Press Room

350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Founded in 2008 by a group of college friends and environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben, we have coordinated over 20,000 climate demonstrations in more than 182 countries. In 2013, 350.org is helping lead the fight against the Keystone XL pipeline, pushing for fossil fuel divestment, and organizing Global Power Shift.


Contact

To connect with 350.org and our spokespeople, please contact:

Jamie Henn, 350.org Director of Strategy and Communications, jamie@350.org, 1-415-890-3350 (Brooklyn)

Hoda Baraka, 350.org Global Communications Manager, hoda@350.org, +20 100 184 0990 (Cairo) 


Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 
December 6, 2013 
Contact: Katie McChesney, katie@350.org, 614-738-9235
 
After Initial Rejections, Students Escalate Campaign for Fossil Fuel Divestment 
 
At campuses across the country, activists are turning up the heat on administrations that have refused to dump fossil fuel stocks 
 
CAMBRIDGE, MA -- Students across the country are escalating their campaigns for fossil fuel divestment after a number of high profile colleges and universities have rejected measures demanding they sell their stocks. 
 
Schools that have rejected requests for divestment include Harvard University, Cornell University, Middlebury College, Boston College, Vassar College, the City University of New York, Brown University, and Swarthmore College. 
 
Divestment activists at each of these schools and others have come together and written a joint letter “rejecting the divestment rejections” and pledging to take future action. Over the coming week, students around the country will be marching to their president’s home or administrative offices to deliver the letter. 
 
“We can’t continue to pretend that we’re working towards a sustainable campus if we’re still investing in fossil fuels. It’s time for the Vassar community to stand up to what is wrong, and stop turning a blind eye to the injustices we’re funding,” said Graham Stewart, sophomore at Vassar College, where students will host a teach-in on fossil fuel divestment on Friday, followed by a letter delivery to President Catherine Bond Hill. 
 
In the college-rich Boston area, over 150 students from eight area schools are expected to gather on a footbridge crossing the Charles River this Sunday for a joint divestment demonstration. Speakers at the Boston event will include climate activist, and Harvard Divinity School student, Tim DeChristopher, who spent over a year in prison for disrupting an oil auction in Utah. 
 
After the rally, students from Tufts and Boston College will march directly to President Leahy and Father Monaco’s houses to deliver their demands for divestment, while Harvard students will march to President Faust’s office. 
 
Meanwhile, students at other campuses will be turning up the heat as well. On Friday, divestment activists at Middlebury and Swarthmore will be delivering the “rejection” letter to their college President and Board of Trustees. Students from the City University of New York will deliver a holiday care package to Matthew Sapienza, the CUNY administrator who said "no" to divestment, requesting a joint meeting with Cambridge Associates, the university’s money manager. 
 
“After getting a ‘no’ from the College administration, we have shifted our focus on consolidating our own power through a number of ways, including participating in a national divestment network, getting faculty and alumni support, and organizing more educational events for our peers on campus,” said Adrian Leong, a student at Middlebury College. “Our newest venture is collaborating with other student groups on campus to broaden our support base. We will organize until we win, so there’s no getting rid of us from the College administrators’ perspective, ever.” 
 
 
Next Wednesday, students at Cornell will speak at a faculty meeting where a vote on whether or not to support divestment will take place. Cornell’s President David Skorton said last spring that the university wouldn’t be divesting “in the immediate foreseeable future,” but students hope that a “yes” vote from faculty will increase pressure on the administration. 
 
“Of course we're not giving up,” said Jimmy O’Dea, a postdoctoral scholar researching clean energy technology and active with Cornell’s divestment campaign. “The no's campuses have gotten are just responses, not answers or end-alls. This isn't an ‘ok, if you say so’ kind of movement. This is a ‘spread the word and stand up for what's right’ kind of movement.’”
 
Groups like the Responsible Endowments Coalition, the Sierra Student Coalition, the Energy Action Coalition, As You Sow, and 350.org are working closely with students to help provide them training and support for escalating their efforts on campus. From media coaching to workshops on how to organize a successful sit-in, the campaign is training hundreds of new activists in the skills it takes to win campaigns. 
 
“Working with students across the country, I have seen the fossil fuel divestment movement galvanize millennials to confront the increasing role of corporate interests in university decision-making.” said Lauren Ressler, National Organizer with the Responsible Endowments Coalition. “By refusing to take no for an answer, these students are challenging their universities to stand with students and impacted communities instead of the fossil fuel industry.” 
 
Over the last year, the fossil fuel divestment campaign has spread to over 300 colleges and universities and more than 100 cities, states and religious institutions across the United States. The movement is also active in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, where the climate campaign 350.org recently concluded a multi-city tour promoting the effort. 
 
Sara Blazevic, a student from Swarthmore College said, "Communities all over the world are currently feeling the effects of extreme climate change and environmental injustice. This global crisis will only continue growing unless society's power-holders throw their weight behind solutions to climate change, instead of remaining complicit with environmental destruction."
 
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Contact info:
Vassar College: Graham Stewart, grstewart@vassar.edu, 860-538-7404
Responsible Endowments Coalition: Lauren Ressler, lauren@endowmentethics.org, 917-930-0123
Swarthmore College: Sara Blazevic, sara.blazevic@gmail.com, 646-249-9545
Middlebury College: Adrian Leong, hleong@middlebury.edu
Cornell University: Jimmy O’Dea, odea.james@gmail.com, 702-376-0106 
 
 
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November 22, 2013 

CONTACT:

Jamie Henn, Communications Director, jamie@350.org, +48-792-183-258

Hoda Baraka, Global Communications Manager, hoda@350.org, +48-792-183-352

 

As UN Talks Close in Warsaw, Climate Activists Turn to Challenging the Fossil Fuel Industry

WARSAW, Poland -- As the latest round of UN Climate Talks (COP19) conclude in Warsaw without significant progress on key issues of finance and reducing emissions, people around the world are coming together to stand with the Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan and challenge the fossil fuel industry that is at the root of the climate crisis. [1]

 

“Typhoon Haiyan, and the failure of delegates in Warsaw to make serious progress on a new climate treaty, has sparked a wave of action across the globe,” said May Boeve, 350.org Executive Director. “There’s a new sense of momentum in the fight against the fossil fuel industry. People know their future is at stake.”

