The science of global warming

By Zeeshan Hasan
Unfortunately, many people still doubt the dangers of global warming and climate change. In particular, elected politicians intent on avoiding unpopular carbon taxes and higher fuel prices continue to assert that the relevant scientific issues are doubtful. The fact is that the non-scientist public has been deceived by a large number of books and newspaper articles by ‘skeptics’ of climate change who themselves often have no understanding of the science involved. Fortunately, a glimpse into the real world of climate science is available through Global Warming: Understanding The Forecast by David Archer, an ocean chemistry professor at the University of Chicago. Archer’s book is an introductory climate science text which aims to make the basics of climate science comprehensible to any one with a high school background in science.
The basic science of how carbon dioxide emissions raise global temperatures is outlined by Archer. On the one hand, the earth is constantly being heated by sunlight. On the other hand, the Earth is also cooled by loss of heat into space as infrared radiation. These two continuous mechanisms of heat gain and heat loss by the Earth result in a thermal equilibrium at the average global temperatures which we experience.
Heat gain from the sun is relatively constant, varying only slowly over time; however, heat loss into space has been reduced significantly by humans over the last century. Atmospheric ‘greenhouse gases’ such as carbon dioxide have the property of absorbing the infrared radiation which carries heat from the earth into space, and thus reduce the cooling of the earth. This effect of carbon dioxide is called the Greenhouse effect; it was discovered over a century ago and is undisputed. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have been continuously burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas, and thus adding huge amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. This has resulted in an increase of the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere from 320 parts per million in 1960 to about 400 parts per million today, or about 20%. This additional carbon dioxide functions like a blanket or greenhouse around the planet, slowing down loss of heat into space. If the same amount of solar heat comes into the Earth, while simultaneously heat loss from the Earth to space is reduced by additional carbon dioxide, then the Earth has to get warmer. At a higher temperature the Earth’s heat loss by radiation into space increases, because hotter objects lose more heat through infrared radiation than cooler ones; and the planet once more reaches a stable temperature.
A good analogy to the above is a pot of food simmering on an oven above a low flame; putting the lid on the pot does not change heat gain from the oven, but reduces heat loss through evaporation from the open pot and thus makes the food cook at a higher temperature. Our carbon dioxide emissions are effectively putting a lid on the earth, making heat from the sun ‘cook’ the planet at a higher temperature.
The question is whether a hotter stable temperature of the globe would be one capable of sustaining human life as we know it. Climate scientists have evidence from ancient ocean sediments that increasing the level of greenhouses gases in the atmosphere can cause temperatures to rise. Such an event took place 55 million years ago, when thousands of billions of tons of greenhouses gases were released into the atmosphere (probably because of a peak in volcanic activity). This event is known as the Permian Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM). During the PETM, global average temperature rose by about 5 degrees C and 90% of life on the planet perished. Such an increase in global average temperature today would have terrible consequences, rendering much of tropical and sub-tropical Asia, Africa, central America and southern Europe too hot and dry for agriculture. The consequences would be famine on a scale never seen before, and billions of deaths.
Dangerous global heating events like the PETM may seem distant and irrelevant. But as a comparison, burning all world’s known reserves of coal would release about 5000 billion tons of carbon dioxide, comparable to the surge in greenhouse gases which caused the PETM. Our current course is to exploit not only existing coal reserves but also oil and gas. So it is entirely within our power to destroy our planet.
Continuing our current policies of exploiting all fossil fuels available will literally ensure the end of the Earth as we know it. The only way to stop it is to keep fossil fuels in the ground and switch to solar, wind or nuclear power, none of which emit carbon dioxide. This will require worldwide imposition of carbon taxes to raise fuel prices and make investment in alternative energy feasible. The leaders of all countries need to make some hard decisions, which they have failed to do in 20 years of climate negotiations. They will only do so now if the public demands it of them. The public now needs to make their voices heard loudly and persistently to force politicians to reduce fossil fuel use.

