Climate news review

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A few of today’s climate news stories

Insulate Britain says 117 supporters have been charged over road block protests after 857 arrests

Climate activists say they expect numbers to rise

Climate group Insulate Britain has said 117 activists have been charged over road-blocking protests last year.

Activists brought major roads – mostly in southern England – to a standstill during protests between September and November, which were aimed at drawing attention to the UK’s poorly heated homes.

The Metropolitan PoliceKent Police and Essex Police have each issued charges in recent weeks.

They include 146 charges of causing a public nuisance, 137 of wilful obstruction of the highway, and 10 of criminal damage.

Insulate Britain said it is “likely these numbers will rise as we understand that further charges are still being issued”.

Greta Thunberg to publish a ‘go-to source’ book on the climate crisis

The Climate Book will include contributions from scientist Katharine Hayhoe, economist Thomas Piketty and novelist Margaret Atwood

Greta Thunberg is releasing a new book this autumn, which aims to offer a “global overview of how the planet’s many crises connect”.

“I have decided to use my platform to create a book based on the current best available science – a book that covers the climate, ecological and sustainability crises holistically”, Thunberg said in a statement. “Because the climate crisis is, of course, only a symptom of a much larger sustainability crisis. My hope is that this book might be some kind of go-to source for understanding these different, closely interconnected crises.”

In The Climate Book, which is due to be published by Penguin this autumn, Thunberg has assembled more than 100 contributors, from scientists Johan Rockström and Katharine Hayhoe to economist Thomas Piketty and novelist Margaret Atwood. The 19-year-old also shares what she has learned from her own experiences of climate activism. In particular, she discusses the prevalence of greenwashing, revealing the extent to which we have been kept in the dark about the issue. She names this as one of our biggest problems, but also our greatest source of hope – because, she believes, once we are all given the full picture, we will be able to act.

“Right now, we are in desperate need of hope”, Thunberg said. “But hope is not about pretending that everything will be fine.”

France fails to meet court deadline to get Paris climate deal objectives back on track 

In a landmark ruling back in July 2021, France’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, condemned the government’s failure to comply with the 2015 accord and tackle climate change.

After a review, it concluded that the country was not doing enough to reach the agreement’s objective of reducing global greenhouse gases by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990.

The court gave the government nine months to “take all useful measures” to get the country back on track.

UK parliament hunger strike ‘out of desperation’, climate activist says

A climate activist who has been on hunger strike outside the UK Houses of Parliament for three weeks has said his protest was an “utter necessity” even though it was putting his life at risk.

Angus Rose, a 52-year-old software engineer, tells The Independent he would rather be doing something else – such as hanging out with friends – than sat outside Westminster refusing to eat any food.

But he says: “This is out of desperation.”

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Lismore flooding, Eastern Australia

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Lismore in East Australia suffered extreme flooding at the end of February 2022. These 2 videos discuss that flooding. Further flood warnings have been issued in Lismore now – 29 March 2022 – a month later, warning people to evacuate.

Continue ReadingLismore flooding, Eastern Australia

Priti Patel’s Home Office stole refugees’ phones

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The Home Office seized refugees’ phones illegally. It should be dismantled

Priti Patel’s Home Office operated a grossly unlawful – and spectacularly cruel – policy of seizing the phones of refugees arriving in the UK

George Peretz

Calls to break up the Home Office – and redistribute its functions across Whitehall – are about to grow even louder, following Friday’s ruling that the department broke the law by confiscating refugees’ phones.

There are some basic principles of English law that you ought to be able to rely on with absolute security when you deal with the state. One of these is that you cannot be searched by an officer of the state, or have your property seized, without a specific legal basis.

Though this has modern overlays in the form of the Human Rights Act and the Data Protection Act, it falls mostly into the legal specialism known as the bleeding obvious. Or, to use the politer words of the High Court when considering the spectacular failure of the Home Office: “None of the legal concepts involved is novel or recondite.”

The behaviour that generated this judicial reaction was the Home Office’s policy, during most of 2020, of greeting people arriving on small boats to claim refugee status with an immediate search for their mobile phones, seizing those phones, demanding the passwords for those phones (while falsely claiming that it was an offence not to give them), downloading all the data on those phones onto Home Office systems and, finally, refusing to return the phones.

Continue ReadingPriti Patel’s Home Office stole refugees’ phones

Climate protests news review

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Climate [ed: strikes] were worldwide on Friday.


or FFF, is a youth-led and -organised global climate strike movement that started in August 2018, when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg began a school strike for climate. In the three weeks leading up to the Swedish election, she sat outside Swedish Parliament every school day, demanding urgent action on the climate crisis. She was tired of society’s unwillingness to see the climate crisis for what it is: a crisis.

To begin with, she was alone, but she was soon joined by others. On the 8th of September, Greta and her fellow school strikers decided to continue their strike until the Swedish policies provided a safe pathway well under 2° C, i.e. in line with the Paris agreement. They created the hashtag #FridaysForFuture, and encouraged other young people all over the world to join them. This marked the beginning of the global school strike for climate.

