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6 Ways to Fight Climate Chaos

By Out of the Woods - Novara Wire, May 24, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Climate change is an issue so big it can be paralysing. It doesn’t help with the paralysis that proposed solutions tend to be either hopelessly inadequate (change your lightbulbs! buy local!), or hopelessly ambitious (just replace capitalism with global eco-communes!). Out of the Woods is a blog focused on research and theory; obviously, we think that’s important, but it does leave people asking, “OK, but what should we actually do?” In our view, the only meaningful way to fight climate change is to fight the people whose interests and choices are wrecking the climate. In that spirit, here are six ways to become part of the global movement against fossil fuels and climate chaos.

1 Join Blockadia.

From Elsipogtog to Balcombe, a movement Naomi Klein has dubbed ‘Blockadia’ is developing to prevent new fossil fuel extraction. In the case of Elsipogtog this is part of wider indigenous struggles for the land. These kind of struggles have been at their strongest when strong waged through alliances between local residents and environmental activists. Potential ‘Blockadia’ flashpoints in the UK include the ‘new dash for gas’, stopping new coal coming online, and preventing road and airport expansion. With the government opening up large swathes of this country for fracking, Blockadia could be coming soon to a place near you.

2. From divestment to non-cooperation.

We think that divestment campaigns are unlikely to have much impact. This is because many fossil fuel companies are not publicly traded corporations. Those that are don’t typically raise investment capital through the stock market.

That said, divestment campaigns may serve a movement-building function. They have been prominent in universities, where – in the other direction – a lot of funding goes from fossil capital to university research. There are also many cases of curricula tailored to the fossil fuel industry. Divestment campaigns could serve as a springboard to wider demands for non-cooperation with fossil capital. That could start to impact the development of new fossil fuel reserves.

If the world is to avoid climate chaos, new reserves absolutely have to stay in the ground. In fact, at this point the best case scenario is probably mitigating climate chaos. Climate change isn’t a possibility that might happen in the future: it’s happening now and will continue. What we’re fighting over is how fast and how bad climate change will be.

3. Green syndicalism.

‘Green syndicalism’ is a term coined by anarchist organiser-turned-academic Jeff Shantz to describe radical worker-based ecological organising. For example, in the 1970s the Building Labourer’s Federation in Australia implemented ‘green bans’ against ecologically-damaging projects, as recounted in the inspiring film Rocking the Foundations.

Another example is the historic joint ‘Local 1’ of eco-activists Earth First! and revolutionary unionists the IWW, which organised timber workers against the destruction of old growth forest in northern California in the 1990s. Green syndicalist tactics include sabotage, workers tipping off external activists, and activists occupying work sites as a pretext for workers to down tools in unofficial work stoppages.

Elements of these kind of tactics have been used in the UK, such as the McLibel Support Campaign linking up with McDonalds Workers Resistance in the early 2000s, and the occupation of the Vestas wind turbine factory in 2009, following factory-gate agitation by environmentalists. The basic tenet of green syndicalism is that the interests of capital are opposed to those of both workers and the environment. This provides a strong basis for a ‘red-green alliance’, to counter workers and environmentalists being played off against each other in a capitalist ploy of divide and rule.

Norway’s Largest Pension Fund Divests from Coal

By Beverly Bell - Fossil Free, November 19, 2014

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

Norway’s largest manager of pension funds, KLP, has decided to sell off all its investments in coal companies. KLP executives will instead invest half-a-billion kroner (around USD 75 million) in renewable energy ventures.

KLP manages the pension funds for the majority of Norway’s public sector employees. With its total assets of nearly NOK 500 billion ($84bn/€67bn) its clout in the investment world ranks second only to the Norway’s huge sovereign wealth fund, known as the oil fund.  Today’s decision sets an important precedent for the Oil Fund which is due to announce a decision on its investments in fossil fuels later this month!

Today KLP’s CEO Sverre Thornes announced that: “We are divesting our interests in coal companies in order to highlight the necessity of switching from fossil fuel to renewable energy.”   KLP has decided to invest NOK 500 million more in increased renewable energy capacity.

After a query from one of its local municipal clients, the township of Eid in the mountainous Norwegian county of Sogn og Fjordane, KLP said it has “assessed whether it is possible to contribute to a better environment by pulling investments out of oil, gas and coal companies” without affecting future returns on its investment portfolio.

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