11 Years Left

by Claudia Fisher

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Claudia Fisher is a married business woman and artist. She has five children aged 32 to 13 and is studying part-time for an MA in Creative Writing at The University of Brighton. For the next couple of months, she will be writing a weekly blog on the BPEC website about environmental issues, particularly focussing on climate change and biodiversity loss. Claudia does a lot of work with the newly formed civil disobedience group Extinction Rebellion. In this blog she will share her journey with you, in the hope that you will join her. Thank you for reading.

I have a question for you.

What prompts a middle-aged woman who has never participated in any form of activism before to throw herself wholeheartedly into civil disobedience and more? The answer is simple.

‘Our house is on fire.’[

These are the words of a 16-year-old student, Greta Thunberg. What does Greta mean? Our house is on fire? Let’s start with that image. What would you or I if we knew our house was on fire? Make a cup of tea and wait to see if the flames caught hold? Let the children sleep upstairs for fear of frightening them unnecessarily? Walk off and leave it, hoping it would put itself out? No of course not. That would be ridiculous.

I am pretty confident that the first thing every one of us would do is wake the children and get them out as quickly as possible. We’d pick up the phone and dial 999. We’d shout ‘HURRY!’. We’d put the hose on and fill buckets with water. We’d form a chain gang with our neighbours. In short, we’d do anything we could to dampen those flames.

Let’s go back to Greta, whose one-woman school strike for climate has captured the imaginations of hundreds of thousands of young people across the world.[ii] For months Greta skipped school every Friday, preferring to sit outside the Swedish Parliament on her own, rather than be with her friends in class. She explained that the world was facing such a dire and urgent climate emergency, she saw no point in studying for a future she would never have.

She explains that we, the human race, are facing climate breakdown with wildfires, flooding, droughts, rising sea levels and heatwaves. The planet is entering the world’s sixth mass extinction with around 200 species estimated to go extinct each and every day.[iii] And what are we doing? Pretty much nothing. We all carry on as before and think people like me are extremist, alarmist, totally off their rockers. Or we notice it’s a bit hotter than usual, but that’s nice isn’t it, in a country where traditionally the weather is a bit rubbish? We can start producing wine now. So, it’s not all bad. And anyway, what can we do about it? We all have to live, don’t we? We have to eat and get about and have fun? We don’t want to stop all of that, because isn’t the kind of easy living we are used to what it’s all about? Well, the answer is, we have to stop. We have to think. To assess. To evaluate. Then we have to act. We have to. Because this is not sustainable. It cannot last.

Every day nearly 100 million barrels of oil are extracted from the ground.[iv] That is energy made billions of years ago. Yet we dig it up, harness its energy and release its by-products. Like Pandora’s Box, we let it out and can’t put it back. I tell my children that their actions have consequences. Yet I have been guilty, and still am guilty, of taking actions and making decisions that will have consequences, not necessarily for me, but for generations to come.

Ask any ecologist and they will confirm that this beautiful blue planet of ours has a finely balanced eco-system that has evolved over a very, very long time. I think understanding just how long really helps with getting a handle on how serious this situation is.

As part of my MA in Creative Writing, last year I wrote a piece about a three-hour period where, as a result of severe sleep deprivation and stress at my son’s serious illness, the balance of my mind was briefly overturned. In order to reconcile the significance of those three hours with the greater scheme of things I started researching. Trying to understand time. For me those three hours felt like an eternity. But what does eternity really mean? This is what I found out, and be warned, you could find it quite mind-blowing.

‘If the Earth formed at midnight and the present moment is the next midnight, 24 hours later, modern humans have been around since 11:59:59pm—that’s 1 second.’[v]

And in all that time, in the 23 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds of all existence, the world’s ecosystems could get along with their business of generating, living, evolving, dying and starting over again uninterrupted. Then we humans came along.

‘And if human history itself spans 24 hours from one midnight to the next, 14 minutes represents the time since Christ.’[vi]

But for 23 hours 58 minutes 36 seconds of that one second of the previous 24-hour clock, humans were part of the ecosystem. Spending every second surviving. Living amongst all other life. It is really only in the last two hundred years, since the beginning of the industrial age that we have had any kind of impact on our environment. This is equivalent in my illustration to 1 minute and 24 seconds of a 24-hour period that has been expanded out of one second of another 24-hour period.