Young people on first climate strikes since COP26

Young people in Scotland are taking part in climate strikes from schools, colleges and universities for the first time since COP26.

They are calling for faster action on climate change as they believe little has been done since the global summit.

The demonstrations are part of more than 700 similar protests taking place around the world.

Hundreds gathered outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh before marching to the city chambers.

Australia has seen protests by Blockade Australia blockading infrastructure before Friday – Sydney’s Port Botany, roads and railways in Sydney – as well as climate strikers.

Activists dismiss NSW government crackdown on Sydney port protests

State government announces strike force and penalties, while two German nationals will be deported

Climate change protesters who have caused blockades at Sydney’s major port this week say tougher penalties and the deportation of two activists will not stop them from continuing their campaign.

The New South Wales government announced on Thursday that it would ramp up its response to protests by the climate group Blockade Australia, including the creation of a strike force aimed at disrupting activists, increased penalties and possible jail time.

The penalties, including fines of $22,000 and up to two years jail time for people who blockade tunnels and bridges, follow three days of protests around the port which have seen the arrests of five people including two German nationals.

Senior ex-ADF officers name climate change as Australia’s biggest threat

A roll call of senior ex-Defence officers and security experts have put their names to an open letter naming climate change “the greatest threat to the future and security of Australians”.

The letter, published on the Australian Security Leaders Climate Group website, called on political leaders to make climate change a primary focus ahead of the 2022 Federal Election.

“The first duty of government is the safety and protection of the people, but Australia has failed when it comes to climate change threats,” the letter read.

Climate protest shuts down Port Botany for third time in a day after man climbs crane

Climate activist group Blockade Australia shut down operations at Port Botany three times on Friday, marking its fourth consecutive day of climate inaction protests in Sydney.

Around 2pm, a 26-year-old, identified by the activist group as Max, gained access to the port in less than 10 minutes and began scaling a 60-metre crane, tying himself to the main arm of its top while live-streaming the incident on Facebook.

Earlier on Friday, a grandmother aged in her 60s, who identified herself as Sharon, climbed on top of a cargo train in Sydney’s inner west as part of the same climate change protest. She was arrested and taken to Mascot police station where she is expected to be charged.

Another woman staged a protest in Tempe, identifying herself as Emma on her Facebook stream. She was arrested after she suspended herself from a bipod structure on a freight line.

Australian school students join global climate protest

Scott Morrison reminds students skipping school for climate protests that ‘learning gets done in schools’

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‘Unthinkable’: Scientists Shocked as Polar Temperatures Soar 50 to 90 Degrees Above Normal

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Republished from Common Dreams

Scientists expressed alarm as temperatures near both poles soared to 50°-90°F above normal in recent days. (Image: Climate Reanalyzer)

“With everything going on in the world right now, the dual polar climate disasters of 2022 should be the top story”

BRETT WILKINSMarch 20, 2022

Scientists expressed shock and alarm this weekend amid extreme high temperatures near both of the Earth’s poles—the latest signs of the accelerating planetary climate emergency.

“This event is completely unprecedented and upended our expectations about the Antarctic climate system.”

Temperatures in parts of Antarctica were 50°F-90°F above normal in recent days, while earlier this week the mercury soared to over 50°F higher than average—close to the freezing mark—in areas of the Arctic.

Stefano Di Battista, an Antarctic climatologist, tweeted that such record-shattering heat near the South Pole was “unthinkable” and “impossible.”

“Antarctic climatology has been rewritten,” di Battista wrote.

The joint French-Italian Concordia research station in eastern Antarctica recorded an all-time high of 10°F on Friday. In contrast, high temperatures at the station this time in March average below -50°F.

Jonathan Wille, a researcher studying polar meteorology at Université Grenoble Alpes in France, told The Washington Post that “this event is completely unprecedented and upended our expectations about the Antarctic climate system.”

“This is when temperatures should be rapidly falling since the summer solstice in December,” Wille tweeted. “This is a Pacific Northwest 2021 heatwave kind of event,” he added, referring to the record-breaking event in which parts of Canada topped 120°F for the first time in recorded history. “Never supposed to happen.”

Walt Meier, a senior research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, told USA Today that “you don’t see the North and the South [poles] both melting at the same time” because “they are opposite seasons.”

“It’s definitely an unusual occurrence,” he added.

As Common Dreams has reported, the Arctic has been warming three times faster than the world as a whole, accelerating polar ice melt, ocean warming, and other manifestations of the climate emergency.

“Looking back over the last few decades, we can clearly see a trend in warming, particularly in the ‘cold season’ in the Arctic,” Ruth Mottram, a climate scientist with the Danish Meteorological Institute, told the Post. “It’s not surprising that warm air is busting through into the Arctic this year. In general, we expect to see more and more of these events in the future.”

Continue Reading‘Unthinkable’: Scientists Shocked as Polar Temperatures Soar 50 to 90 Degrees Above Normal