So, the mouldy green dust of the "climate Davos" has settled on another COP "negotiation". 27 years on and the story is still: can; kick; road. Rather than consigning coal, oil and gas to the past, the first mention in text ever for "fossil fuels" was in a weak reference to removing ‘inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels’ with a ‘phase down’ of coal that doesn’t even mention gas or oil! COP26, more impotent than important.
On the 5th and 6th of November 2021, aviation protest actions across the globe coordinated by Stay Grounded, called for an end to aviation’s greenwashing and an effective reduction of air traffic. The diverse protests were part of a Global Day of Action called by the https://cop26coalition.org/gda/ a UK-based civil society grouping, mobilising around climate justice during COP26, the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow. In addition to the 18 events for 12 UK expanding airports, protests also took place in Mexico, Nepal, Germany and France.
Aviation is the most climate-damaging form of transport and one of the worst examples of climate injustice, so nobody should be fooled by attempts to greenwash aviation. New technologies and so-called ‘sustainable’ fuels will take decades to be used on commercial, long haul flights – and it is these flights that cause the vast majority of aviation’s climate wrecking emissions. (Check out 5 Greenwashing Factsheets here:- https://stay-grounded.org/greenwashing ). Research shows that relying on techno-fixes will not decarbonise the aviation sector rapidly enough to stay below the globally agreed 1.5 degrees C limit; and the UK government’s advisory body, the Climate Change Committee, recommends NO net expansion of UK airports and has repeatedly warned the government that technological solutions alone will be insufficient to make the aviation sector even net zero by 2050. Yet, every UK airport has plans to expand.
In this context we took to the fields and streets to counter greenwashing and aviation expansion. In what rapidly became a full Week of Action, Rising Tide UK co-ordinated the Stay Grounded activities in the UK for airports at: Bristol, Doncaster-Sheffield, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, Leeds-Bradford, London-City, Luton, Liverpool, Manchester, Southampton and Stanstead. Our press spokesperson Ray Stewart said:-
"We warn that trusting yet-to-be-developed technology to reduce climate-wrecking emissions is an extreme risk we cannot afford to take. Instead, we demand immediate action be taken to prevent aviation growth to cut associated emissions, for us to stand any chance of remaining within 1.5C.”
18 events for 12 UK airports showed what happens when we get together and co-ordinate united action around common themes under the Stay Grounded UK Chapter umbrella. So well done to those groups that took part and thanks to those who acted as group spokespeople, took photo's and did techy stuff. Lets have more groups covering more airports next time! We encourage those groups to visit https://stay-grounded.org/how-to-become-a-member/ .
Here's a round-up of what happened and where, with media links of which we're aware.
As you may know traditionally Rising Tide UK has opposed the UN-IPCC COP climate talks process from Kyoto onward as we don't think the solutions we need will come from governments, let alone in the speed we need them - but we decided to join the COP26Coalition (of UK civil society) as this COP is in the UK and to maybe add to the more radical voices within it, organising around COP26 in Glasgow and beyond. Toothless Paris Accord voluntary Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) are currently still 24bn tonnes short of preventing 1.5C heating and on course for 3C+. 6 years past the Paris Accord, climate finance reparation $100bn a year promises remain unfullfilled without any clear intention to provide financial support for "Global South" low emitting countries and island states about to be literally submerged.
Below is our latest attempt of summarising the current Coalition & COP status. Feel free to use and spread wildly (that was supposed to be widely but actually we'd prefer wildly).
If you're not travelling to Glasgow then worldwide there are demo's and marches etc happening on the 5th & 6th November linked below that you can get involved with but there is always an option to get together with your friends and pull off an action of your own targetting carbon infrastructure and their greenwash shenanigens. Some help here: http://www.networkforclimateaction.org.uk/
Plenty of false solutions abound especially those inherent in Article 6 discussion at the COP which is pretty nailed-on to see government acceptance and support for carbon business as usual offsetting (particularly within the aviation sector with COP sanctioned CORSIA); in all its guises like the attachment of tradable market mechanisms to "Nature Based" and "Natural Climate" "Solutions"; also the bogus radioactive head of nuclear power elbowing-in for a last gasp attempt.