Think about it. That kind of time span, a mere 200 years, in comparison to life on earth is equivalent to a fraction of a blink. And the scientists tell us we have only 11 years left to change our ways, before global temperatures breach the 1.5ºC guard rail.[vii] Beyond that we will have an unstoppable increase. Temperatures of 2-5ºC will cause famine, mass migration, wars and societal break down. Life will at best be miserable, at worst unsustainable.[viii]

Just 11 years. To stop carbon emissions. To clean up our act. Going back to my illustration, 11 years equates to a mere 4.62 seconds of a second in 24 hours. Which is why waiting till climate change hits home, waiting for governments to do something, waiting for the changes to be unstoppable just isn’t an option. The UK government have pledged an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050. If this target wasn’t so tragic it would be laughable. It’s like pouring a thimbleful of lukewarm water onto that house fire and expecting that drop to make a difference.

We need to act like our house is on fire. Because it is. And this middle-aged woman for one is not going to stop until that fire is out. Totally out. I will risk my losing my comforts, my freedom and my life. It is too important to stand by and do nothing. Because the fire is taking hold of the ground floor. The flames are licking up the stairs and my children are sleeping in that house. I need to get them to safety.

More next week about my entry into a different world of possibilities and hope.

Extinction and the Green New Deal

by Kevin B. Korb

We have known collectively the dangers posed by the combination of modern civilization and human population growth since at least the 1960s. During that decade Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb (1968), which carried forward Thomas Malthus’s argument from the 19th century that exponential population growth models apply as much to humans as to other life forms and that relaxing the natural limits on resources and their utilization would provide only temporary material comforts soon overwhelmed by an expanding population. In The Limits of Growth (1972) the Club of Rome computer modelers expanded on these ideas by developing and testing a simulation of human population and economic activity incorporating natural resources and pollution. While their model was crude by recent standards, it did behave in qualitatively sensible ways. The story it told was that however you varied the inputs, e.g., extending resource limits or slowing population growth rates, if you stayed within anything like reasonable bounds, then the model showed a collapse of the population, through impossible levels of pollution, say, sometime during the 21st century. Neither of these pivotal books dealt with anthropogenic global warming explicitly, but the message was clear and still hasn’t changed: unfettered population and economic growth, at least on the models of both we have so far adopted, will be a disaster for our species and our environment. Nothing much has changed.

Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen Ed Markey’s Green New Deal (GND) seeks genuine change. It’s modeled on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, in the sense that FDR’s New Deal radically changed America for generations. The name also evokes the mobilization behind the World War II effort that happened shortly thereafter. The point is that radical mobilization efforts are eminently possible when the threat to a nation is existential, and human-driven climate change certainly poses an existential threat. The GND, if passed, would be a clear, resounding dual statement of intent: first, the intent to counter the threat to civilization posed by human population growth and economic activities; second, there is a more local statement of intent of economic and political justice for American minorities.

The bill is strictly aspirational, calling out the urgency of the situation, rather than laying out a specific pathway. It’s stated goals are not of a kind that could lead to direct actions. What GND shares with Extinction Rebellion most notably are our common view of the urgency of the situation and the optimism that if there is a common will to respond, that we can do something worthwhile to diminish the worst outcomes of anthropogenic global warming.

Some of the Main Goals laid out in the GND are:

  • Guaranteed jobs with family-sustaining wages for all people of the US
  • Maximizing the energy efficiency of all existing building in the US
  • Moving to electric cars and high-speed rail and away from air transport
  • Universal health care
  • Moving to sustainable farming
  • Moving to 100% renewable energy

Of course, the introduction of the GND has provoked a vigorous response from opponents. The most prominent objection, perhaps, is that it would be too expensive to be practicable. Certainly, refurbishing every building in America to maximize energy efficiency can’t be cheap. The obvious rebuttal, however, has been voiced by Greta Thunberg and other young activists: inaction will be far more expensive than action. Indeed, the GND in its initial Whereas’s states that inaction will lead to $500B in lost annual economic output in the US by 2100. Such a sum applied now, on the other hand, would clearly make a strong start to doing something about climate change. Aside from that, any dollar estimate of harm is never going to be a worst case estimate, since severe climate change is fully capable not just of direct economic impacts, but also of spurring warfare and social collapse, in ways where the real valuations entirely outstrip the speculative dollar valuations of harm. The right wing who harp about the expense are simply not yet prepared to think clearly about the consequences of the choices in front of us. (In my view, it is well past time that the decision bypass the obstruction.)

