At last night’s meeting held jointly with Edinburgh CND we showed the 30 minute version of Steve Sprung’s film about the Lucas Plan. We strongly recommend watching the full version and you can find out more about the film at the dedicated website. You can also follow up on current developments via the new Lucas Plan website. If you weren’t able to make the meeting you can watch the 30 minute version here https://vimeo.com/305253552
At the 2018 Scot.E3 conference we were fortunate to have a contribution from Andrew Feinstein from Corruption Watch and author of ‘The Shadow World – Inside the Global Arms Trade’. Andrew made the case that ending the arms economy should be an integral part of a broader strategy of tackling the climate crisis. In the course of the year this topic has been raised again at meetings that we’ve held or participated in. Some people have argued that whatever your opinion on the arms trade – taking arms divestment on board at the same time as taking measures to decarbonize is a distraction. Others have supported Andrew’s view and in the course of this debate the outline of a more developed and strategic view has emerged. We hope that this can be developed further in the course of the 2019 conference.
This autumn a number of peace organisations have joined up with Extinction Rebellion to organise around XR Peace. The London October rebellion included a number of actions highlighting the links between war and the environment. XR Peace has focused on the massive carbon footprint of the military, the environmental devastation cause by war and social and economic upheavals as a result of climate change as a cause of conflict.
In the discussions that we have been involved in throughout the year other reasons for including arms and ‘defence’ divestment in our strategy have emerged. The first is very pragmatic. There is a pressing need to switch from energy systems that produce green house gases (carbon emissions) to zero carbon technologies. These technologies exist and it perfectly possible to implement them. But to make the transition at the speed that is required requires the skills and labour of a large number of engineers, electricians and other specialists. Most of these jobs will have to be done by people already in the workforce. Some of them work in oil and gas and as these carbon-based sources of energy are phased out they can be redeployed in the new renewable industries. But there are not enough people in oil and gas – we also need the skills of those currently employed in the military industrial complex. Shifting from arms to renewables is morally right but it’s also an economic imperative if we want to prevent catastrophic climate change.
Image: Pete Cannell CC0
There are of course other economic reasons too. Levels of investment and state support for the arms trade and for the military are huge. Our economies are distorted by the privileged position that the major arms companies (along with the big energy corporations) occupy. These privileges go hand in glove with eye watering levels of corruption and huge levels of corporate lobbying with a revolving door through which politicians and executives continually move and switch roles. It’s these relationships which actively oppose realistic attempts to take action over climate and as a movement we need to demand that state support and investment ends, lobbying stops and arrangements are put in place for a rapid shift to sustainable and ethical employment for those who work in these industries. These demands have a particular resonance in Scotland where the Trident nuclear system and arms manufacturing have had a disproportionate impact on our economy.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
There are marches and rallies all around Scotland – check out the one nearest to you on the Scottish Youth Climate Strike website. All around Scotland workers are taking action in support of the student strikers. Often this is taking the form of walkouts and workplace meetings. We’d love to receive a report of action in your workplace that we could collate and share as part of building momentum for the movement. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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/
We will be meeting at 7pm at the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Centre on Wednesday 19th June. The draft agenda includes discussion and organising on:
Our contribution to the Edinburgh World Justice Festival (28th September – 19th October) which this year has a theme of Climate Action and Social Justice.
The Fife Ready for Renewal Meeting in Buckhaven on 20 June
Taking forward action and writing on: Climate Justice, Defence Divestment and links to Climate Action, Re-engineering the grid for a sustainable future, State Energy Company
These are open meetings and anyone who wants to get involved is welcome. If you want to add items to the agenda please use the contact form of email directly to email@example.com
The Scottish Trades Union Congress meets at the Caird Hall in Dundee from 15th – 17th April. Scot.E3 is contributing to one of the fringe meetings:
Developing Sustainable and Socially Useful Jobs in Today’s Economy
Wednesday April 17 at 1230pm
Committee Room 2 City Chambers
Pete Roche – research officer – Nuclear Free Local Authorities
Speaker from Scot.E3
Meeting organised by Scottish CND
We met on 20th February in Glasgow and 21st February in Edinburgh. Here’s the composite notes of the discussion at the two meetings. If you have any questions about any of the points or if you’d like to get involved in any of the proposed activity do email on firstname.lastname@example.org
Action points and information from the February Scot.E3 meetings in Edinburgh and Glasgow
Proposals for new briefings including:
- Public Ownership and the proposed state energy company (AM, Glasgow to contribute) – MD, Glasgow to contact Andy Cumbers to see if he would write something for the blog.