 

In the last week, over 600,000 people have signed onto petitions, including on 350.org, to show solidarity with the Philippines and call for immediate climate action. On Tuesday, 350.org and Avaaz partnered with lead Filipino negotiator Yeb Saño to deliver the signatures directly to the UN conference.

 

Beginning this Thursday, communities around the world are hosting candlelit vigils, using the message #WeStandWithYou to continue to push for progress. The vigils are taking place in countries around the world, from the United States to South Africa to the Philippines. At many universities, students are pushing for fossil fuel divestment at their vigils, asking their institution to “divest from disaster.” [2]

 

“What’s even more painful than the increasing casualties after a storm is that our country, that has little to do with climate change, is bearing the brunt of the big polluters’ neglected responsibility to cut emissions,” said Zephanie Danieles, 350.org Southeast Asia Coordinator, based in the Philippines.

 

In Warsaw, organizations took their own action on Thursday afternoon by walking out on the negotiations to protest the lack of progress and corporate takeover of the process. The Polish government not only allowed corporate sponsors for the talks, but co-sponsored a major coal summit during the negotiations. 350.org helped organize a protest outside the coal meeting last weekend and joined today’s walkout. [3]

 

Earlier Thursday morning, 350.org and over 70 groups released a letter requesting the UN and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to enact new rules to protect the climate talks from corporate influence. The letter cited the example of the World Health Organization’s decision to regulate the tobacco industry in international health negotiations. [4]

 

“It’s powerful to see groups from across civil society coming to the same conclusion that in order to keep open any hope of an international climate treaty, we need to challenge the power of the fossil fuel industry,” said Jamie Henn, 350.org’s Communications Director in Warsaw. “By walking out of COP19, we’re walking into a fight with the real enemies to progress: the coal, oil and gas companies that have a stranglehold over our governments and economy.”

 

In the months after Warsaw, 350.org will be expanding its fossil fuel divestment campaign, continuing the fight against major dirty energy projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, and working to strengthen the global grassroots climate movement through initaitives like Global Power Shift. [5]

 

“At present any potential roadmap to a legally binding agreement by 2015 is being obstructed and overshadowed by the power of the fossil fuel industry,” said Hoda Baraka, Global Communications Manager for 350.org. “For us, this is the real conversation we need to be having otherwise real solutions will never materialize. This conference has served to really crystallize the situation.”

 

##

 

NOTES FOR EDITORS

 

[1] Super Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in world history. More than 4 million people have been displaced and around 10,000 are feared dead. There are several ways in which climate change can affect typhoons like Haiyan, and will continue to do so in the future, including: increasing sea surface temperatures, adding more energy to storms; increasing the amount of precipitation associated with tropical cyclones, because warm air holds more water than cold; and, causing sea level rise which increases the destructive power of storm surges.

[2] http://act.350.org/sign/haiyan/

[3] http://350.org/blog/cough4coal

[4] Letter available here: http://corporateeurope.org/blog/open-letter-calling-rules-protect-integrity-climate-policy-making-vested-corporate-interests

[5] Further information on the GoFossilFree divestment campaign can be found here:

http://gofossilfree.org/

Further information on the Global Power Shift can be found here:

http://globalpowershift.org/

 

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November 21, 2013

Civil Society Pushes to Block Fossil Fuel Lobbying from UN Climate Talks

WARSAW, Poland -- Over 70 organisations from across global civil society released a letter [1] this morning calling on the United Nations and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to implement new rules to safeguard the global climate talks from the undue influence of the fossil fuel industry.

“Is it any wonder that rich, industrialised countries are reneging on their commitments to lead on emissions cuts and provide new climate finance when whispering in their ear is an industry that profits from more emissions?” said Pascoe Sabido, a Researcher and Campaigner with Corporate Europe Observatory. “If we want the climate talks to deliver anything like what science and equity demand, we need a firewall between dirty industry and climate policy makers.”


In the letter, the organisations share their concerns about the corporate sponsorship [2] of COP19, the Polish government’s decision to co-sponsor a coal industry summit during the talks, and UN Climate Secretary Christiana Figueres’ decision to speak at the summit.


“Therefore, there is an urgent need for rules to govern the relationship between the UNFCCC and the fossil fuel industry, including obligations for COP Presidents,” the letter continues. “Rules that would ensure the current damaging situation is avoided, by ending the undue access and influence of polluting businesses and industries, recognising that their direct commercial interests are fundamentally and irreconcilably in conflict with the urgent need for an equitable and ambitious climate policy.”


There is a strong precedent for treaty organisations like the UNFCCC to pass rules and guidelines to regulate the undue influence of corporations. For example, the World Health Organisation’s global tobacco treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which entered into force in 2005, enshrines in international law the principle that the tobacco industry has no role in public health policy-making, due to the “fundamental and irreconcilable conflict between the tobacco industry's interests and public health policy interests” and states that “Parties shall act to protect these policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.” The implementing guidelines to 5.3 elaborate that this involves limiting interactions between the industry that profits from harm and those tasked with minimising and ultimately stopping the harm it causes.