The whole point of the GND is that what is practicable depends upon the context, and what is practicable in times of war is of an entirely different scale to what is practicable in normal times. We are not in normal times. This is a time of war, and our enemy is us.

A Salute to the School Strikers

By Robert Alcock

From an Extinction Rebellion activist and father

You’ll have noticed that there’s never any shortage of grown-ups who are eager to tell you their opinions about whatever you happen to be doing. That’s especially true when tens of thousands of you—including my daughter, I’m proud to say—skip school to protest about the state your elders are leaving the planet in.

(School strikers at the Scottish Parliament.)

Quite a few “responsible” adults—as in “the ones who are responsible for the mess we’re in”—have made it clear they think the Climate Strike is really just an excuse to skip school. Well, duh! Obviously it’s much more fun and educational to be out in the streets changing the world than sitting in class being taught about it. You’ve written slogans and designed placards, organised with friends and debated with opponents, made appearances on TV and in social media, made new friends and bumped into old ones you had no idea were involved. Try fitting all that into a timetable and a lesson plan.

Theresa May had this to say about the School Strike: “…Disruption increases teachers’ workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for. That time is crucial for young people precisely so that they can develop into the top scientists, engineers and advocates that we need to help tackle this problem.”

Sorry, Theresa, but I’ll have to give you an F for that answer. This is a global ecological emergency! We need action NOW, not in 30 years’ time when a lucky few among today’s teenagers have managed to reach positions of power and influence. Anyway the vast majority of schools don’t give kids the kind of education they need to gain access to those positions. And the wise young people who were on the streets on Friday know full well that what’s needed today isn’t more technical solutions, but the political will to put the solutions we already have into practice, in a way that’s socially just and ecologically sustainable. No amount of studying is going to achieve that.

My educational journey

When it comes to the cost and value of formal education, I know what I’m talking about. I left school in 1988, the year the IPCC was founded; I studied science at university, graduating in 1992, the year of the Rio Earth Summit, went on to do a masters in ecology, then a PhD, studying the effects of climate change on rocky shore organisms.

In November 2002, the very same weekend I completed my fieldwork, the beautiful coast of northern Spain was devastated by the Prestige oil spill—the worst environmental disaster in Spain’s history—which covered the whole shore in a thick layer of toxic black fuel oil, poisoning the seaweed and shellfish I’d spent three years studying.

(Futile attempts to clean up the Prestige oil spill.)

After all that, I still couldn’t get a job changing the world, so I had to do it on my own time, supporting myself as an writer, editor and translator while also building a house for my family—all skills that I learned mostly outside the formal education system.

Meanwhile, in those 30 years since I left school, the global economy has emitted more CO2 than it did during the whole of human history up to that point, and still shows no sign of slowing down, while ecosystems worldwide are on the point of collapse. If anyone had told me back then that we’d be in this predicament now, I think I would have done less studying and more protesting.

(Global CO2 emissions since the start of the Industrial Revolution.)

But here we are.

Unlike George Monbiot, I don’t feel inclined to apologise to your generation on behalf of my own for having fucked up the world. I’ve been doing what I can. Let everyone look to their own conscience.

But nor do I want to put the burden of the future entirely on your shoulders. Greta Thunberg has something to say about that: “It’s sometimes annoying when people say, ‘Oh you children, you young people are the hope. You will save the world.’ I think it would be helpful if you could help us just a little bit.”

Hearing you loud and clear, Greta. On behalf of the adults of Extinction Rebellion (XR)—and I think I’m safe in speaking for the whole movement here—I want to say to the school strikers: we’ve got your back. We’re here to help. We don’t want to take control of the Climate Strike, profit from it, or use it as part of our nefarious plot to take over the world (well, ok, maybe just a little bit ;-). You’ve done a great job so far, and it has to continue to be driven and organised by you, the young people. But we want to offer you our whole-hearted support to help the Climate Strike grow bigger and better every Friday, and make the next mass action, on Friday March 15th, absolutely impossible to ignore.

