PARIS — Speaking from the climate talks underway in Paris, leaders from the climate justice movement officially launched “Break Free From Fossil Fuels,” a series of escalated actions to take place in May 2016 to accelerate the global energy transformation away from fossil fuels; underlining how governments are not acting fast enough as key outcomes from the negotiations remain up in the air.
“The science is clear: we need to keep at least 80%, if not more, of fossil fuels in the ground,” said Payal Parekh, the Global Managing Director of 350.org, “it’s up to us to break free from fossil fuels and accelerate the shift towards a just transition to 100% renewable energy. It’s in our hands to close the ambition gap.”
Speaking to people-power and the historical significance of civil disobedience, Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director at Greenpeace International said, “We know that civil disobedience actually gets governments to sit up and take notice. We are talking with a range of organisations to go and push the idea of ‘a billion acts of courage,’ and we are doing this in a strategic way.”
In May 2016, people worldwide will engage in nonviolent direct actions to confront some of the most dangerous fossil fuel projects on the planet and build support for ambitious renewable energy initiatives. So far, actions are being planned in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, and the US. Additional countries also being considered include Ecuador, India, and the UK.
Speaking on plans underway in the Philippines Lidy Nacpil from Asia Peoples Movement on Debt and Development and Philippine Movement for Climate Justice, emphasised the urgency stemming from the fact that “in the Philippines, there are at least 50 new coal plants that our government is planning to set up in the next few years, which is not consistent with the pledges its given for these climate talks.” she underlined.
Similarly, Turkey’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) “shows how emissions will increase at a higher pace, and that there is no sign of an emission peak in the near future,” explained Cem Gundogan, a turkish activist from Ekoloji Kolektifi (The Ecology Collective). “More than 70 power plants are in the pipeline, and this is not consistent with the new climate regime. We object to this high-carbon future” he added.
As the fight for 1.5 degree Celsius takes center stage in the climate talks, concerns are still being voiced on how the treaty would operationalise this. “A 1.5 degree ceiling does not mean anything if a complete fossil freeze is not on the table. How can you achieve this while investments are still going on in the fossil fuel sector?” said Nnimmo Bassey, Nigerian activist from the Health of Mother Earth Foundation.
As the climate talks come to an end, thousands of activists are planning to take to the streets of Paris on Saturday December 12 at a still undisclosed location for a powerful gathering to show the movement’s commitment to keep up the fight for climate justice and kick start the mobilizations for May.
“On Saturday you’ll see civil society kick off their commitment to civil disobedience in the coming year. This gathering is about respect,” Parekh concluded. “We know that our leaders have shown little respect—not for the rights of people on a planet torn by inequality and racism, nor for the red lines for a just and livable planet. Lines we should dare not violate. So we will stand with our bodies to draw red lines, committed to protect our common home from burning up.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
 Additional information on Break Free From Fossil Fuels available here: breakfree2016.org
 Updates on D12 available here: http://d12.paris/