“The planetary emergency, made crystal clear by the recent disaster in the Philippines, demands a complete transformation of the energy system. Yet the Polish Presidency and the UNFCCC have put dirty energy companies in the driving seat.” said Dipti Bhatnagar, Climate Justice and Energy programme coordinator at Friends of the Earth International. “Tobacco lobbyists are kept away from the World Health Organisation, so why should fossil fuel lobbyists be allowed near the UNFCCC?”


With the next global climate deal expected to be signed in Paris in 2015, civil society groups will be looking to the UNFCCC to introduce safeguards and rules that are commensurate with the challenge of protecting the climate. Meanwhile, many of the co-signed organisations will be continuing their campaigns to combat the political power of the fossil fuel industry, from the growing fossil fuel divestment movement, to fights over lobbying disclosure, to campaigns against coal projects and fossil fuels exploration around the world.


“Dirty corporations are at the climate talks for one reason only: to convince governments to support their failed, false solutions; solutions which not only wreck our climate but make the polluters a lot of money in the process.” Said Maxime Combes of ATTAC France. “Communities here are fighting fracking and nuclear power and if nothing changes by the time negotiations arrive in Paris, their industry representatives will be inside the UNFCCC trying to pass themselves off as a climate solution. It’s simply unacceptable.”

 

Notes for editors:


[1] For the full text of the letter, see http://corporateeurope.org/blog/open-letter-calling-rules-protect-integrity-climate-policy-making-vested-corporate-interests


[2] For more information on the role of corporations at COP19, see http://corporateeurope.org/blog/cop19-guide-corporate-lobbying

 
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November 19, 2013

Avaaz, 350.org and Allies Join Philippines to Deliver 600,000+ Signatures Calling for Action at Warsaw Climate Talks 

WARSAW, Poland -- Civil society groups and young people will join Avaaz, 350.org and Filipino climate negotiator Yeb Saño at the UN Climate Talks this afternoon, to deliver well over 600,000 signatures from people around the world who are standing with the Philippines to demand progress here in Warsaw. 
 
 
For more photos of the event, please visit: http://bit.ly/westand
 
"Typhoon Haiyan shows that climate change is happening now and is claiming lives,” said Iain Keith, Senior Campaigner at Avaaz.org “The urgent need to cut carbon emissions and help vulnerable countries prepare for climate chaos could not be clearer and today over half a million people have joined Yeb Sano's campaign demanding action. Their message is clear: we urgently need rich polluting countries to honour their promises, and outline a clear plan on climate finance in Warsaw.”
 
Last week, in an unprecedented move for an official negotiator, Yeb Saño authored a petition on Avaaz calling for “major steps forward” here in Warsaw on the issues of carbon pollution reduction, finance, and “loss and damage,” anew system to help countries manage the risks and deal with the losses to climate disasters. 
 
His call was supported by similar petitions from 350.org, MoveOn, Friends of the Earth, CREDO Action, Forecast the Facts, SustainUS, 18 Million Rising, and other organizations. In total, more than 600,000 people have signed on to these calls for immediate action. Many organizations, including those listed above, are also fundraising for immediate relief in the Philippines. 
 
“The climate-related disaster in the Philippines is an urgent call to action which has been echoed around the world,” said Hoda Baraka, Global Communications Manager for 350.org. “We stand with the Philippines to honor the victims of this tragedy--and all those impacted by climate change--and shine a light on the real culprits: the fossil fuel industry.” 
 
The Typhoon, Yeb Saño’s emotional appeal for action, and his commitment to fast throughout the talks, has inspired a widespread show of global solidarity. In Warsaw, a number of delegates at the talks are fasting in solidarity with Saño. This week, hundreds--perhaps thousands--of people are expected to join the voluntary fast for at least a day. On Thursday evening, candlelit vigils united by the message “#WeStandWithYou” are planned around the world. 
 
“The climate justice movement is gaining momentum every day,” said Silje Lundberg, from Young Friends of the Earth Norway. “Young people stood with the Philippines after Typhoon Bopha and we continue to do so, now by fasting in solidarity after another super typhoon. We refuse to accept inaction and will be doing everything we can to put pressure on our governments and the polluters that stand in the way of progress.” 
 
Despite the climate-related tragedy in the Philippines, the Warsaw climate talks have been plagued by a lack of ambition from rich countries. These nations have yet to offer serious financial commitments or up their levels of ambition to cut emissions. Instead, nations like Japan and Australia are backing away from previously made commitments. 
 
Super Typhoon Haiyan (called Yolanda by many in the Philippines) was the strongest tropical cyclone to make landfall in world history. There are several ways in which climate change can affect typhoons like Haiyan, and will continue to do so in the future, including: increasing sea surface temperatures, adding more energy to storms; increasing the amount of precipitation associated with tropical cyclones, because warm air holds more water than cold; and, causing sea level rise which increases the destructive power of storm surges. 
 
After a year of storms, droughts, wildfires, and flooding around the world, Typhoon Haiyan has helped solidify the connection between extreme weather and climate change in the mainstream media and public consciousness. In a recent speech, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon connected the typhoon to climate change, calling it an “urgent warning." On Saturday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said, “evidence seems to me to be growing” that typhoons like Haiyan are connected to climate change and that scientists are “giving us a very certain message” about the threat of the climate crisis. 
 
###
 
For more information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
- Iain Keith (in Warsaw): iain@avaaz.org, +48 506 682 718
- Jamie Henn (in Warsaw) jamie@350.org, +48792183258
 
### 
 
18 November 2013
 

Protestors address coal lobby meeting at Warsaw climate talks: ‘There is no such thing as clean coal’

WARSAW – People from around the world gathered today in front of Poland’s Ministry of Economy in protest of the World Coal Association’s International Coal and Climate Summit organised on the sidelines of the 19th UN climate change conference.
 
 
Demonstrators argue that the business-as-usual agenda of the summit is an attempt to distract attention from the imperative of addressing climate change. The summit aims to maintain an already fragile coal industry that without subsidies would collapse, say the organisers.
 