In a very practical sense, XR has a lot of resources that you can draw on. (Of course, we’re also aware of the safeguarding and legal issues around adults working with children and other vulnerable groups.) We can offer training and support in a load of different areas: media and messaging, legal advice, how to plan and cary out NVDA (non-violent direct action), how to facilitate meetings and assemblies, prevent burnout, resolve conflicts, and make sure we are all having a good time, how to make effective and beautiful graphics, signs, puppets, music… Really, pretty much everything your movement needs to grow and flourish, except your own passion, wisdom and dedication—and you already have that in abundance.

What about Monday morning?

It’s great that you’re out on the streets protesting on Fridays. I hope you keep it up and diversify what you do during the protests. Marching, waving banners and shouting slogans gets a bit boring after a while. How about holding (Young) People’s Assemblies to talk about the ecological emergency and what we should be doing about it? Extend the conversation you’ve started with your brilliant signs and slogans.

But I think what matters just as much is what you’re going to be doing Monday to Thursday. Many of you are about to go back to school after the half-term break: going from schooling adults in how to change the world, to having to ask to use the bathroom.

Despite the excellent intentions and efforts of many teachers, the vast majority of schools are simply not fit for purpose. They just aren’t set up to empower and inform the young people who are going to create a restorative future for Planet Earth. Rather, for the most part, they foster a culture of domination, disempowerment, passivity, and hopelessness: in fact, the culture at the root of the ecological crisis. The system persists through our resignation and acceptance. Systemic change is needed, starting where each of us is best placed to act. For you, that’s likely to be in your school.

The climate crisis is a great rallying point, though our predicament is a whole lot bigger than just the climate. From oceans to insects, forests to cities, health to justice, no aspect of life on Earth is untouched. You can create a student-led assembly to demand your school declare an climate emergency, and discuss what to do about it: whether that means planting a school forest, tackling air pollution, eliminating plastics, stopping the use of pesticides, sourcing healthy local food for school lunches or growing your own… or reaching out into your local communities. But at the same time, you’ll likely find yourselves talking about, and coming up with solutions for, a lot of other problems—from bullying to child poverty to boring lessons—once you start to see how they are all connected.

Three words to remember: NEVER. ASK. PERMISSION.

I don’t mean you should be rude or arrogant in your behaviour. Be respectful at all times—especially to your opponents; but make it clear that you’re going to do what you believe is right, whether those in power grant permission or not. Most adults will be on your side, even if they might be afraid to say so openly.

Another world is possible. See you there!

For the Earth,

Robert Alcock, Extinction Rebellion Edinburgh

Climate Apathy against Hope

By Liz Lee Reynolds

In a world where even parts of the infamously mild and miserable United Kingdom saw temperatures of 20C and devastating wildfires on a winter weekday in February, it is becoming impossible to deny the prevalence of climate change.

Despite the clear warnings that there is something deeply wrong with the weather, climate change scepticism is still rampant in parts of the world. Even in those that accept climate change there is a worrying tendency towards unhelpful behaviours.

There’s the ever-growing push for one solution in individual consumption, from veganism to ditching plastic straws, but equally as worrying is a strong sense of apathy coursing its way through the public consciousness on the footsteps of the growing acceptance of climate science.

Last week, during the unseasonably warm weather, an amusing, if anxiety-provoking, comic did the rounds on social media. The comic by the hilarious Sarah Scribbles, created in 2017 and relevant every year since, sums up the conflict of enjoying a “lovely” sunny winter day and the internal screams of watching the earth dying.

On these kinds of posts reactions often seem to edge towards almost the polar opposite of climate change denial, a complete acceptance of our path towards catastrophic global warming. Comments shrug off the impacts we are currently seeing as just the death throes of humanity rather than the finale of earth itself, which, once we are gone, will simply regenerate and start afresh, better and stronger without us.

These arguments are not only defeatist but also show the extreme arrogance of our species, the creature of the anthropocene, whose actions have so dramatically altered the world in just a few centuries.

While it may be true we are signing our own death warrants we are also including the majority (if not all) of the species of plant, animal and insect which share the world with us.

