Holyrood 350 — H35O

4 Action Points For Holyrood To Avert Climate Chaos

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Fos­sil fuel divest­ment cam­paign Gath­ers momentum

Climate Change The future


From uni­ver­sity stu­dents to church groups, a united global effort will polit­i­cally bank­rupt the fos­sil fuel indus­try. (Bill McK­ibben writes in The Guardian, Tues­day 29th Oct 2013)

The world has a choice when deal­ing with cli­mate change. One is to decide it’s a prob­lem like any other, which can be dealt with slowly and over time. The other is to recog­nise it as a cri­sis, per­haps the unique cri­sis in human his­tory, which will take rapid, urgent action to overcome.

Sci­ence is in the sec­ond, scared camp – that’s the mean­ing of the IPCC report issued last month, which showed that our planet is already under­go­ing cli­matic shifts far greater than any expe­ri­enced in human civil­i­sa­tion, with far worse to come.

And those of us urg­ing divest­ment from fos­sil fuel stocks are in the sec­ond camp too – we recog­nise that busi­ness as usual is quite sim­ply impossible.

In fact, the most impor­tant fea­ture of the IPCC report is prob­a­bly that it adopted the analy­sis put for­ward by Car­bon Tracker ana­lysts in the UK and divest­ment activists who started their cam­paign a year ago in the US. The sci­en­tists’ report quite explic­itly said that most of the coal and oil and gas that the fos­sil fuel indus­try has iden­ti­fied and plans to mine or drill must remain in the ground to avoid cli­mate catastrophe.

That in turn is why the fos­sil fuel indus­try, when it isn’t in out­right denial about cli­mate change, falls into the first camp: slow, mea­sured change would be nice. Because then we could pump up all the car­bon we’ve told our share­hold­ers and our banks about. Because then our stock prices will stay nice and high. Because then we won’t have to con­front real­ity – oth­er­wise known as physics – for a while longer.

The gulf between these two camps poses a huge ques­tion for those who might think of them­selves on the side­lines. Those, say, who own shares in the fos­sil fuel indus­try. In the US, a num­ber of col­leges, churches, and uni­ver­si­ties have begun to divest those stocks, argu­ing that they can’t both simul­ta­ne­ously decry the wreck­age of the cli­mate and try to profit from it for a few more years.

The mayor of Seat­tle explained that his city was already spend­ing mil­lions build­ing sea­walls – what sense did it make to invest in the com­pa­nies mak­ing that work nec­es­sary? The trustees of San Fran­cisco State Uni­ver­sity recog­nised that it made no sense to have, on the one hand, a physics depart­ment under­stand­ing cli­mate change and on the other hand, an endow­ment full of oil and gas stocks. The United Church of Christ, which traces its roots back to the Pil­grims, decided it couldn’t pay the pas­tor by invest­ing in com­pa­nies that are run­ning Gen­e­sis backwards.

This same oppor­tu­nity is becom­ing part of a world­wide debate. From Africa come some of the loud­est voices demand­ing divest­ment: Desmond Tutu, who watched the effec­tive­ness of the move­ment a gen­er­a­tion ago when it was stock in apartheid-tainted com­pa­nies that was at issue, has asked us to take up the same tool. “If you could see the drought and famine in Africa, you would under­stand why,” he says.

And it’s not just North Amer­ica respond­ing. The Unit­ing Church in Aus­tralia, Angli­can dio­ce­ses in New Zealand, and now the UK’s Oper­a­tion Noah have launched Bright Now – a church divest­ment cam­paign whose first suc­cess came ear­lier this month with the Quak­ers in Britain announc­ing they will dis­in­vest from com­pa­nies engaged in extract­ing fos­sil fuels mak­ing them the first UK Chris­t­ian denom­i­na­tion to do so.

In addi­tion, UK uni­ver­sity stu­dents are increas­ingly engaged in divest­ment cam­paigns as evi­denced by the work under­taken by Peo­ple & Planet. To date there are 19 active divest­ment cam­paigns across the UK includ­ing uni­ver­si­ties with the largest endow­ments: Cam­bridge, Oxford and Edinburgh.

We’ll be look­ing to grow the cam­paign this month with the Fos­sil Free Europe tour, a divest­ment road show with stops in Berlin, Ams­ter­dam, Edin­burgh, Birm­ing­ham and London.

Every­one involved in this cam­paign under­stands that divest­ment won’t in fact bank­rupt Exxon or BP or Shell, but they also under­stand how impor­tant it is to polit­i­cally bank­rupt them. These are now rogue indus­tries, com­mit­ted to burn­ing more car­bon than any gov­ern­ment on earth thinks would be safe to burn. Their irre­spon­si­bil­ity belongs to their exec­u­tives and boards of direc­tors – but it also belongs to any­one who holds their shares. If you think that cli­mate change is a true cri­sis, then the time has come to sever your ties.

Fos­sil Free Tour — Global 350 Comes to Scot­land — 30th Oct 2013


By Mike Small

In the month that the global 350 Move­ment is com­ing to Scot­land, the IPCC report has been released and gives the stark­est warn­ing pos­si­ble (as if any­one need one) of the cri­sis we’re in

Many of us found inspi­ra­tion from the work of Bill McK­ibben, the move­ments founder, an Amer­i­can writer who was one of the very first peo­ple to really under­stand what was hap­pen­ing with cli­mate change. His sem­i­nal work ‘The End of Nature’ was pub­lished in 1989. Since then there’s been a slew of books from him includ­ing ‘Fight Global Warm­ing Now: The Hand­book for Tak­ing Action in Your Com­mu­nity’ (2007) and ‘Enough: Stay­ing Human in an Engi­neered Age’ (2003) and more recently ‘Eaarth: Mak­ing a Life on a Tough New Planet’ - to name just three.