With the action’s centrepiece in town – an eight-metre, inflatable set of breathing lungs [1] – protestors at the ‘People before coal’ rally are calling for an immediate phase out of all coal technologies and a shift of investments towards energy technologies that respect peoples’ health, the climate and environment.
 
The Coal and Climate Summit is organised under the heading ‘clean coal technologies, opportunities and innovations,’ [2] suggesting that new technologies like carbon capture and storage and underground gasification can transform coal into a green energy source.
 
But participants at today’s rally say that the thin façade of ‘clean coal’ masks the risks to people’s health and the environment by a set of unproven and costly technologies designed to delay action on climate change. [3]
 
The most recent report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is unequivocal about the need to keep roughly two-thirds of known fossil fuel reserves in the ground in order to limit rising global temperatures.
 
Yet in the run-up to the Coal and Climate Summit, the World Coal Association has argued [4] for increased investments in more efficient coal power stations. Organisers of the action point out that coal is neither clean nor cheap, because burning coal releases a number of hazardous air pollutants that in turn cause chronic diseases like bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer.
 
Speaking during the rally, Józef Drzazgowski from the Association for the Conservation of the Environment “Przyjezierze” in Poland’s Wielkopolska lignite mining region, said: “Coal extraction causes human suffering and irreversible damage to the environment. We cannot put a value on the destruction of our community’s social fabric, and the loss of livelihoods when our farmlands are ripped apart to extract coal.”
 
Isobel Braithwaite, from the International Federation of Medical Students Associations, said: “There is no question that burning coal damages our lungs, and it affects how well we breathe. It is imperative that governments around the world say no to coal burning and protect citizens, especially youth and children from its impacts. Remember: climate change is also the biggest threat to human health in the twenty first century.”
 
During a press conference following the action, Dr. Michal Wilczynski, the former Chief Geologist and ex-Deputy Minister of Environment in Poland, said: “In discussions about Poland’s energy strategy till 2050, I have yet to hear anything from a politician or an official that shows they care for the well-being of Polish citizens. Official scenarios estimate that in 2050 Poland will use 60 million tonnes of lignite and 50 million tonnes of hard coal, requiring the development of new coal mines and power plants and causing untold damage to our health, environment and climate. The fact that the Coal and Climate Summit is being held under the auspices of the Polish government is further proof that it cares neither for the well-being of its citizens nor the environment.”
 
Soumya Dutta, the national convenor of India’s people’s science campaign, added: “We are now experiencing the worst impacts of the climate crisis, and this decade has seen the most serious of climate disasters.  Yet the world is running in circles to find concrete solutions, while continuing to advocate false solutions like 'clean-coal'. There is no more tomorrow – if political leaders do not act today, they will be forced out tomorrow.”
 
For more information about the action and press conference contact
 
In Warsaw
Anna Drążkiewicz, Polish Green Network
Mobile: +48 - 514 32 67 80
annadrazkiewicz@zielonasiec.pl
 
Jamie Henn from 350.org
Mobile: +48 - 792 183 258
Jamie@350.org
 
For more information about the health impacts of coal contact
 
In Warsaw
Julia Huscher, Health and Environment Alliance HEAL
Mobile: + 48 509 619 270
julia@env-health.org
 
Notes for editors
 
[1] Images of the action are available at facebook.com/cough4coal. The inflatable lungs were created by the art-activist group Tools for Action http://www.toolsforaction.net/
[2] http://scc.com.pl/konferencje/en/cct/
[3] A fully-referenced briefing about the myths of clean coal is available at: http://bankwatch.org/sites/default/files/clean-coal-no-such-thing.pdf
[4]http://www.worldcoal.org/extract/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/The-Warsaw-Communique-2013.pdf



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12 November 2013
 

Push for Fossil Fuel Divestment Grows at UN Climate Talks

Concerns over corporate influence at the COP19 fuel a growing divestment campaign going after the social license of the fossil fuel industry 
 
Warsaw, Poland – The Polish government’s decision to put the coal industry front and center at this year’s UN climate negotiations has sparked a backlash from young people and civil society groups who are determined to challenge the social license of coal companies and the broader fossil fuel industry. 
 
“It’s time to start treating the fossil fuel industry like Big Tobacco,” said May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, an international climate campaign. “When it comes to the UN Climate Talks, the fossil fuel companies aren’t just looking for a seat at the table, they’re looking to burn the table down. Until we can challenge their political power, we won’t see real climate progress.”
 
At the Climate Action Network press conference in Warsaw today, a representative from YOUNGO, the youth constituency at the talks, will speak about the growing divestment movement that is going after the social license of the fossil fuel industry. 
 
“The fossil fuel industry’s business model is fundamentally opposed to the survival of people across the world and a decent life for my generation,” said Louisa Casson, communications officer with the UK Youth Climate Coalition. “The industry is making a desperate attempt for relevancy here at COP19, but their time is up, they have no future. These talks must be about the future of my generation and generations to come.”
 
YOUNGO are planning a variety of actions here in Warsaw to target the fossil fuel industry and stand in solidarity with the millions of people in the Philippines and around the world who are feeling the impacts of climate change. YOUNGO will also be hosting a side-event focused on the divestment movement. 
 
The  growing fossil fuel divestment campaign has spread to over 500 universities, cities and religious institutions across Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Nearly 50 institutions have already divested, including the UK Quakers, the United Church of Christ in the United States, major cities like Seattle and San Francisco, and a growing number of universities. Large pension funds, such as Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, are considering divestment from fossil fuels like coal. 
 
Activists are already labeling the Warsaw negotiations the “Coal COP” (Council of the Parties) and pushing the U.N. Secretariat and progressive countries to take a stronger stand against the industry.
 
