Where’s your red line? Is it when half the animals on earth have been killed? Is it when three quarters of the commercial fish stocks collapse? Is it when the oceans acidify? Is it when only 15% of the world’s forests remain intact? Is it when record-breaking storms, fires, floods and droughts rage worldwide?
The closing ‘red lines’ protests against the COP21 climate deal had a message that the public would hold the global governments accountable and that they would have the last word. Governments have made a voluntary, non-binding agreement to begin to reduce emissions in 2020. Although negotiators agreed that warming should be limited to 1.5 degrees and must be limited to 2 degrees there is currently no plan to make that happen. There are many times more reserves of fossil fuels than can be burnt and no governmental negotiations yet about who keeps what in the ground and who compensates who for climate change. So if we are to be responsible to each other and future generations how do we ‘keep it in the ground‘ and meet the COP21 target?
As well as divestment, community initiatives and political campaigns, internationally plans are growing for 2016 to be a year of direct action, interrupting fossil fuels at the sites of extraction. This year German coal mines were repeatedly shut down, including the Ende Gelande 1500 person mass tresspass which resulted in the hundreds arrested being released. In contrast, just nine people in the UK temporarily closed a coal mine owned by climate denier Matt Ridley and eight of the group have now been sentenced to a total of £10,000 in fines for which they are crowdfunding for help.
A UK project called ‘Groundswell‘ is now emerging to increase the interruption of fossil fuel extraction in 2016 but as more people step up and step forward in defense of their red lines, the question emerges, how do we prepare now to make our movement sustainable and strong for the coming storms?