Now Bill and the 350 Move­ment are com­ing to Scot­land with the message:

“If it’s wrong to wreck the cli­mate, then it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.”

This autumn, McK­ibben – will lead the Fos­sil Free Europe Tour. From Berlin to Ams­ter­dam – then to Edin­burgh on the 30th Octo­ber. As with pre­vi­ous sell-out tours in the USA and Aus­tralia, he will make the case for how the core busi­ness model of the fos­sil fuel indus­try is destroy­ing our cli­mate, and poses the great­est threat human­ity has ever faced.

This won’t be a typ­i­cal lec­ture, but a multi-media expe­ri­ence that will help gal­vanise the move­ment. McK­ibben will bring together, on stage and on video, an impres­sive group of social move­ment lead­ers, organ­is­ers, cli­mate sci­en­tists, and opin­ion lead­ers to make the case that divest­ing from fos­sil fuel com­pa­nies is not just morally just, but eco­log­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally smart. He will do so in col­lab­o­ra­tion with local move­ment lead­ers and live musi­cal per­for­mances from the ground-breaking artist Filastine.

Book your tick­ets here.

Here’s Bill’s famous, bril­liant and scarey Rolling Stone arti­cle ‘Global Warming’s Ter­ri­fy­ing New Math’ from 2012 with 6577 com­ments – which shook America.

 Thanks to Mike Small for this take on Bill McK­ibben and the Fos­sil Free Tour, first pub­lished on Fife Diet.


What is Holy­rood 350?


Holy­rood 350 was launched by peo­ple from across Scot­land who are actively work­ing to reduce their com­mu­ni­ties car­bon foot­print com­ing together to ask:

How can com­mu­ni­ties help the Scot­tish Par­lia­ment at Holy­rood to tackle the fun­da­men­tal dri­vers that are threat­en­ing all our futures, and how can we sup­port them to enable com­mu­ni­ties to build their resilience and tackle these causes at the local level too?

We were respond­ing to the mes­sage of top cli­mate sci­en­tists that CO2 in the atmos­phere must be reduced from what was then (when H350 formed in 2009) 390ppm to bring CO2 down to below 350, to avoid a rise of 2 degrees and cat­a­strophic cli­mate chaos.

As peo­ple from cli­mate active com­mu­ni­ties the length and breadth of Scot­land, we fully appre­ci­ated the ground break­ing Cli­mate Change Act brought in by the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment and passed by our Par­lia­ment. As peo­ple fully aware of the lack of progress in inter­na­tional nego­ti­a­tions -  at Copen­hagen, Can­cun, Dur­ban, etc. — we were clear that the Scot­tish Government’s  Cli­mate Chal­lenge Fund is a glob­ally unique, cutting-edge way of inspir­ing and help­ing local com­mu­ni­ties to demon­strate that reduc­ing car­bon emis­sions can increase com­mu­nity cohe­sion, infra­struc­ture, energy secu­rity and well-being.

We see the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment as being in a unique posi­tion to con­tinue tak­ing the lead in the race out of car­bon, not only through ensur­ing that all our energy needs are met through renew­ables, but by enabling all com­mu­ni­ties to make the tran­si­tion to resilience through adopt­ing a clear frame­work in which com­mu­ni­ties can flour­ish. By doing so Scot­land can demon­strate to the world how ris­ing to the chal­lenge of cli­mate change can enrich rather than impov­er­ish us.

A sketch of the draft Resilience Strat­egy for Scot­land we pro­duced is here.

HOLYROOD 350 is cur­rently co-ordinated by Justin Ken­rick of PEDAL Por­to­bello. It was set up by him and by the fol­low­ing peo­ple who were at that time involved in the fol­low­ing com­mu­nity ini­tia­tives (most still are):

Andy Ross Glas­gow CRAG, Mike Small Fife Diet, Lucy Con­way Isle of Eigg, Eva Schon­veld PEDAL Por­to­bello, Rachel Nunn Going Car­bon Neu­tral Stir­ling, Nick Wild­ing Falk­land Tran­si­tion, Jonathan Daw­son Find­horn Ecov­il­lage, Jane Grey Let’s Live Local, Abi Mor­den Urban Roots Glas­gow, Alan Drever Sleat, Isle of Skye, Alan Brown Tran­si­tion Lin­lith­gow

We have spo­ken very clearly through dif­fer­ent media at dif­fer­ent times — e.g. through our excel­lent event in Par­lia­ment — but after a break of a year or two where local activ­i­ties took over from push­ing in this way at the national level, we are asking:

- Is Holyrood350/350 Scot­land a cru­cial ini­tia­tive to revive at this fluid time in Scot­tish pol­i­tics? If not, fine — there’s plenty else to be doing! But if so

- What is the best way for com­mu­ni­ties to speak and effect change at the national level in Scot­land today? and, more specifically,

- Should we redesign and relaunch this old old web­site as 350land, and recon­vene (vir­tu­ally &/or face to face)?

… let us know your thoughts!

justinken­rick (at) yahoo.co.uk



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