising Exxon's funding of climate disinformation. Chris Huhne went on to outline some of the Lib Dem plans for tackling climate change and, once the floor was open, a lively debate ensued with different political approaches exlored and various aspects of climate policy explored. Jeremy Legget argued the need for "positive feedback loops" between consumers and companies while Claire Fauset and Derek Wall were sceptical about whether companies would ever really be part of the solution. What was apparent, above all, however was that people from a very wide spectrum of differing views were united in their abhorrence of ExxonMobil's climate disinformation record. The vigorous debate was chaired - with his usual Solomonic wisdom - by Nick Hutton. All in all a lively and interesting evening before participants retired to the Golden Lion and/or to consider their imaginitive contibution to the great Day of Anti-Exxon Action on Good Friday.