It is now widely accepted that we are in the sixth mass extinction event on planet earth. We are watching dozens of species go extinct every day. Many disappear before we’ve even discovered them. The WWF puts losses since 1970 at roughly 60 percent.

These are shocking figures, and not a trend that the earth is going to recover from overnight. It is likely it will take at least 5 to 10 million years for biodiversity to recover but depending on our impact it could be more. The mass extinction event which took place 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, was the largest seen on earth with at least 90 percent of species wiped out. It took at least 30 million years for ecosystems to fully recover.

The last event of this kind, possibly the most popular mass extinction, was that of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. This catastrophic event saw the disappearance of roughly 75 percent of life on earth and a significant shift in the globally dominant species, from reptiles to mammals. Only a handful of hardy species cling on today.

Is this the fate we want to resign the creatures we share our planet with to? Creatures which have taken millions of years to perfectly evolve to their environment which we are now ripping up.

The red panda, for instance, was linked to it’s distant cousin the giant panda by a common ancestor 40 million years ago. In the intervening time these two have evolved into two distinct species, one related to bears, the other closer to ferrets and weasels. Despite their now distant connection both species evolved a similar false thumb to help them eat their chosen diet, bamboo.

This fantastic convergent evolutionary phenomenon will not be repeated in the same way once we are gone. The red pandas, the giant pandas and even their beloved bamboo will be wiped out, possibly while we are still clinging onto our burning planet.

Those that are happily awaiting humanity’s destruction to let in a new flourishing era on earth are callously overlooking the accompanying losses. This kind of extreme apathy is just as destructive as those who deny climate change altogether. It produces the same inaction and acceleration of climatic catastrophe.

Instead we need positive action. A willingness to take a stand and try to change paths towards a more hopeful future. Dismantling the current destructive model of business as usual and creating a greener world for everyone.

This is what Extinction Rebellion offers. With an approach that that combines a cohesive grand narrative and a focus on building local communities has already had significant attention and success. Bursting into life last November it saw thousands take to the streets in London and other cities across the UK.

Actions have included symbolic funeral processions throughout the country. A coffin for dead and dying species, as well as for our planet as a whole, is slowly marched through the streets. I will be joining one such protest this Saturday with my local group in Colchester. This alternative to the usually jubilant protest marches gives the space for attendees to grieve for our current situation while also uniting to find solutions.

With the next mass event planned for a full week, commencing the 15th April, XR focuses not only on action but also creating a regenerative culture, bonding those who are terrified by climate change and breaking down the walls of alienation which create paralysing apathy.

Groups across the country are planning walks over the days leading up to the 15th to converge in London, an action symbolic of the resistance to modern day environmentally destructive living and the coming together of those who oppose it.

Our self-destruction through climate change isn’t going to see humanity wiped out and then every other species breath a sigh of relief that we’re gone. We’re dragging them down with us and in fact throwing them in the fires first. The planet may recover but it is likely to be a very different place.

There may be studies that say we’re already too late but I don’t think that is a reason to give in. We can try to lessen our impact, give life as it currently stands more time and if all else fails at least create a more green and healthy system for us all to live in.

However, I live in hope that we still have time to stop our own extinction and that of many of the creatures we share our planet with. But time is running out. Rather than resign ourselves to denial and apathy we can reach out to others and fight.


By Jackie Dash

11th March, 2019: Land’s End to Penzance Railway Station

The weather was perfect; a wide, late winter-blue sky with scudding clouds overhead and the blue Atlantic stretching away to the West. Around seventy people turned out to give Earth March a strong and powerful send-off on our March to Westminster. Local radio and TV crews were there to interview and record this momentous gathering and the start of our pilgrimage across these Sacred Lands to the heart of government and the financial centre in the capital. Many have taken their concerns to those who hold the power in our country in this way; we are marching in protest at the blatant reluctance of the government to Declare a State of Climate Emergency and to legislate for changes in policy that will have a positive effect on the escalating and devastating impact of Climate Change.