In the weeks leading up the negotiations, the Polish government has doubled down on its embrace of the coal industry, making it clear they have no plans to seriously address consumption or emissions. The government is partnering with the World Coal Association to hold a major coal summit during the second week of the climate talks. Coal fired power plants are the largest source of greenhouse gas emission in the world, making coal the number one threat to the climate. 
 
“Hosting a coal and climate summit side-by-side is like throwing a cigarette expo next to a meeting of cancer experts,” said 350.org’s executive director, May Boeve. 
 
All of the emphasis on coal, however, has only served to cast more of a spotlight on the fragile state of the industry.
 
In the United States, coal demand has fallen by about 20% over the last five years, while environmental regulations in Europe will force the closure of many coal fired power plants over the next decade. The drop in demand has resulted in a similar drop in share price for many coal companies, sometimes by as much as 75%.
 
The situation for the industry will only get worse. According to a slew of recent reports by institutions like the World Bank, HSBC, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, 60-80% of current fossil fuel reserves must stay underground in order to limit global warming to below 2°C.
 
Coal, and other high-carbon, unconventional fuels such as tar sands, are likely to be the hardest hit by the tightening carbon budget. The threat of these reserves turning into stranded assets has led many investors to start shedding their coal industry stocks, and fueled fears of a carbon bubble resulting from the overvaluation of fossil fuel companies. The prices of some coal mining companies have plummeted 75%, while many others have gone out of business.
 
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Nov. 8, 2013

Response to Train Derailment and President Obama's visit to New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS -- In response to news of the train derailment of cars carrying crude oil from North Dakota through Alabama and President Obama's trip to New Orleans, 350.org executive director May Boeve and Gulf Coast author and activist Cherri Foytlin issued the following statements:

May Boeve:

"Our hearts go out to the communities affected by this horrific incident. An investigation will reveal the cause of this derailment, but the effect is clear: another community is paying the costs while the oil industry is making billions. This is an injustice that must end.

"This train derailment will no doubt become part of the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline. Choosing between rail and pipelines is a false choice. When oil use is down and science is telling us we must leave fossil fuels behind to deal with the climate crisis, it's clear we don't need Keystone XL.

"Today, President Obama was in New Orleans, a place that knows all too well the effects of what fossil fuels are doing to our climate and our health. The time has come for the president to stand up and say no more. No more busted pipelines. No more derailed trains. No more oil addiction. This commitment from the president is past due. The time for leadership is now." 

 

Cherri Foytlin:

"Ironically, scientists predict that the exact same spot where the President spoke today will be underwater by the end of this century. What will happen to this city and the people who live here? What will happen to the livelihoods of the port workers who were in that room today, when their jobs have been washed away? 

"We already have refuges of climate change here in the Gulf of Mexico. Entire communities that are being forced from their lands and cultures by rising seas. In an area already inundated with pollution from industry, the continuation of devastating health and ecological effects from the BP Disaster, and 5 major hurricanes in less than a decade - I think that it is past time for a real discussion concerning not only our future on this planet, but ending our present destructive cycle of wasteful and selfish practices.

"Climate change, climate disasters, industrial pollution, carbon emmissions, fenceline communities, environmental justice, they are all really about one thing - life. It is about protecting life. It really is that simple."

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Nov 7, 2013

Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund Moves Towards Coal Divestment

OSLO, Norway -- Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund, managed by Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM), is on the way to becoming the largest institutional investor in the world to divest from coal companies.


“It makes no sense for a country that prides itself on environmental consciousness to be invested in coal companies that are destroying the climate,” said Arild Hermstad, leader of Framtiden i våre hender (Future in Our Hands, Norway’s largest environmental organization). “If Norway’s pension fund divests, it would be a big step in the right direction and help pave the way for other large institutions to follow.”


The Labour opposition party put forward the proposal to divest Norway’s Sovereign Wealth Fund from coal earlier this week as part of an effort to reform the $800bn fund’s lending policies. While the Labour party lost their place in government after Norway’s recent election, they now form a majority with smaller parties that favors divestment from coal. The Socialist Left Party has pronounced that they will work for further divestment from fossil fuels.


The move is a big boost for the growing fossil fuel divestment campaign following an earlier announcement by the Norwegian pension fund Storebrand to divest from 19 fossil fuel companies declaring the environmental and financial risks were too great to sustain.


The divestment campaign, officially launched in Europe last week, is growing rapidly after spreading to over 400 institutions across North America, New Zealand, and Australia.


“This decision adds momentum to all of our divestment campaigns across Europe and around the world. Divesting from coal is a great first step towards the full fossil fuel divestment that is both morally and financially necessary,” said Ragnhild Freng Dale, an organizer in Norway with the Fossil Free campaign, an effort coordinated by the climate group 350.org to help support divestment efforts across Europe.


Future in Our Hands has found that Norway’s Social Wealth Fund -- also known as the Oil Fund (Oljefondet), increased investments in coal in 2012, and that in 2012 invested in 61 of the 100 companies with the largest coal reserves, as listed by the Carbon Tracker Initiative. According to WWF Norway, those companies emit the equivalent of 30 times Norway’s annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 (53,9 MT).


In order to keep global warming below the 2°C threshold agreed upon by governments and top scientists, two-thirds of remaining fossil fuel reserves must remain underground. Stranding these assets could result in the rapid devaluation of coal, oil and gas companies, creating a major risk for investors and the broader economy.

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Nov 4, 2013

Fossil Free Tour Concludes in London, Officially Launching Divestment Campaign Across the UK and Europe 

 
LONDON, UK – After a week-long, whistle-stop tour across Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Scotland, and England, the Fossil Free Europe Tour concluded in London on Friday evening, officially launching the fossil fuel divestment campaign in Europe. 
 