- Update on Fuel Poverty (MT, Edinburgh to contribute)
- Housing – PC, Edinburgh to contact SH and IW to seek advice, help and information.
- GH, Glasgow to report back on Glasgow City Council and Climate Emergency Declaration
- AM and GH talking to XR Glasgow with a view to organising a Scot.E3 presentation to the group, AM also talking to Unite activist group
- Agreed to publicise and organise a climate jobs bloc (suggested by activists from FOE Scotland) on the Edinburgh and Glasgow May Day marches (4th and 5th May) – PC, Edinburgh to source banner and t-shirts
- BP, Edinburgh is liaising with ‘Lucas Plan’ groups in England over ScotE3 representation at a divestment event and a possible joint autumn conference in Scotland
- BP to produce a draft response to the GMB position on Just Transition
- PC to send Climate Jobs manifesto to Just Transition commission and seek and opportunity to contribute to the discussion
- School student strikes – we handed out cards with ScotE3 website details at the Edinburgh rally and they were very popular. We should repeat this on 15th March when the next strikes are due. CM and PC are involved in Our Forth who have organised a banner making session for school students in Portobello on 10th March
- Scottish TUC conference in Dundee (15th – 17th April) – agreed to leaflet conference PC and BP available (other volunteers welcome) and to hold a fringe meeting if possible BP to contact JP to see if he can speak, PC to find venue – agreed to produce conference packs for delegates if possible
- Continue to work on the climate jobs pamphlet
Since the January meetings – we have had the opportunity to join the panel at a Just Transition event organised by Bella Caledonia and DeSmog UK and contribute to a Transitions Edinburgh event
It’s likely that a climate jobs and education motion will go to the EIS conference in June
Scottish CND are organising days of action in 2019 to highlight the ways money saved by scrapping the Trident nuclear weapon programme could be better spent on essential public services in Scotland. March – Housing, April – Climate, May – Jobs, June – Infrastructure, July – NHS, August – Education
Next meetings: Edinburgh – Thursday 21 March 7pm at the Quaker Meeting House, 7 Victoria Terrace. Glasgow date to be confirmed – likely to be topic based public meeting
School students protest at Scottish Parliament – Feb 15th https://www.flickr.com/photos/petepolitics/sets/72157706685945575
On 10 January we wrote a short blog post on the dire state of the Hunterston B nuclear reactors and reported on a meeting where environmental radiologist Ian Fairlie spoke about the risk this poses to the population of central Scotland and beyond.
Ian Fairlie was back in Edinburgh on February 5th to provide an update on developments. Along with a colleague he had presented a technical report to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) – the regulatory body that has to give EDF permission to resume operations at Hunterston. The ONR agreed with the substance of his report. Apparently the inspection of the reactor core suggests that a small number of the graphite blocks have double cracks but more than expected have multiple cracks. It also transpires that Hunterston in fact has only one safety back up system rather than two – as became the norm in the later Advanced Gas Cooled Reactors (AGRs). Overall the ONR’s view of the current state of the reactors is even bleaker than Ian Fairlie had suggested in January. And in the face of this EDF are lobbying for reducing the accepted risk factor for the reactors by a factor of a 1000.
There is almost no chance that the reactors will be restarted in March and April as EDF have stated. This gives more time to continue to raise awareness of the safety threat they pose and to get the Scottish Government onside in a campaign to ensure the reactors are never restarted. There is no immediate threat to jobs because it takes some years for the reactors to get to a state where decommissioning can begin. This is a test case for Just Transition, however, and we need to campaign that over time the workforce is supported to move into sustainable jobs.
As we mentioned in January EDF are hugely in debt. They are desperate to restart production – not least because they have problems with their other AGRs. So they will fight the closure of Hunterston. Adding to their problems though is that, unreported and unmarked in the mainstream media, the Tories at Westminster are in the midst of a U-turn on nuclear. Although for the moment they cling on to idea that Hinkley C can still be built.
To find out more about why Hunterston is so dangerous read our latest Briefing 9.
Wednesday 20 February, 7pm at the Scottish CND office 77 Southpark Avenue, Glasgow, G12 8LJ
NB the venue is the SCND office – if you are walking up Southpark road from Great Western Road it’s on the left hand side tucked back from the road by the side of an ex(?) church building – you can see the peace symbol on the outside.
The final session of the #justtransitions conference in Edinburgh on 17th November focused on Climate Jobs – this is Jonathan Neale’s introduction