Fife, fighting for our future

An important march and rally for the local community, trade unionists and environmental activists in Kirkcaldy on Saturday – fighting for climate jobs and a sustainable future.  The ScotE3 banner will be there.  Assemble 11am at Kirkcaldy Town Square.  Facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/228664054720454/

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Carbon Capture and Storage

Mainstream policies on tackling the climate crisis centre round the possibilities of continuing to use hydrocarbons while reducing emissions through carbon capture and storage (CCS). The Scottish Government seems increasingly interested in this approach.  Over the next few weeks we want to promote critical discussion on CCS.  As a first step we are pleased to share the video of a webinar that FOE(Scotland) did with Friends of the Earth International on BECCS (bioenergy carbon and capture and storage).  Please comment and send ideas for more contributions and other resources that it would be useful to share.

TUC supports 20th September action

The Trades Union Congress meeting today has supported the 20th September action – we reproduce a statement from the Campaign Against Climate Change here:

TUC conference has today unanimously passed a motion to support the school student Global Climate Strike on 20th September and has called on TUC affiliate Unions to organise a 30 minute work day campaign action to coincide with the school students strike on 20th September.

We congratulate the delegates at TUC who have voted to recognise the significance of the Global School Students strikes, initiated by Greta Thunberg and the need for adults and especially the Trade Union movement to stand alongside young people, to ensure they do not stand alone in fighting for the urgent action needed to tackle climate change and ecological crisis and to deliver Climate Justice.

We ask all Trade Unions to now turn words into action and get organised to build on the fantastic examples of Trade Union solidarity action already in place for 20th September. 

The 20th September is already set to be the biggest turnout of working people many organised through their Trade Unions in the UK uniting in solidarity with young people. But it can be even bigger and we still have two weeks to deliver solidarity action to put hundreds of thousands of Trade Unionist onto the streets.

We would like to salute the young people who have led the action and also the UCU NEC members who put forward the motion to TUC conference calling for a 30 minute stoppage. They have been bold enough to recognise the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for Trade Unionists to not only respond to the call for Trade Unions to join them but to be bold in their actions and demands. The support for the UCU statement with over 2000 Trade Unionists and over 100 organisations backing the call for solidarity and a 30 minute workplace stoppage on 20th has also shown us the appetitive that there is for climate action within the Trade Union movement.

We ask all Trade Unionists to do everything they can to match the boldness required of us by the urgency of the Climate Crisis. We have just under two weeks now to build maximum solidarity on the 20th. 

This is just the beginning and we will need to continue the work of building solidarity, fighting to ensure our unions have the most progressive policies which match what the science tells us that we need to do and to continue to demand the Climate Jobs and a Green New Deal which can deliver the Just Transformation that we need.

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Upcoming events in Fife, Glasgow and Edinburgh

Thursday 12thSeptember: Support Global action on climate crisis – meeting called by Edinburgh Trades Council at the Quaker, Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace EH1 2JL

Saturday 14thSeptember 11am: Demonstration organised by Fife Trades Council and the STUC – assemble Kirkcaldy Town House –if you are from Edinburgh and could volunteer to take the Scot.E3 banner – please let us know by emailing triple.e.scot@gmail.com

Friday 20thSeptember:Climate strike  – see details at https://scote3.wordpress.com/2019/09/09/climate-strike-20th-september/

Tuesday 24thSeptember: 7pm – 9pm:Stopping North Sea Oil and Gas Extraction – Scot.E3 meeting with speaker from Friends of the Earth Scotland, at the Kinning Park Complex, 43 Cornwall Street, Glasgow G41 1BA

Thursday 16thOctober: 7.30pm:Thinking global, acting local – the politics and practice of just transition – Scot.E3 meeting, part of the Edinburgh World Justice Festival at the Augustine Church, George 4thBridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EL

Saturday 16thNovember, 10am – 5pm:2019 Scot.E3 conference – ‘Thinking globally, acting locally – organising for a just transition’ Saturday October 5th at the St. Ninian’s Hall, Charteris Centre, The Pleasance, Edinburgh.  Please share the FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1133891030332559/ and the Eventbrite link https://tinyurl.com/y6bt6p5j

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Climate Strike 20th September

It’s just over a week now until the Climate Strike called for September 20th.  Check out the Scottish Youth Climate Strike website for a link to details of actions all round Scotland.  The Edinburgh Demo starts from the Meadows at 11am.

This video from REEL News gives some updates on solidarity action.  You might also like to check out our model resolution and a video guide to raising climate issues in your workplace.

Demand a Just Transition to renewable energy

One of the lead stories on the BBC today is the UK’s oil and gas industry assertion that the best response to tackling greenhouse gas emissions is to continue production at maximum levels.  Oil and Gas UK’s “Roadmap to 2035” argues consumption would remain above the levels they could produce. 

Neil Rothnie, life long offshore oil worker and activist, argues the case for an end to business as usual and a just transition out of hydrocarbon production in the North Sea.