“Wherever we go, people are coming to the same conclusion: if it’s wrong to wreck the planet, it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage,” said tour-headliner Bill McKibben, the American writer, environmentalist, and co-founder of the international climate campaign, 350.org. “This divestment campaign is growing faster than we ever expected—and beginning to have exactly the effect we hoped.” 
 
According to a recent study by the University of Oxford, the fossil fuel divestment campaign is growing faster than any previous divestment effort and poses a “far-reaching” threat to the fossil fuel industry’s bottom line. The campaign has already spread to over 400 colleges, cities, and religious institutions in the United States and is growing quickly in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and across Europe. 
 
The effort has picked up some early victories in Europe, with the town of Boxtel, Netherlands announcing that they will divest from fossil fuels, the University of Surrey shifting investments away from two unnamed fossil fuel funds, while the Quakers in Britain took steps to disinvest from companies engaged in extracting fossil fuels making them the first UK Christian denomination to do so.
 
“We can no longer invest in companies that are part of the problem of the climate shocks we’re suffering from,” said former Irish president and U.N. high commissioner for human rights Mary Robinson, in an interview with Democracy Now! on Tuesday. “To me it’s a little bit like the energy behind the anti-apartheid movement when I was a student. We were involved because we saw the injustice of it. There’s an injustice in continuing to invest in fossil fuel companies that are part of the problem.”
 
The Fossil Free divestment campaign has grown especially quickly in the UK, where 350.org partners People & Planet and Operation Noah are spreading the effort at universities and churches, respectively. 
 
“In the last month, student groups have already launched Fossil Free divestment campaigns at 25 universities, including the richest ones like Oxford, Cambridge and Edinburgh, reflecting the momentum and urgency behind this global campaign" said Louise Hazan, Climate Change Campaigns Manager at People & Planet. "In the UK, our universities are fuelling the climate crisis to the tune of £5bn every year, and People & Planet is demanding they take responsibility by aligning their investments with their public pronouncements on climate change.” 
 
“Churches continue to have a powerful moral voice in UK society and politics” said Isabel Carter Chair of Operation Noah, the environmental and faith organisation who have recently launched Bright Now, a fossil fuel divestment campaign focused on UK churches. “We want them to demonstrate their faith commitment to ‘love your neighbour’ and to be good stewards of the earth by stopping investment in an industry that already causes suffering to many people across the globe. No Church can continue to claim with integrity to be taking action on climate change whilst profiting from companies that create it.”
 
Along the tour, McKibben and 350.org were joined by organizations including Urgewald and Klima-allianz Deutschland in Germany, Urgenda and Greenpeace in the Netherlands, and People & Planet and Operation Noah in the UK. 
 
“While Germany has taken important steps towards clean energy, our banks and public institutions are still financing climate disaster,” said Kathrin Petz, with Urgewald in Germany, who partnered with 350.org on the first stop of the tour, in Berlin. “This has to stop and we are grateful for the Fossil Free Europe tour to give a boost for a divestment campaign across Germany.”
 
Inspired by the divestment movement in the US, Urgenda sought to bring the campaign to the Netherlands where four student groups are already active in divestment campaigns. In the words of Marjan Minnesma, director of Urgenda “This is a promising movement which will definitely contribute to solving the climate crisis."
 
The campaign has already succeeded expanding public awareness about the threat of a “carbon bubble” resulting from the devaluation of fossil fuel companies as they are forced to leave 60-80% of their coal, oil and gas reserves underground. On 29 October, former US vice-president Al Gore and London based asset manager David Blood published an article in the Wall Street Journal warning of the far-reaching impacts of the carbon bubble and urged investors to begin divesting from fossil fuel stocks. 
 
“The Fossil Free Europe Tour is a bold initiative, catalyzing a movement around divestment from fossil fuels and we are already starting to see results – the movement is getting bigger and stronger,” said Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo, who joined the tour in Amsterdam and London. “We need carbon liability for those who are destroying our future on this planet and those who profit from it.”
 
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October 31, 2013

CONTACT: Daniel Kessler, dk@350.org, 510-501-1779
 

Youth Activists Disrupt Obama Speech to Demand That He Reject Keystone XL

BOSTON — Two youth climate activists today disrupted President Obama's speech at Faneuil Hall in Boston, calling on him to take on climate change by rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
 
The activists, Sophie Robinson and Shea Riester, both of Boston, told the president, "Mr. President, Reject Keystone XL! Stop Climate Change! For our generation, Stop the pipeline!”
 
Rumors continue to circulate that the State Department is nearing completion of its environmental impact statement on the pipeline. The draft EIS erroneously concluded that the pipeline would have no impact on the climate, but independent analysis, including from the EPA, shows that the pipeline would meet the President’s test of having a “significant” effect on the climate.
 
The fight over the pipeline has become a test for President Obama’s commitment to dealing with the climate crisis and has helped to spark an international movement against the expansion of the tar sands industry.
   
In June, 145 former Obama staffers sent a letter to Obama, calling on him to reject Keystone XL. (1) and over 75,000 people have committed to peaceful, non violent civil disobedience to stop the pipeline from being built. (2) Activists are now working in their communities to share with the neighbors information on the climate impacts of the pipeline, preparing for another incomplete or wrong EIS.
 
Bios of the youth activists follow.
 
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Sophie Robinson graduated from Williams College in 2011 with a degree in psychology and environmental science. Her upbringing on a southern NH organic berry farm left her with a passion for sustainable agriculture, which she pursued in her studies. After she graduated, she started to learn more about climate change and the impact it is already having on the world. She became so scared for her future and the future of her children that she decided to stop pursuing teaching and instead focus on building a non-violent social movement. She is so dedicated that she is willing to put her own safety on the line to stop burning fossil fuels.
 
