Media Advisory: June 9th 2022
A group of youth activists from Eastern Africa and Eastern Europe are kickstarting a mobilisation tour across Europe to call on world leaders to urgently stop global coal, oil and gas expansion, and phase out all fossil fuel use and financing. The tour started at the Stockholm+50 conference last week, moved to the UNFCCC Bonn climate conference this week, and will conclude at the G7 meeting in Germany at the end of June. The activists are taking part in a series of international events and actions that will spotlight the need for an urgent transition from fossil fuels to clean energy in response to the war in Ukraine fueled by Russian oil and gas, and Europe’s subsequent dash for gas expansion.
There is clear scientific evidence of the need to phase out existing fossils fuel projects and immediately halt expansions to prevent an average global temperature rise above 1.5C, and a groundbreaking report exposing undeveloped oil and gas reserves as massive “carbon bombs” – 195 of the biggest oil and gas projects globally – that would create a catastrophic climate breakdown. Yet countries and complicit oil and gas companies and their shareholders are planning a raft of new oil and gas fields, using the war as a justification for new fossil fuel projects.
The world is breaking new climate records, which are bringing long-lasting effects, wreaking a heavy toll on human life. Loss and damage is happening now, climate change is already here and many people across the globe are feeling the impacts of heatwaves, unprecedented flooding and other severe consequences of the climate crisis.
The activists on the tour are part of the Rise Up Movement (Uganda), Fridays For Future Ukraine, and Fridays For Future Poland. This week, activists will be joining climate strikes in Stockholm and Bonn, Germany, before heading to the Austrian World Summit in Vienna next week.
Quotes from youth activists on the tour:
“The war in Ukraine shouldn’t happen, the climate crisis shouldn’t happen – but here we are. Countries are depending on resources that fuels war and climate crisis. Now, the war is being taken advantage of by oil, gas and coal companies to increase profits at the expense of people and the planet, and to justify short-sighted expansion of oil and gas which will lock us into decades more fossil fuel production and climate breakdown,” says Ilyess El-Kortbi, Fridays For Future Ukraine.
“Fossil fuel companies already understand the dangers and harm fossil fuels have caused to the people and the planet. Yet they continue to ignore these risks, and instead invest in new oil and gas projects to make more profits, while people are dying and losing everything. There has to be an end to fossil fuels to allow for a just transition to a clean and sustainable environment for all,” says Evelyn Acham, Rise Up Movement.
“We are coming together from Africa and Eastern Europe with a shared aim: To stop all new fossil fuel investments around the world. Those countries most responsible for the climate crisis must address loss and damage. We are already suffering unjust debts trapping us into yet more fossil fuels. No matter where we live, Ukraine or Uganda, we all have the right to a future safe from war and climate breakdown,“ says Vanessa Nakate, Rise Up Movement.
“What more do we need to witness, for politicians to finally put an end to the deadly era of fossil fuels? The addiction of those in power to money, fossil fuels and business-as-usual takes lives away from our friends and neighbours. If we are to secure peace and any of the democratic values, we must rapidly cut off from any non-renewable energy sources. End to autocracies and their toxic tools of power must be the priority in the coming weeks, if we are to have any liveable future, and actually – any liveable present,” says Dominika Lasota, Fridays For Future Poland.
“Climate finance should not be given in the form of loans, forcing those least responsible for the climate crisis further into debt and making a transition to a sustainable future impossible. Let’s invest in a sustainable future, not fossils,” says Joshua Omonuk, Rise Up Movement.
|Stockholm +50||Participation in side events and demonstrations – including the main youth protest against government inaction on climate||June 2-3|
|European Parliament session in Strasbourg||Speaking up for ambition in the EU climate law and against gas and nuclear as sustainable investments||June 6-9|
|UNFCCC Bonn climate change conference||Participation in side events and demonstrations||June 6-16|
|Austrian World Summit||March in Vienna||June 12-15|
|G7 Leaders’ Summit, Schloss Elmau, Germany||Protest camp in Garmisch (town closest to Schloss Elmau, G7 summit venue)||June 24-28|
|G7 Leaders’ Summit||G7 demonstration in Munich||June 25|
|G7 Leaders’ Summit||G7 demonstration in Garmisch||June 26|
|EU Taxonomy vote in European Parliament Strasbourg||Actions on the ground in Strasbourg||July 4-6th|
Biographies of youth activists taking part (photos available here)
- Ilyess El Kortbi, 25 (they/them), a Ukrainian climate justice activist with Fridays For Future. Originally from Kharkiv, Ilyess fled the war to speak for peace and climate justice, joining climate strikes and meetings with experts and politicians in the last months. Ilyess sees the war in Ukraine as caused by Europe’s dependence on fossil energy owned by autocrats, and is advocating for peace through climate action.
- Dominika Lasota is a 20-year-old climate justice activist from Poland connected to Fridays For Future. Having roots in the Silesia region, she has been fighting for a coal phase-out and just transition in Poland. Since the outbreak of the full-scale war in Ukraine, together with Ukrainian civil society, she has been coordinating the efforts to cut off financing for Russian fossil fuels, and speed up the energy revolution towards renewables.
- Evelyn Acham is a climate activist from Uganda. She is the national coordinator for the Rise Up Movement, as well as a member of Fridays for Future and an Arctic Angel with global choices. She heads a plus tree project which involves planting and distribution of fruit trees in Uganda and her target is 9 million fruit trees and more. She is also passionate about climate education in schools.
- Davis Reuben Sekamwa is a sustainable energy and climate activist from the Rise up movement and project lead on the VashGreen Schools Project which is promoting cleaner cooking and lighting technologies in rural schools in a bid to promote a transit to renewable energy for all.
- Vanessa Nakate is a climate justice activist from Uganda and a co-founder of the Rise Up Movement. She is working on a project that involves installation of solar and institutional stoves in schools. Vanessa’s book ‘The Bigger Picture’ depicts her struggle to bring more African voices to the global climate debates.
- Wiktoria Jędroszkowiak is a 20-year-old activist based in Poland fighting climate injustice with Fridays For Future; since Russian full-scale attack on Ukraine she has been campaigning for the full embargo on all Russian fossil fuels and working with Ukrainian-Polish civil society. She hosts radio shows on climate and social justice.
Contact: Camilla Schramek, [email protected], +45 50 22 92 88