For immediate release: May 3, 2017
Photo and video available
Global demonstrations call on investors to drop fossil fuels
UK — Starting 5th May, a global wave of activities lasting ten days will take place across 42 countries on six continents, with thousands of people participating in the Global Divestment Mobilisation. Campaigners, faith groups, academics and impacted local communities will build on the fossil fuel divestment movement, which is now spreading in Asia, Latin America and Africa.
In the UK, over 40 events will be taking place calling on local government, faith, health, cultural institutions, politicians and banks to divest from fossil fuels.
- The week launches on 5th May with a demonstration from impacted communities at the entrance of the first UK fracking site at Preston New Road, Lancashire with a call for divestment from fossil fuels.
- Across the week Town Halls will be pressured to divest Local Government Pension Funds, with events on Sat 13th May including a giant map linking climate impacts to families in Birmingham, a ‘Renewables Ark’ in Bradford highlighting local flood risk and a series of 14 rolling rallies across London’s Town Halls.
- On May 8th – one month until the general election – Divest Parliament will announce the cross-party commitments from former MPs and Parliamentary Candidates to divest the MPs pension fund, including a Carbon Bubble demonstration outside Westminster.
- Faith based organisers will be calling on the Church of England to fully divest with a ‘Marriage of Inconvenience’ sketch outside Church House (Monday 8th May), and young Muslims will be discussing faith and divestment at a London film screening (Tuesday 9th May).
- Doctors are arranging film screenings of the short ‘Fossil Free Health’ film to highlight the health impacts of fossil fuels and climate change (Edinburgh, Bristol, Liverpool) and calling on Royal Colleges to divest, including a motion to the Royal College of Nursing Congress on the 15th May.
- Demonstrations including people and images from frontline communities affected by fracking and the Dakota Access Pipeline will happen outside the Barclays AGM on 10th May, with shareholders asking questions about their investments in controversial fossil fuel projects and demonstrations at bank branches around the country (eg Newcastle, Leicester, Bristol)
- The week will culminate on Sunday 14th May with a creative ‘Oily Cashmob’ action at the British Museum calling for an end to fossil fuel sponsorship of the arts, and part of a global wave of protests targeting cultural institutions during the GDM.
The divestment movement saw its beginnings in North America, Europe and Australia and has since become the fastest growing divestment movement in history.
Global commitments to divest have already reached 710 institutions across 76 countries, representing well over US$5.5 trillion in assets under management.
In the current vacuum of political global climate leadership, the divestment movement has proven to be an effective way to build pressure on organisation to be more ambitious on climate action and challenge the influence of the fossil fuel industry in the political sphere. The movement is building pace at a time when governments are not doing enough and climate impacts are taking us into uncharted territory in terms of floods, forest fires, heatwaves, storms and drought.
The Global Divestment Mobilisation will build momentum, clearing the way for ambitious action by pushing our institutions to divest from negative climate impacts and to reinvest in building a renewable and just future for everyone. Citizens from all walks of life across the globe are stepping up and into the climate leadership void that their governments have created by building the biggest divestment movement the world has ever seen.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM EVENTS PLANNED WORLDWIDE INCLUDE:
Students and academics in Africa will be pushing for divestment. In South Africa both Fossil Free Stellenbosch and Fossil Free University Cape Town will seize the moment to step up their demands for their universities to divest from fossil fuels. In Cape Town, a petition with hundreds of signatures will be hand delivered to the City Council with a clear message for the city to divest. At the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, in Nigeria there will also be a one-day seminar on divestment. Local events will also be held in Accra Ga-South, Ghana, in Douala, Cameroon and Chad.
Hundreds of people will come together in the four main centres (Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington) of New Zealand and communities across Australia to rally against Malcolm Turnbull’s government and their support for the disastrous Adani coal mine in Carmichael, Queensland. The mine will be the biggest coal mine in Australasia’s history, so we are coming together to #StopAdani.
Large events are being organised in major cities across the region including a mass action in Palawan, Philippines and the Clean, Safe, Renewable. Why Not? event in Jakarta. In Tokyo, Japan there will be a two day event to push for personal divestment from fossil fuels.
Dozens of groups are organising local events all over Europe targeting cities, universities, pension funds and religious institutions requesting that they divest. A series of 14 rolling rallies across London’s Town Halls will push for divestment. Cultural institutions will also be put under pressure; the Liberate Louvre campaign will ramp up its demand that the Louvre Museum break its partnership with Total in Paris. While in Amsterdam a visual action will push the Van Gogh Museum to end its sponsorship relationship with Shell.
Academic institutes across the region will be organising seminars on what divestment and a clean energy future could look like. This includes events at the Universidad de San Martín, Argentina and the Universidad Católica Boliviana. In Brazil the Coritiba football fans will take a stand by opening a huge banner during a Brazilian championship game. Vigils in name of climate refugees and for divestment will also be held in various locations in the state of Paraná. In Rio, activists will protest against the auction held by the National Oil and Gas Agency.
A series of events around divestment will be held in New York City including a creative activity at the Trump Tower on Divestment, a Public forum on climate impacts, renewables and divestment, a lobby day in the State Capitol, activities around divestment of the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines, as well as a business panel on divestment – #DivestNY.
For detailed overview see media pack here.
Bill McKibben, Author and co-founder of 350.org:
“There is no question we are currently in a state of emergency on climate change. Day in day out people are dying from the effects of climate change. There are many ways to confront this emergency and divestment allows us to get in the way of the money financing the fossil fuel projects behind this crisis. The fact that the fossil fuel divestment movement has grown exponentially in the last few years is the best news ever. From the Pacific Islands to South Africa, from the United States to Germany, people are standing up and challenging the power of the fossil fuel industry.”
Lidy Nacpil, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD):
“Divestment has shown the world that stopping fossil fuel financing can be done and must be done. The battle to safeguard people and planet is linked worldwide, the money in one part of the world is linked to infrastructure projects being built elsewhere. Divestment is a powerful act of solidarity and justice for the world’s most vulnerable people, a defense of nature and our planet. We urgently need a transformation in the global energy system, away from the fossil fuel dependence that drives climate change, and challenge fossil fuel corporations that oppose progress in climate action and prioritize profits over people and planet. Divestment has proven to be one of the most effective ways to push for this much needed transformation.”
Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Founder of Lubicon Solar, Lubicon Cree First Nation in Alberta, Canada:
“Not only is divestment proven to be an effective way to undermine the power of the fossil fuel industry, it also provides the means to enact a just transition by reinvesting into renewable energy systems. Our future is in the reinvestment that supports the communities most impacted by climate change and the dirty energy based economy. The divestment movement is modeling what governments need to be doing: withdrawing funds from the problem and investing in solution. That’s the best way to ensure a brighter future for both people and planet.”
Kumi Naidoo, Director of The African Civil Society Centre:
“Communities across the globe are taking the power back through divestment. They are divesting from fossil fuels and sending a loud message to politicians and corporates alike: the end of fossil fuels is happening; achieving 100% renewable energy for all is inevitable. Those betting on a future based on fossil fuels will continue to lose, citizens globally are demanding a just transition to a green future.”
Danni Paffard, UK Divestment Campaigner 350.org, [email protected] 07979817888
NOTES TO EDITORS:
- You will find additional information including answers to frequently asked questions and media contacts for each of the actions in the GDM media pack.
- Detailed overview of divestment commitments to date can be found here.
- The UK recently celebrated reaching over 100 divestment commitments across a range of sectors.
PHOTO AND VIDEO (to be updated throughout the duration of GDM):