Both the UK oil industry and Government seem to think that new licenses should be issued and oil and gas exploration on the North Sea stepped up.   The industry estimates that 20 billion bbls of fossil fuel remain under the North Sea.  No one in authority seems to think that these reserves should not be fully exploited.

This begs the questions;

If a policy of business as usual is to be applied to the North Sea, why then should Saudi Arabian, Gulf of Mexico, Venezuelan, Sakhalin, Nigerian and other hydrocarbon reserves not also be fully exploited?

What would the effect of producing all the world’s oil and gas be on global warming and climate change?

The Scottish Government seem to be prepared to try and lead us to an independent Scotland based on a carbon economy.  According to the First Minister, Scotland’s carbon emissions would increase if oil production from the North Sea was stopped. This only makes any kind of sense if there is to be no transition to a renewable energy system to replace fossil fuel from the North Sea.

Despite government complacency, the oil industry will come under increasing pressure – financial and political – to reduce and eventually end hydrocarbon production, though perhaps not till it’s too late to avoid catastrophic climate change if the politicians and industry leaders have their way.

The past practice of both oil industry and Government suggests that the workforce, offshore and onshore, will then be abandoned to their own devices, creating the sort of wilderness in the North East of Scotland that the UK coalfields became when there was no just transition from coal.  Energy workers and their families from all over the UK would then be very badly affected.  Though this time it looks as though they won’t suffer in isolation if climate science predictions are realised.

The unjust transition from coal wasn’t inevitable.  The miners and their families were punished for standing up to Thatcher’s plans to cripple organised labour. Offshore employers wanted anyone but ex-miners with their tradition of struggle, on the North Sea, and the unions failed to step up to the mark. This time it has to be different for everyone’s sake.
A just transition to renewable energy could be planned and enacted starting now.  New oil and gas exploration could immediately be stopped and a planned rundown of hydrocarbon production and a massive development of renewable resources begun now.

Not a penny of the oil windfall has so far been saved for the peoples of the UK.  Is it not now imperative that all (declining) oil profits must be immediately re-invested in developing the renewables energy sector?  Retraining of the oil industry workforce is a must where there is an expected skills gap in a much-expanded renewables sector.  The current oil and gas workforce can and should be re-deployed to replace the fossil fuel that we can no longer afford to produce.  Without a just transition to renewable energy from sun, wind and wave, we are fucked.

2018-07-19 08.57.05Our children and grandchildren deserve more from us than business as usual.  They and the rest of the remaining life on the planet need a chance of a future that does not include the misery of living through a global meltdown.

GREEN NEW DEAL – AN OPPORTUNITY TO SEIZE THE TIME

Mike Downham notes the publication of the Scottish Green Party’s proposals for a Green New Deal and the need to step up the action on climate at this time of political and constitutional crisis.

On the same day that the Government announced the proroguing of parliament, the Scottish Greens launched their proposals for a Green New Deal. Climate change remains the most urgent of all the issues pressing down on us, and the Green New Deal initiative gives us a concrete opportunity to flex our muscles in the new context of Westminster collapse.

So the people have finally had enough of this UK Government. Its decision to trash democracy left a governing vacuum. Yesterday’s broad-based and widespread protests shows the potential to fill that vacuum and take control. Kicked off by the proroguing of parliament, the protests have escalated to articulate anger against austerity cuts, privatisation and the whole political position of the Tory Party.

The Scottish Greens give this summary of their proposals:

Scotland can

  • Redirect massive investment into low carbon industries
  • Grow a world-leading low carbon manufacturing sector
  • Restore our natural environment
  • Give everyone a warm home
  • And provide access to cheap, reliable and green transport.

But to do this we have to ditch neoliberal economics for good.

At the heart of a Scottish Green New Deal is a belief that the Scottish Government can and must take a direct role, working in partnership with citizens, communities, and companies to deliver the change Scotland and the planet so urgently needs.

Rather than pick holes in these proposals, we can build on them by making three immediate demands. Demands which are focussed, achievable and directly address key desperate needs of working-class people – fuel poverty, poverty in general, and the need for jobs which are properly rewarded, secure and satisfying.

The three demands emerge naturally from the climate movement’s in-depth work over recent years:

  1. We demand a just transition from North Sea oil and gas to renewable energy, starting immediately with the phasing out of North Sea oil and gas extraction, as recommended in the Sea Change report co-authored by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Oil Change International and Platform (2019).
  2. We demand an immediate programme for the insulation and draught-proofing of all homes, public buildings and businesses, as recommended in the One Million Climate Jobs booklet produced by the Campaign Against Climate Change (2014).
  3. We demand an immediate nationwide Free Public Transport system, as argued for by the Scottish Socialist Party since 2007, and now by the Scottish Greens (2019)

We will make it clear that we won’t take no for an answer, confident in the new-found breadth of the movement for democracy and for a break with the Economy of Madness and the Politics of Division.

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Image by Bart Everson, CC BY 2.0 https://www.flickr.com/photos/editor/32447100627