We received a truly positive endorsement from everyone we met along the way, with a few notable exceptions. The loud revving engines and exaggerated shaking heads were few and far between and at this stage, we were able to shrug these off. By and large, the public is supportive of what we are doing, and I guess relieved to see that we are taking their shared concerns to those who have the power to turn this juggernaut away from catastrophe. Two or three marchers asked if we could make a slight detour and walk down past one of the local primary schools, this lies midway between Land’s End and Sr Buryan. The headteacher had brought the entire school, all 25/30 children out to see us. We arrived to heartfelt cheers and then sang for them…something relatively cheery as XR songs go!! It was moving for us all, especially since it is their future and those who come after them that we are fighting.

On through the green lanes of West Penwith to Buryan, where we were greeted with the most sumptuous cakes, served in the Parish Church and sat and had our lunch in the churchyard. Then on towards Lamorna, Newlyn and ultimately Penzance with our colourful banners fluttering in the strengthening breeze. We arrived into Penzance amidst great cheers and welcoming mugs of tea and chocolate, pubs with good Cornish ales and a deep appreciation of what we had already achieved and the hard work that lies ahead of us. An auspicious start to what promises to touch the hearts and minds of the nation.

Guardian: Extinction Rebellion activists throw ‘blood’ outside Downing Street

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 Extinction Rebellion activists pour 200 litres of ‘blood’ outside Downing Street – video


Protesters use red paint to symbolise climate deaths, day after sit-in at Scottish oil event

Aamna Mohdin and Severin Carrell

Extinction Rebellion activists have thrown buckets of “blood” outside Downing Street to call for greater action on climate change. About 400 demonstrators, including families with children, spilled more than 200 litres of red paint to make the severity of climate change “viscerally clear”.

The blood was meant to symbolise “the death of our children” and the hellish future young people faced, the group said in a statement.

Paolo, 61, a translator, said: “We are here to mourn the loss of life, and for the life that has not yet been born; and to protest the injustice of this for future generations. I have no children of my own, but I haven’t stopped loving the world.”

Hector, aged 10, said: “Many animals will go extinct if we do not act now. We have invested all our support in the government. But in our time of need, they have deserted us. We need the press and the government to tell the truth.”

The protest follows a demonstration in Edinburgh on Friday, when police arrested 14 Extinction Rebellion activists who were protesting at an oil industry dinner at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. About 30 people staged a sit-in at the museum before hundreds of oil company executives gathered for the annual dinner of the Scottish Oil Club.

The protesters hung two banners from the balcony of the museum’s main hall that read, “Climate emergency” and “Smash the patriarchy – save the planet”.

They were asked to leave by Police Scotland, but 13 protesters remained in the building, six of them joined together with bicycle locks. They were arrested and removed from the museum at about 8pm.

It is understood that the 14th activist was arrested at about midnight after unfurling a climate protest banner from the same balcony. An Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman said all 14 had been charged with breaching the peace.

It was the latest in a series of direct action protests and occupations by Extinction Rebellion activists in Scotland, including a sit-in at the Scottish parliament and a demonstration in Glasgow.

The campaign group said about 300 people staged a party on Chamber Street outside the museum before executives from oil firms including Shell, BP and Total arrived.

“When guests started arriving, protesters lined the entrance to the museum and sang, chanted and spoke to them about the climate emergency,” the group said, before criticising the museum for renting out its building for the event.

Extinction Rebellion, which has spread to a number of countries after being launched in London last year, argues that governments and industries are failing to address the climate crisis with sufficient urgency.

They believe the UK needs to rapidly cut carbon emissions, with the aim of no net carbon emissions by 2026, about 25 years earlier than its current target. They argue that the UK’s oil industry, which is based in Aberdeen, enjoys £10.5bn a year in subsidies and is continuing to develop new oilfields, despite evidence of increased manmade global warming.

Mim Black, an Extinction Rebellion Scotland spokeswoman, said: “Climate chaos is already under way across the planet and we know that the fossil fuel industry is a major driver of this. We must immediately start putting safety before profit.”

Police Scotland said its officers were deployed at 4.30pm on Friday. After the museum closed to the public, the protesters were asked to leave but refused. “Following a period of negotiation police provided a proportionate response to the protest and 13 people, a mix of men and women, have been arrested,” the force said.