|Photo credit: Fossil Free
By Anders Lorenzen
Sunday night in Berlin saw the launch of the European Fossil Fuel Free, championing a European wide divestment campaign similar to the one which has seen several US universities divest from fossil fuel stocks from the top 200 fossil fuel companies.
The launch event was attended by over 300 people and headlined by 350.org co founder and acclaimed US environmentalist Bill McKibben, who is one of the architects behind several popular US climate campaigns, such as the current anti Keystone XL campaign. The fight against the controversial pipeline is at the center of the US climate movement, attracting big names such as US actors Robert Redford and Darryl Hannah, as well as the elderly statesman of climate science Dr James Hansen.
On the reason behind launching the tour in Germany, McKibben said:
“Germany has been a leader in creating the clean energy economy necessary to address the climate crisis. But all of that good work will go to waste if the country’s major institutions are still funding the fossil fuel industry that’s at the root of this crisis.”
Monday evening McKibben traveled north to accept the international Sophie Price Award in Oslo, Norway, from the newly appointed Norwegian Climate and Environment minister, Tine Sundtoft.
And Tuesday evening, the Fossil Fuel Free Europe tour made a stop in Amsterdam where over 700 people greeted McKibben and Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo. To a cheering Amsterdam crowd the head of Greenpeace said: ‘’I’m really happy to be here with my favorite hooligan from the United States’’, referencing the Russian establishment’s current stalemate with Greenpeace over the 28 Greenpeace activists and two journalists being held on hooliganism’ charges following a protest at a Gazprom oil rig in the Arctic. Bill McKibben has on several occasions voiced support for Greenpeace’s call to have them released.
Earlier Kumi Naidoo had outlined why he is supporting 350.org’s tour:
“The Fossil Free Europe Tour is a bold initiative, catalysing a movement around divestment from fossil fuels and we are already starting to see results – the movement is getting bigger and stronger. We need carbon liability for those who are destroying our future on this planet and those who profit from it.”
The tour heads to the UK next with three stops; Edinburgh tonight (Wednesday), Birmingham on Thursday before concluding in London on Friday.
According to 350.org campaign organisers, the campaign to divest in Europe have already started with Norwegian pension fund Storebrand and Dutch bank Rabobank having signalled that they will not to fund fossil fuel projects. Sweden’s cluster of state pension funds have been asked to dump fossil fuel holdings from the country’s Centre Party, which forms the current government. In the UK, last week, Quakers in Britain took steps to disinvest from companies engaged in extracting fossil fuels, making them the first UK Christian denomination to do so. The church of Norway have already been very critical of Norway’s Statoil for its investments in Canada’s tar sands, which is regarded as the dirtiest and most polluting form of oil, and threatened to drop their investment in Statoil.
A recent study by the University of Oxford included that the fossil fuel divestment movement is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign.
London, United Kingdom, Friday 1st of November – get tickets here.
Sub edited by Kirstie Wielandt
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