SEE BELOW FOR DAY BY DAY COP26 CALENDAR & ALL THE DETAILS AND LINKS YOU NEED!
Hopefully this may enable you to make what sense can be made around Heathrow expansion?
As you know even before the intended £18billion further expansion, Heathrow is the UK's biggest emitter of Greenhouse Gases at a time of Climate Breakdown emergency.
Another runway would boost current flights of 480,000 to 740,000 seeing passengers rise to 132 million effectively creating a new airport the size of London Gatwick!
FALL-OUT FROM JUDICIAL REVIEW (JR);
HEATHROW AIRSPACE & FUTURE OPERATIONS CONSULTATION;
AVIATION GREEN PAPER ON FUTURE STRATEGY
The Stansted 15 are a group of anti-deportation protesters who blocked a UK government deportation flight at Stanstead Airport last year to make the links clearer between climate change, colonialism, homophobia and the border regime. In a world of the IPCC's current forecast of 3 degrees C plus, innocent climate breakdown refugees will face the power of the state to maintain borders. In the UK and many other countries, that "hostile environment" has already begun. They were sentenced on 6th Feb'19 by a Crown Court judge. They avoided immediate prison sentences, with 3 given suspended sentences and 12 given Community Service Orders. The jury found all fifteen defendants guilty of "intentional disruption of services and endangerment at an aerodrome" under the 1990 Aviation and Maritime Security Act – a controversial use of terror-related law. This outrageous verdict attempts to suggest there is a link between non-violent protest and terrorism.There seems to be no doubt that it is the UK goverment's Home Office that is guilty of terrorising.
In a statement, the Stansted 15 said:
“These terror convictions and the ten-week trial that led to them are an injustice that has profound implications for our lives. The convictions will drastically limit our ability to work, travel and take part in everyday life. Yet, people seeking asylum in this country face worse than this: they are placed in destitution and their lives in limbo, by the Home Office’s vicious system every single day. When a country uses draconian terror legislation against people for peaceful protest, snatches others from their homes in dawn raids, incarcerates them without time limit and forces them onto planes in the middle of the night, due to take them to places where their lives might be at risk, something is very seriously wrong. Every single one of us should be very worried about our democracy and our future. We demand that these convictions are quashed, and that the Government dismantles the vicious, barely legal, immigration system that destroys so many people’s lives.”
Please defend the right to protest and sign this petition:- https://www.change.org/p/home-office-end-the-hostile-environment-and-de…
On 10th December the 15 were found guilty of a terrorism "aviation offence", namely that they "placed the safety of an airport in a likelihood of danger". This outrageous verdict attempts to suggest there is a link between non-violent protest and terrorism. They will be sentenced on Wednesday February 6th, 2019 between 8:30 am - 4pm at Chelmsford Court, New Street, Chelmsford, Essex, UK and many people will gather outside in solidarity. There seems to be no doubt that it is the UK goverment's Home Office that is guilty of terrorising. https://www.facebook.com/events/735004523524622/
Many Solidarity Rallies have been held in the UK since the verdict https://www.facebook.com/EDeportations/
Last year those 15 people grounded a deportation charter flight for 10 hours to prevent it taking off. The action was taken by our comrades at End Deportations, Plane Stupid and Lesbians and Gays Support the Migrants (LGSMigrants) and aimed to show links between climate change, colonialism, homophobia and the border regime. The individuals responsible for this non-violent direct action were charged with terrrorism-related offences that could result in life imprisonment. There seems to be no doubt that it is the goverment's Home Office that is guilty of terrorising.
In November we issued this Statement to say we stand with them in Solidarity .
"In line with our Rising Tide International Political Statement and also as Members of Stay Grounded, Rising Tide UK stands in solidarity with the Stansted 15. The 15 are nearing the end of a gruelling 8-week trial in Chelmsford, having taken nonviolent direct action to stop a deportation charter flight to Nigeria from taking off in March 2017. For this action, which highlighted a brutal and little-known aspect of the UK's border regime, they are facing charges of terrorism which could result in life imprisonment.
