By Nicole Leonard
To close out 2019, we wanted to do something special. It's not just the end of the year — it's the end of an incredible decade of climate activism and a transition to the next. The challenge ahead is enormous, but if this year has taught us anything, it's that more of us than ever before are ready to rise.
1. Brazilian States Ban Fracking<p>In a historic victory after years of campaigning, the state of <a href="https://350.org/its-official-latin-americas-biggest-shale-reserve-will-never-be-fracked/" target="_blank">Paraná in Brazil passed a law</a> in July to permanently ban fracking – and Santa Catarina state followed weeks later. It means Latin America's largest shale reserves will go untapped, with 18 million people safe from the direct impacts of fracking. The wins energized a national debate to ban fracking across the whole country; municipal bans have already passed in hundreds of cities and towns across Brazil. <a href="https://350.org/press-release/brazil-bans-fracking-in-two-states-national-congress-hears-arguments-for-a-national-ban/" target="_blank">Read more</a>.</p>
2. Divestment Milestone<p>In September, the amount investors committed to divest from oil, coal, and gas companies reached more than $11 trillion USD, blowing past the goal set last year of $10 trillion divested by the end of 2020. And since September, we've already hit $12 trillion! Follow the cities, companies, and institutions divesting with our <a href="https://gofossilfree.org/divestment/commitments/" target="_blank">divestment commitment tracker</a>.</p>
3. Promise to Protect<p>Indigenous leaders and allies held a March-May training tour for 1,160 people in nine U.S. cities. They were answering the call to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and protect water and ancestral lands. Construction continues to be debated and delayed – but people across the U.S. are prepared for creative resistance in case it resumes. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOBMw4XkLJI&feature=youtu.be" target="_blank">Watch the wrap-up video from the tour</a>.</p>
4. Lamu, Saved<p>After years of resistance, in June a Kenya tribunal cancelled a developer's license to build a new coal plant at Lamu, a stunning coastal UNESCO world heritage site. It was a huge victory, made even sweeter by the fact that the court recognized the lack of public participation and risks to people and the environment. <a href="https://350.org/the-lamu-coal-plant-project-in-kenya-has-been-stopped-by-a-court-decision/" target="_blank">See the celebration</a>.</p>
5. Williams Pipeline Moratorium<p>Activists pushed New York's Governor to halt the Williams Northeast Supply Enhancement pipeline, which would bring fracked gas to New York City. The company has re-applied for construction permits, but people are demanding a permanent ban and a Green New Deal to make sure it never gets built. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=FGBMwS2A8Vc&feature=emb_logo" target="_blank">Watch the recap</a>.</p>
6. Afrika Vuka Launch<p>A <a href="https://afrikavuka.org/" target="_blank">new platform</a> to unite grassroots campaigns across Africa is bringing together learnings and resources from groups working to halt fossil fuel infrastructure and promote a transition to renewable energy. Thanks to local campaigning, in April <a href="https://350africa.org/nedbank-officially-cuts-ties-with-coal/" target="_blank">South Africa's Nedbank became the first</a> African bank to stop project financing for coal, after they decided not to fund Thabametsi and Khanyisa coal plants.</p>
7. Fossil Free EIB<p>The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the world's biggest international public bank and the €555 billion lending arm of the European Union. Thousands of people pressured the bank to axe fossil fuels from its lending policy, and last month it permanently ended support for most fossil fuel projects! <a href="https://350.org/press-release/worlds-largest-public-bank-cuts-finance-for-coal-and-oil/" target="_blank">Read more</a>.</p>
8. Asian Banks Dump Coal<p>The world's fifth largest bank, Japan's MUFG, <a href="https://350.org/press-release/worlds-5th-largest-bank-moves-against-coal/" target="_blank">tightened its lending policy</a> in May, when it announced an end to new project finance for coal power. Campaigners continue to target the Asian banks financing coal, especially in Japan. And we're chipping away: Singapore's big three banks also announced ending financing to new coal plants earlier this year.</p>
9. Europe’s Gas Does Not Pass<p>Three iconic fights against gas won big victories in Europe this year. The MidCat pipeline between Spain and France, and Gothenburg terminal in Sweden were both cancelled, while fracking was banned in the UK. <a href="https://350.org/fossil-fuel-fights-in-europe-winning/" target="_blank">Read more</a>.</p>
10. Millions Strike for the Climate<p>September's climate strikes were groundbreaking, with 7.6 million people in 185 countries taking part. Together, we snatched front pages of news outlets around the globe and put the fossil fuel industry on notice, setting the tone for what's to come. <a href="https://350.org/7-million-people-demand-action-after-week-of-climate-strikes/" target="_blank">Read more</a>.</p>
A Decade of Climate Action<p>Back in 2009, at the end of the last decade, the climate movement was small and scrappy. Together, we've grown into a diverse, powerful movement ready to take on the fossil fuel industry into the 2020s: a mission-critical decade for averting the worst of climate crisis.<span></span></p><p>Take a look at 350.org's path through <a href="https://350.org/10-years/" target="_blank">the past decade</a> and the people-powered wins we've celebrated along the way.</p><p><span></span>That's all for now. See you in the new year!</p>
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Yes, yes—it can feel daunting. The climate crisis is more urgent than it's ever been. Some days we feel like we're making good progress, when we hear of countries powered by 100 percent renewable energy or a big commitment to take on fossil fuel corporations from a city like New York. But other days, it's a heavy burden knowing there's so much more that needs to be done to unseat the fossil fuel industry and move to a just, Fossil Free, renewably-powered world.