Shea Riester is a recent graduate of Brandeis University. He decided to engage in non-violent civil disobedience because he will no longer stand by idly as corporations recklessly extract and burn carbon with full knowledge of the consequences, and politicians, paid off by record fossil fuel profits, do nothing to stop full blown climate catastrophe. Shea understands that the construction of the KXL pipeline, infrastructure that locks us in to immense carbon pollution,  is a threat to his own future and all life on earth, and is determined to stop it.
 
NOTES: 
 
1. http://350.org/media/jun20-obama-letter
 
2. http://act.credoaction.com/sign/kxl_pledge/?rc=homepage



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October 30, 2013 

Fossil Free Europe Tour Visits Amsterdam, Launches Divestment Campaign in the Netherlands with a Win

Amsterdam, Netherlands – The Fossil Free Europe tour came to Amsterdam tonight to officially launch a new fossil fuel divestment campaign in the Netherlands—and instantly picked up it’s first Dutch victory, with the town of Boxtel announcing it would divest from fossil fuels. 
 
The evening’s event featured 350.org founder Bill McKibben and Greenpeace International executive director Kumi Naidoo speaking before a packed audience at Vrije University in Amsterdam. The evening’s event also included a screening of the Academy Award-winning documentary Chasing Ice and concluding remarks by Maurits Groen of MGMC. The event was made possible because of the support by partners including the Dutch environmental group, Urgenda, SRVU, the university’s student union, and Greenpeace International.  
 
At the end of the show, two aldermen from Boxtel, Netherlands came to the stage and announced that their town would be divesting from the 200 fossil fuel companies that hold the largest coal, oil and gas reserves, as identified by the Carbon Tracker Initiative. Boxtel is the first municipality in Europe to make a commitment to divest from fossil fuels, joining over 20 cities in the United States.  
 
Boxtel was also the first town in the Netherlands to ban fracking, an initiative that eventually spread to over 100 cities and towns across the country. Later this December, Boxtel will be holding a conference for these 100 municipalities and will urge them all to also “go fossil free” and dump their coal, oil and gas holdings. 
The Dutch Fossil Free divestment campaign has already spread to four different universities in anticipation of tonight’s official launch.
 
During his speech, McKibben rallied the crowd to join the growing international fossil fuel divestment campaign saying, “It's crazy to think about making money by breaking the one planet that we have.” 
 
Greenpeace’s Kumi Naidoo spoke about his experience as a young man fighting apartheid in South Africa and reflected on how the anti-apartheid divestment campaign in the 1980s provided important support and solidarity for the movement within South Africa. 
 
He also drew a parallel to the current movement for climate justice saying, “I have no doubt that those of us standing up for climate justice will be vilified now, but history will absolve us.” 
 
Thirty Greenpeace activists, the Arctic 30, are currently being held in detention by Russia after a peaceful protest at a Gazprom rig in international waters. Naidoo encouraged the crowd of Dutch activists to protest Shell oil, who is partnering with Gazprom to drill in the Arctic, saying, “You all here in the Netherlands have the best target in the world to go after.”
 
McKibben showed his support for the Arctic 30, saying, “It is absolutely mandatory that the entire environmental and human rights community come together” to help secure their freedom. 
 
Within minutes of the show’s closing, McKibben and the 350.org team were back on the Fossil Free Europe tour bus to make the 20-hr drive up to Edinburgh for the first of three shows across the United Kingdom. The tour stops will feature McKibben and representatives from People & Planet and Operation Noah, who are helping coordinate the divestment campaign across the UK. 
 
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October 29, 2013

CONTACT: Hoda Baraka, hoda@350.org, +201001840990

Bill McKibben Receives the 2013 Sophie Prize 

OSLO, NORWAY -- 350.org founder Bill McKibben accepted the 2013 Sophie Prize in Oslo, Norway on Monday, October 28 on behalf of the "many thousands of people who have come together in recent years to form the climate movement." 

The Sophie Prize is an international award for the environment and sustainable development, awarded annually. The Prize aims to inspire people working towards a sustainable future. The Prize was established in 1997 by the Norwegian author Jostein Gaarder and his wife Siri Dannevig. This is the last Sophie Prize award.

For more information, please visit: http://www.sofieprisen.no/

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October 28, 2013

CONTACT: Hoda Baraka, hoda@350.org, +201001840990

Fossil Free Europe Tour Begins in Berlin, Launching Regional Divestment Campaign

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BERLIN — The Fossil Free Europe tour officially began in Berlin last night, launching a new European-wide campaign to encourage universities, pension funds, and major banks to divest their holdings from the top 200 fossil fuel companies by coal, oil and gas reserves.

Approximately 300 people attended a presentation at the Heinrich Boll Foundation last night, featuring Bill McKibben, an acclaimed author, activist, and co-founder of the international climate campaign 350.org, and guest speakers Herman Ott, a climate scientist with Bündnis 90/Grüne, Mona Bricke, Energy Policy Officer with klima-allianz deutschland, Arwen Colell with BürgerEnergie Berlin, and the musical performer Filastine.

“Germany has been a leader in creating the clean energy economy necessary to address the climate crisis,” said McKibben. “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.”

The Fossil Free Europe tour is already generating significant media coverage across Europe, including news articles in Die Tageszeitung and Klimaretter in Germany, T24 in Turkey, and The Observer and Scotland Herald in the UK. [1]

On Monday, 28 October, McKibben will receive the international Sophie Prize Award in Oslo, Norway, where he will continue to spread the message about the need to challenge the fossil fuel industry to leave its carbon reserves in the ground. The newly appointed minister of Climate and Environment, Tine Sundtoft, will be presenting the award to McKibben.

After Oslo, the Fossil Free Europe Tour will continue on to Amsterdam, where over 700 reserved to attend the evening’s presentation, which will also feature Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo. The tour will then continue to the UK for stops in Edinburgh, Birmingham and London.

