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Six Women Scale Europe's Tallest Skyscraper to Protest Shell's Arctic Drilling

Climate

Climbers from Greenpeace successfully scaled the Shard in London, Europe's tallest skyscraper, yesterday in protest against Shell's plans to drill for oil in the Arctic.

Six women began a bold “free climb" to the top of the building at 4:20 a.m., yesterday morning.

When they reached the summit, at a height of 310 meters, they raised a huge banner proclaiming, "Save the Arctic."

Greenpeace say the Shard was chosen because it sits in the middle of Shell's three headquarter offices.

The building itself is modeled on a shard of ice, representing the pristine Arctic environment that is being threatened by attempts to exploit the region for fossil fuels.

Greenpeace and 1 million of their supporters are calling for a moratorium ban on oil and gas exploration in the Arctic as the region opens up due to increasing ice melt caused by global warming.

They hoped to get 1000 more signatures on their Arctic petition for each meter the women climbed and have massively surpassed their target.

Ahead of the action, Victoria Henry, one of the climbers said:

"It's going to be really hard work, it's going to be nerve-shredding for all of us and we may not succeed, but we're going to do everything we can to pull it off. Millions of people have called on Shell to get out of the Arctic but they're still trying to drill there anyway.

"If we reach the top we'll be able to see all three of Shell's London offices below us, meaning they'll be able to see us. Maybe then they'll stop ignoring the movement ranged against them."

Despite Shell's claim that they are well prepared for Arctic operations, evidence would suggest otherwise.

The oil major has developed a history of mishaps during its preliminary explorations and tests, drillships have slipped their moorings and been lost at sea, safety equipment has failed and the fierce Arctic conditions have forced their retreat.

New documents revealed earlier this week show that even in the comparatively safe waters of the North Sea Shell cannot operate without a steady trickle of oil and other polluting chemicals leaking out into the sea.

Not to mention the odd catastrophe, such as the gas leak on Brent B platform which killed two rig workers in 2003 and led to a court case where the oil giant was found guilty of safety lapses.

Visit EcoWatch's OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING page for more related news on this topic.

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Aerial view of Ruropolis, Para state, northen Brazil, on Sept. 6, 2019. Tthe world's biggest rainforest is under threat from wildfires and rampant deforestation. JOHANNES MYBURGH / AFP via Getty Images

By Kate Martyr

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest last month jumped to the highest level since records began in 2015, according to government data.

A total of 563 square kilometers (217.38 square miles) of the world's largest rainforest was destroyed in November, 103% more than in the same month last year, according to Brazil's space research agency.

From January to November this year an area almost the size of the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico was destroyed — an 83% overall increase in destruction when compared with the same period last year.

The figures were released on Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), and collected through the DETER database, which uses satellite images to monitor forest fires, forest destruction and other developments affecting the rainforest.

What's Behind the Rise?

Overall, deforestation in 2019 has jumped 30% compared to last year — 9,762 square kilometers (approximately 3769 square miles) have been destroyed, despite deforestation usually slowing during November and December.

Environmental groups, researchers and activists blamed the policies of Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro for the increase.

They say that Bolosonaro's calls for the Amazon to be developed and his weakening support for Ibama, the government's environmental agency, have led to loggers and ranchers feeling safer and braver in destroying the expansive rainforest.

His government hit back at these claims, pointing out that previous governments also cut budgets to environment agencies such as Ibama.

The report comes as Brazil came to loggerheads with the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) over climate goals during the UN climate conference in Madrid.

AOSIS blasted Brazil, among other nations, for "a lack of ambition that also undermines ours."

Last month, a group of Brazilian lawyers called for Bolsonaro to be investigated by the International Criminal Court over his environmental policies.

Reposted with permission from DW.

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