Groups of citizens have been organizing worldwide to fight against fossil fuel industry's negative impacts on their lives. These impacts are either direct—through expropriations of land and development of infrastructure against the will of the population—or indirect—through their role in the sharp increase of climate-altering emissions threatening health and livelihoods worldwide.
- New Zealand Bans New Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration ›
- Seattle County Files 11th U.S. Climate Liability Lawsuit Against Big Oil ›
By May Boeve
With Trump and fossil fuel executives in the White House, any shot of powerful and lasting protections for our climate and communities will come from our cities and states. That's why it's so troubling that in California, one of the most progressive places in the U.S., current state Attorney General Xavier Becerra is failing to stand up to ExxonMobil and its ilk.
By Rachel Hubbard
Tuesday, the city of Paris has said it will explore the possibilities of suing the fossil fuel industry. In response to the city's recent climate damage including massive recent floods, Paris is considering taking this action following in the footsteps of New York and other U.S. cities.
- New York Takes Giant Step to Divest From Fossil Fuels ›
- World's Biggest Investment Fund Considers Divesting From Fossil ... ›
Naomi Klein: 'New York City Is Taking a Game-Changing First Step in Turning the World Right Side Up'
The following is a speech given by Naomi Klein in New York City on Jan. 10.
I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for this historic announcement that New York is divesting from fossil fuels and suing five oil majors.
Community and grassroots leaders from the U.S. on Tuesday announced their platform at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP23). The "U.S. People's Delegation" is attending to counter the Trump administration's fossil fuel agenda and to hold U.S. states, cities, businesses and the public accountable to climate action commitments.
The platform includes youth, Indigenous peoples, frontline communities, advocates and policymakers who have come to Bonn, Germany with organizations from across the U.S. They have come together to show what climate leadership should look like.
Wednesday, a coalition of 40 faith institutions on five continents have jointly just announced their divestment from fossil fuels. This is a big moment for both the global divestment movement and faith community, and we need to keep this momentum going strong.
This commitment well and truly quadruples the one announced in May, when nine Catholic organizations divested. We need to celebrate it and also seize the opportunity to build upon this moment.
The Northland College Board of Trustees voted Friday to fully divest Northland College's endowment funds from fossil fuels in the next five years.
Approximately 2.9 percent of the college's $28 million endowment—about $823,000—is currently invested in fossil fuels, according to the Carbon Underground 200, an annually updated global listing of the top 100 public coal, and the top 100 natural gas and oil companies. These investments will be replaced with more socially responsible investments with no new endowment funds invested in fossil fuel companies.
By Jamie Henn
New documents from the New York State Attorney General show that while now Sec. of State Rex Tillerson was CEO of ExxonMobil, the company actively misled shareholders about climate risk and deleted "untold numbers" of documents related to climate change, including many of Tillerson's own personal emails he sent under his "Wayne Tracker" alias.
By Jamie Henn
Shareholders of ExxonMobil voted by a 62.3 percent shareholder majority Wednesday instructing the oil giant to report on their impacts on climate change. The result of this vote is a sign that activist pressure on the company is working, said 350.org, a leading international climate campaign.
U.S. Bank has become the first major bank in the U.S. to formally exclude gas and oil pipelines from their project financing. This groundbreaking change to their Environmental Responsibility Policy was publicly announced at the annual shareholders meeting in Nashville in April.
Following the epic April 29 Climate March for jobs, justice and climate, organizers are focusing on building powerful and lasting change at the local and state level.