Deportation charter flights are a particularly horrific aspect of the UK's hostile environment for migrants, which also includes immigration detention centres, raids, signing at the police station and keeping people in a limbo of uncertainty over their future – often for years. People deported on these flights are snatched from their communities and families - without due process and without time to challenge the deportation through legal means. According to Corporate Watch:
"Up to 2,000 people a year are loaded onto these secretive night flights, often shackled in “waist restraint belts” or “leg restraints”. Deportees are manhandled by private security “escorts” (working for Mitie) onto aircraft hired from charter companies.".
The Home Office wants to get its money's worth out of each charter flight, so people are racially targetted to fill a flight; and more people are booked onto a flight than can fit, in case anyone manages to secure a last-minute injunction on their deportation, adding to the uncertainty and trauma people are already experiencing at the hands of the UK border regime.
The Stansted 15 were acting to prevent this form of state terrorism. Their Action has brought much-needed attention to the border regime and has resulted in at least one person who was on that flight receiving "leave to remain" in the UK. Eleven more people are still here and waiting for their claims to be processed – a chance that would have been taken away from them had this Action not happened. Some of the people on this flight were facing persecution and death if deported, some were victims of trafficking and many had ongoing asylum claims in the UK.
We see the impacts of the UK's hostile environment in our communities every day and it is only when people come together to challenge it that we feel the cracks opening in this unjust system. The Stansted 15's action was incredibly important, not only for the people on the 'plane, who were able continue with their asylum claims but also for what it represented and the ideas and conversations that have come out of it. People can stop charter flights from taking off; we can dismantle the hostile environment and treat refugees and asylum seekers with the respect and dignity they deserve. This wasn't terrorism, it was a practical display of solidarity with people going through the immigration process and a reminder to us all that we can and should be building a fairer world.".
They are still short in their crowdfunder appeal : https://chuffed.org/project/end-deportations-charter-flight-action-tria…
Members of Stay Grounded:- RisingTideUK, Biofuelwatch, Reclaim the Power, Vote No Heathrow and the No3rd Runway Coalition joined more than 100 others for a morning of music, speeches and solidarity outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London from 9am to show the government and Heathrow Airport Ltd what we thought of their irresponsible and dangerous plans to expand the airport.
The hearing determined that all of the legal claims against Heathrow’s expansion will go to a full Judicial Review (of the National Policy Statement on Airports - https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/airports-national-policy-sta… )by 2 judges for 2 weeks from the 11th or 18th of March in 2019.
There were 5 submissions: Local Authorities backed by Greenpeace and Mayor of London; Heathrow Hub, the rival expansion scheme; one by a resident impacted by Heathrow; Plus Friends of the Earth (EW&NI); and Plan B (both of these 2 specifically on grounds that the government has failed to deliver an effective plan to tackle the climate change implications of expansion).
The UK Government has argued that the Paris Agreement does not impose “a legal duty or obligation… to ensure that no more than these maximum temperature increases [1.5°C to 2°C] are reached”. This claim implies that because it is not against the law to bring about dangerous levels of climate change, the government is under no obligation to protect people from such threats. Plan B argued that Chris Grayling, the Transport Minister, has failed to give proper consideration to the impact Heathrow expansion would have on the Government’s ability to meet targets for avoiding catastrophic climate change. Grounds of claim brought by others include noise, traffic congestion and air pollution.
Tim Crosland, Director of Plan B, said:-
“This Government seems to believe that tackling the climate crisis means sticking to ‘business as usual’ with a sprinkling of ‘greenwash’ promises that improved future technology will come to the rescue. That’s fantasy politics and it’s grossly irresponsible. If we want to safeguard the climate stability on which we all depend, we need less emissions, not more; and we need a Government committed to investing in the cleanest forms of transport, not the most polluting kind. The broad coalition of devolved government and civil society lining up against the Government, is proof that this is not a political issue, it’s a coalition for the future of life on earth – one that everyone can get behind.”
John McDonnell, Labour Party, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, MP for Heathrow constituency Hayes & Harlington (most of which would be destroyed) - called for Direct Action, warning that if the democratic and legal processes fail, then direct action will win and that the third runway must not be built for the sake of the planet. Others echoed the call for Direct Action against Climate Change including RisingTideUK; a VoteNoHeathrow hunger striker and from Rising Up's Extinction Rebellion.
