June 27, 2018

Fossil fuel resistance heats up across Europe this summer

EUROPE — Local communities and grassroots climate groups have announced escalated actions over the next few months to stop fossil fuel projects across Europe in their tracks.

Large actions of civil disobedience to disrupt coal mining are planned in Germany and the Czech Republic, while a mass action in the Netherlands will target Europe’s largest gas field.

In the UK, community and grassroots resistance against fracking will peak this summer with a series of direct action and mass blockades.

Local communities in Spain, France and Italy fight against the construction of new gas mega-pipelines. In Sweden, climate activists are growing opposition to the construction of gas terminals, which are meant to massively increase gas imports to the country.

Summer camps to strengthen connections, educate, develop skills and prepare for actions enjoy unprecedented popularity, with the first climate camp taking place in Poland, this year’s host of the UN climate talks.

Tim Ratcliffe, 350.org’s Keep it in the ground coordinator for Europe says: “Fossil fuels have destabilised our climate to the brink of collapse. Despite the rhetoric, governments are actively supporting an industry that is imposing climate-wrecking fracking wells, gas pipelines and fossil fuel power plants on communities. The good news is that more and more people from all walks of life are organising to stop them. Resistance to fossil fuels and the movement for climate justice across the region has never been stronger.”

Scientists warn that we need to phase out fossil fuels urgently to make emissions fall by 2020 and avoid irreversible climate chaos.

Chris Saltmarsh, member of Reclaim the Power (Oxford) who oppose fracking in the UK says, “People across the UK have made it crystal clear that we want a just transition to a renewables-powered economy, not an unnecessary new gas industry with fracking rigs imposed on rural communities. Wherever the fracking industry goes, we’ll be there organising with local people to shut it down. No new fossil fuels can be extracted if we are to avoid climate crisis – not in Lancashire, not in the UK, not anywhere.”  

Marcel Drenth from Groningen who is involved in the local opposition group Groningers in Opstand says: “Even if gas extraction in Groningen stopped today, we will still be facing earthquakes for the next few decades that will continue to damage our houses. The compensation and support we’ve been promised never materialised. Exxon and Shell make millions of euros from drilling in Groningen every day at the expense of the people from Groningen and our climate. We need to hold these companies to account and make them pay for the damages they cause. That’s why we’re mobilising people for a mass direct action this summer.”

Karolina Drzewo, spokesperson of the Ende Gelände alliance opposing coal in Germany says: “We have to save the Hambach forest in the Rhineland as an immediate measure for local and global climate justice. Everybody knows, that fossil fuels must stay in the ground to stop the climate crisis. Regardless the company RWE wants to destroy the forest and the livelihoods of people for the expansion of the lignite mine just to raise their profits. Ende Gelände will stop this absurdity with a mass action of civil disobedience in October.”

More and more people step up in support of these frontline fights to put pressure on the financiers that provide the loans and investments for these climate-wrecking projects. At the same time, groups across the globe organise in their communities to erode public acceptance of the fossil fuel industry. These locally distributed campaigns are gearing up for globally coordinated days of action in September and October.


Notes to editors

For more details about key fossil fuel fights in Europe, visit: 350.org/playyourpart

Video of fossil fuel fights in Europe. Photo and video materials are available upon request.



This year’s climate camp in Austria already took place in May.



For more information and connections to groups leading on fossil fuel resistance across Europe, please contact:

Melanie Mattauch, 350.org Europe Communications Coordinator, [email protected], +49 151 5812 0184