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The first of two planned global climate strikes is done - now what?


The incredible numbers of people who took to the streets in yesterday’s Climate Strike events around the world sent a very strong message.


It’s estimated that some 4 million or more in 150 countries took part. This from the NYT:

“It was the first time that children and young people had demonstrated to demand climate action in so many places and in such numbers around the world.”

Something really big has happened and there is clearly a groundswell movement demanding bold action on the climate. (See Across the globe, millions join biggest climate protest ever)


There are some who may think this is all about getting individuals to reduce their carbon footprint and while that is extremely important obviously, this is about WAY more than that, as voiced by 17 year-old Jamie Margolin.

“It's very noble, it's very important to reduce your own carbon footprint, do what you can.”

But then she adds:

"We're all distracted trying to put out our own matches while these big corporations are blow torching everything."

The corporations she refers to are the 100+ companies, including ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron and South Africa’s own Sasol, that have been responsible for 71% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions since 1988, according to a 2017 report from the Climate Accountability Institute.


What is needed is a system wide change. There is pretty much unanimous agreement with this list of steps necessary, put forward by Prof Kevin Anderson


  • A moratorium on all new fossils fuel development

  • An immediate phase out of all fossil fuel production to be completed by 2030-35

  • A rapidly rising frequent flier levy to immediately slash how often the “frequent fliers” fly

  • No airport expansion

  • No expansion of the road network

  • The rapid movement to car free (including EV’s) cities and towns

  • A minimum emission standard on all new cars (max 100g/CO2/km and tightening at 8-10% each year)

  • A tight emission standard on all power stations (a fleet level for all suppliers of 250g/CO2/kWh, reducing 8-10% each year)

  • A minimum & very stringent efficiency standard for all rented properties/homes

  • All new new houses and buildings to be passive-house standard and include onsite renewables

  • A fair carbon tax (fee & dividend) or personal carbon allowance

  • Major subsidies for E-bikes (paid for by Frequent Flyer Levy?)

  • Stop all fossil fuel advertising

  • Devolve responsibilities and powers to regions & cities to help deliver culturally-appropriate policies

  • Any governmental committee on climate change to revisit its 1.5C report without relying on “negative emission technologies” and to take seriously issues of international equity and fairness within their own country


This is what decoupling from the carbon economy looks like. This is what is needed next. This is what governments must be forced to implement. This is what the Climate Strike is about - getting governments to implement these strategies.


(Picture Credit: my daughter in Oxford yesterday)

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