RisingTideUK also told of the International dimension and the launch of Stay Grounded. They said:-
"This week saw the launch of Stay Grounded an International Network offering solidarity to resist expansion around the planet. We are aviation and climate campaigners, NGO's, academics, trade unionists, frontline & indigenous communities, transport workers and affected residents - working for a just transition.
Aviation, one of the fastest growing GHG sources, in 2017 growing 7% with freight up 9% (doubling in 10 & 7 years respectively). There is a wave of global expansion with over 1000 new projects: 423 new airports; 121 new runways; 205 runway extensions; 262 new terminals and 175 new terminal extensions! Stay Grounded have launched a position paper outlining "13 Steps for a Just Transport System & for Rapidly Reducing Aviation and we urge you to join the 120 organisations that have signed-up to support it. This week and next are Weeks of Action on aviation infrastructure with open events organised in 15 countries and maybe some clandestine actions too? Resistance is worldwide: from Turkey where ancient forest is threatened with a new Istanbul Aerotropolis; Kenya, Nairobi Airport, where the Masai have been forced off grazing land held for millennia ; Indonesia, where homes destroyed while people were at work; and Austria, where Vienna's 3rd runway was ruled out by a regional court on climate change grounds, then overturned by a higher one.
So there's "Law" and "Justice". Different. Lets see which prevails today? International aviation emissions are not included in the UK Climate Change Act or the Paris Agreement but the Talanoa Dialogue Pacific Islands initiative may try to ensure that they are. The UK Government is trying to use the space in the UK emissions count set aside for future International aviation emissions, to justify and allow Heathrow expansion. 10 years ago the last UK Planning Act paved the way for the Infrastructure Planning Commission - through which all major infrastructure projects like Heathrow and Hinkley C (nuclear power station) now bypass local democracy. At the time Friends of the Earth said it stripped away 100 civil rights to protest, leaving only 2, the Law and Direct Action. Today we'll see if there are still 2? Also 10 years ago, John McDonnell, then a backbench MP, said the campaign to stop Heathrow Expansion would not be won without Direct Action. He was right then and he still is.".
Stay Grounded Network Weeks of Action enjoyed 27 events in over a dozen countries in 3 continents, that we so far know about https://stay-grounded.org/action-weeks/ .
Find some photos on flickr https://www.flickr.com/gp/164860673@N04/EfNB56
and a video clip on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/StayGroundedNetwork/videos/1212273742244823/?_…
"McDonnell calls for Direct Action" https://realmedia.press/stop-heathrow/
RisingTideUK will be joining others for a morning of music, speeches and solidarity outside the Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, from 9am to show the government and Heathrow Airport Ltd what we think of their irresponsible and dangerous plans. The hearing will determine whether some or all of the 6 legal claims against Heathrow’s expansion will go to a full trial in 2019. For those of you who must dabble on the dark side there is a FB event. This Rally falls within the Stay Grounded fortnight of Aviation Actions. https://www.facebook.com/events/248337659159577/
“STAY GROUNDED” SUPPORTING STATEMENT
RisingTideUK are Founder Members of the Stay Grounded Network, launched today and have joined with more than 110 organisations worldwide to support a position paper from Stay Grounded, outlining 13 steps for a transition towards a transport system that is more socially just and ecologically sustainable. This growing global network is working to curb the unrestrained expansion of the aviation sector which is causing ever increasing damage to the climate, to biodiversity and local residents. The network is made up of local airport opposition groups and frontline communities, NGOs, trade unionists, academics, climate justice activists and groups supporting alternatives like night trains. From 1st-12th October 2018, Stay Grounded action weeks take place in more than 15 countries around the world. They will show that resistance against new airport infrastructure and aviation growth is rising. The network and these actions will send a message to policy makers and the industry, rejecting the greenwashed aviation pseudo-strategies being fostered right now, like CORSIA, carbon trading and tanked biofuels. Please join RisingTideUK to support Stay Grounded, and follow its facebook and twitter accounts: @staygrounded3