“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,” said Greenpeace’s Kumi Naidoo. “We need carbon liability for those who are destroying our future on this planet and those who profit from it.”

The European campaign will complement existing growing efforts by 350.org allies and partners such as People & Planet and Operation Noah in the UK with a focus, respectively, on university and church divestment [2] and Urgenda in the Netherlands.

Europe is already seeing divestment kick off; in July, Norwegian pension fund Storebrand and Dutch bank Rabobank took steps in that direction, and Sweden’s cluster of state pension funds have been recommended to dump fossil fuel holdings from the country’s Centre Party, which form the current government. In the UK, just this 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. [3]

A recent study by the University of Oxford included that the fossil fuel divestment movement is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign and that, “The outcome of the stigmatisation process, which the fossil fuel divestment campaign has now triggered, poses the most far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies and the vast energy value chain.”[4]

[1] Further details on tour schedule can be found here: http://gofossilfree.org/europe-tour/

[2] People & Planet, working on university divestment, have launched 19 campaigns including universities with the largest endowments: Cambridge, Oxford and Edinburgh. Also, later this month a report produced by 350.org, People & Planet and Platform entitled Knowledge and Power: Fossil Fuel Universities will be released exposing in detail the ties between UK universities and the fossil fuel industry serving as the most comprehensive assessment to date of UK universities’ investments in the fossil fuel industry. In parallel, Operation Noah, an ecumenical Christian charity, recently launched Bright Now — a campaign focusing on church divestment.

[3] Quakers in Britain divestment announcement: http://www.quaker.org.uk/news/quakers-disinvest-fossil-fuels

[4] The Guardian Campaign against fossil fuels growing, says study

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October 10, 2013

CONTACT: Hoda Baraka, hoda@350.org, +201001-840990

350.org and partners launch Fossil Free Europe tour ahead of regional divestment campaign

Berlin, Germany -- Starting October 27 and going through November 1, acclaimed author, activist, and co-founder of the international climate campaign 350.org – Bill McKibben – will lead the Fossil Free Europe Tour accompanied by other movement leaders, including Greenpeace International’s executive director Kumi Naidoo, hosting events in Berlin, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Birmingham, and London.[1]

The goal of the tour is to launch the first European fossil fuel divestment campaign. As with previous sold-out tours in the USA and Australia, McKibben 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. The campaign is modeled on the anti-apartheid movement of the 1980s, which helped to end the unjust system in South Africa.

This won't be a typical lecture, but a multi-media experience that will help galvanise the movement in Europe after becoming the largest student led movement in the US in a generation. McKibben will bring together, on stage and via 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.

With last month’s release of the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which for the first time included a carbon budget for the quantity of fossil fuels humanity can use to avoid runaway climate change, the growing movement to divest public institutions from the fossil fuel industry gains significant momentum.

350.org launched the divestment campaign last autumn and the movement has already spread to over 300 colleges and universities and 100 cities and states in the United States, Australia, and Canada. Over 15 cities, six colleges, and numerous religious institutions, have already committed to dump their fossil fuel holdings.

Even the most conservative governments in the world have agreed that global warming should be limited to no more than 2°C. Scientists say to meet that target we can only emit roughly 565 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But the fossil fuel industry has 2795 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide in their reserves, [2] nearly five times too much — and everyday they spend millions of Euros looking for more.

“Not only is fossil fuel a rogue industry, it’s also bad bet,” said McKibben. “Those carbon numbers make clear that the industry sits on a ‘Carbon Bubble’, with €13 trillion worth of fuel it can’t sell if the planet ever takes even minimal action against climate change.”

The European campaign will complement existing growing efforts by 350.org allies and partners such as People & Planet and Operation Noah in the UK with a focus, respectively, on university and church divestment [3] and Urgenda in the Netherlands. Europe is already seeing divestment kick off; in July, Norwegian pension fund Storebrand and Dutch bank Rabobank took steps in that direction, and Sweden’s cluster of state pension funds have been recommended to dump fossil fuel holdings from the country’s Centre Party, which form the current government. In the UK, just this 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. [4]

A recent study by the University of Oxford included that the fossil fuel divestment movement is growing faster than any previous divestment campaign and that, “The outcome of the stigmatisation process, which the fossil fuel divestment campaign has now triggered, poses the most far-reaching threat to fossil fuel companies and the vast energy value chain."[5]

“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,” said Greenpeace’s Kumi Naidoo. “We need carbon liability for those who are destroying our future on this planet and those who profit from it.”

Ahead of this tour, a series of ‘artivist’ workshops will be held throughout Europe inviting activists, artists, campaigners, and students to creatively explore different tools and tactics to start confronting the ‘Carbon Bubble’ and sharing solutions to start moving money away from these rogue corporations.

###

[1] Further details on tour schedule can be found here: http://gofossilfree.org/europe-tour/

[2] According to report entitled: Unburnable carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets by Carbon Tracker Initiative and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE - Link: http://www.carbontracker.org/wastedcapital

[3] People & Planet, working on university divestment, have launched 19 campaigns including universities with the largest endowments: Cambridge, Oxford and Edinburgh. Also, later this month a report produced by 350.org, People & Planet and Platform entitled Knowledge and Power: Fossil Fuel Universities will be released exposing in detail the ties between UK universities and the fossil fuel industry serving as the most comprehensive assessment to date of UK universities' investments in the fossil fuel industry. In parallel, Operation Noah, an ecumenical Christian charity, recently launched Bright Now -- a campaign focusing on church divestment.

[4] Quakers in Britain divestment announcement: http://www.quaker.org.uk/news/quakers-disinvest-fossil-fuels

[5] The Guardian: Campaign against fossil fuels growing, says study http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/oct/08/campaign-against-fossil-fuel-growing

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