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The youth arm of Britain’s most influential environmental NGO, Young Friends of the Earth, have today put Lord John Browne of Madingley’s integrity up for auction on eBay. [1]

This comes on the day that officials from the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Environment Agency speak at the UK Shale Gas Forum [2] alongside the chief executives of Cuadrilla and iGas – two companies whose drilling sites have been the focus of protest camps in Balcombe and Salford.

John Wilson, lead campaigner of Young Friends of the Earth’s Dirty Energy Group said:

'We have targeted Lord Browne as he was appointed Non-Executive Director of the Cabinet Office, a mere four months after joining Cuadrilla as Chairman. We believe Lord Browne should resign as he is looking to benefit financially from fracking and this coupled with his influence within the government amounts to a massive conflict of interest.’

Greg Hewitt, campaign member of the Dirty Energy Group said:

‘Fracking keeps us hooked on dangerous fossil fuels which reduce our ability to meet our legally binding obligations to reduce our CO2 emissions. Stories of fracking from the US already provide evidence of the negative environmental and human impacts of fracking. [3] Even on our own doorstep, fracking has caused havoc – test drilling in Lancashire caused two earthquakes back in 2011.’ [4]

Young Friends of the Earth demonstrated outside Riverstone Holdings at last October’s Global Frackdown event, and have now gained over 2,000 signatures on their change.org petition. [5]

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

[1]http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=171272165961

[2] http://marketforce.eu.com/events/utilities-energy/the-shale-gas-forum

[3]  http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/01/05/some-states-confirm-water-pollution-from-drilling/4328859/

[4] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-lancashire-15550458

[5] https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/we-call-on-lord-browne-to-resign-from-his-position-in-the-cabinet-office-due-to-his-vested-interests-in-profiting-from-fracking-and-the-conflict-of-interest-this-causes

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Meat production and overfishing is damaging our natural environments. Livestock production is responsible for 14.5% of greenhouse gases emitted each year and destructive fishing methods are damaging our marine ecosystems.

We need to start thinking more about the impact of our dietary choices. 

We believe that eating less but better meat and fish is the way forward and to show you that this is more than possible, we’re challenging you to give Meat Free May a go - a month of no meat or fish, whilst asking your friends and family to sponsor you.

We hope that once you see how easy it is to live without meat or fish you’ll look to eat better for yourself and the planet. Our Executive Director even gave it a go.

Join us to enjoy new food, have fun and help us fundraise! Sign-up to take part in Meat Free May today.

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The EU 2030 package is important. The targets it contains will set out how much Europe will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by and how we’ll generate and use electricity for the next 17 years.

The European Commission has proposed targets that risk putting the world on a pathway to blow the 2 degree limit. Now it’s down to national governments to decide what the final goals should be at their EU Council meeting on 20-21 March – so it’s time to make some noise!

First, find out why this is important and what’s going on with some hand puppets, courtesy of the fantastic UK Youth Climate Coalition

 

 

Next, take action!

1.  Sound the Alarm for Climate Action!

All across Europe, people, organisations and communities are gearing up to take action in a week of pressure aimed at their governments from 22 February to 1 March. By working together we can create a louder united voice that highlight the broad diversity of voices calling for more climate action.

Find out what’s happening near you – or add your own ideas! – here: http://caneurope.org/climateactionweek

2. Push the UK Government for European climate action 

The UK is enduring the worst floods for 200 years and leading scientists agree that they are climate-related. At the same time, Europe is setting climate targets for the next two decades. If thousands of us send David Cameron and Nick Clegg a message, they can push for the ambitious action that the world needs.

Sign the petition here: http://www.stopclimatechaos.org/campaigns/push-european-climate-action

3. Demand European Climate Action

Join European citizens who are deeply concerned about the causes and impacts of climate change to call on EU Heads of State to advocate for the European Council to support a plan that will truly protect us from dangerous climate change.

Email your government here: http://caneurope.org/act-now

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By Richard Sagar, Young FoE Steering Group

I have to be honest, waiting around in a car park on the outskirts of Manchester on a cold afternoon is not my idea of a perfect Sunday.

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But with Barton Moss in Manchester at the frontline in the current fight against unconventional gas extraction. I felt it necessary to join the solidarity demo with those camping at the fracking rig, preventing lorries transporting goods to the site.

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The demo itself had a better than expected turnout with upwards of 500 people, most of whom local, outraged at the Governments plans to leave the British countryside resembling a pin cushion. There were people from all walks of life and ages united in opposition to the Government’s proposed ‘dash for gas’.

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With such a large percentage of the UK population opposed to fracking, The government is on the back foot. David Cameron is urging councils to get on board and even offering bribes to councils that do

Barton Moss is just the beginning. Future site battles will be necessary. Young FoE will be there, we hope you can join us.

Sign our petition to David Cameron

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By Shaz, Young FoE Steering Group

This January I am going vegan for the month. I currently live a mostly vegetarian lifestyle. I only eat meat if it is about to be thrown away or I am abroad. I don’t have a problem with eating meat, as I believe animals are part of the human food chain. I do think that we eat too much meat as a society and the source of our animal products is highly questionable from both an environmental and ethical perspective.

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be vegan. I’ve learnt from vegan friends that it takes a great deal of planning to live healthily as a vegan. I’ve been informed that eating out can be difficult as for many restaurants vegan dishes are unheard of. I am bad at planning my meals and often just buy items such as egg sandwiches without thinking about the source of the ingredients – whether the hens were treated cruelly or how much the farm contributed to environmental degradation.

Even as ‘mostly vegetarian’, I have become complacent, I know my actions may still contribute to harming animals, the environment and perpetuate damage to wider society. I’m hoping to change this and learn more as I go along. I love a challenge so this is perfect for me.

In May, Young Friends of the Earth will be launching a campaign which will challenge people to give up meat and fish for all of May. We’re hoping that once people see firsthand just how easy it is to live without meat or fish they will easily be able to reduce their consumption and make dietary choices that are both good for themselves and the planet. We hope you will join us – keep an eye out for Meat Free May!

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We’ve just celebrated our first anniversary since our re-launch in late 2012!

Since we first met at Friends of the Earth’s annual conference in 2012, a vibrant network has emerged. Their first annual review celebrates a year which has included:

  • Going undercover in a computer store to draw attention to how Apple sources its components
  • Calling on Cuadrilla chair Lord Browne to resign, including organising a protest outside his investment company
  • Cycling to the New Forest to raise money as part of the Big Green Bike Ride
  • Joining Young Friends of the Earth Norway to successfully halt plans for fossil fuel extraction in the Lofoten national park
  • Being part of the youth delegation to the climate talks in Poland
  • Contributing to events such as People and Planet Conference, Balcombe ‘Reclaim the Power’ camp, and BASECAMP

This year, we’ll be continuing our involvement in the movement against Dirty Energy as well as a project calling people to go Meat Free for May.

If you’re interested in being part of these sub-groups, please email us.

We’re working to include more young people in the environmental movement. If you are under the age of 30 and are involved, or want to be involved in environmental campaigning, please fill in this survey.

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By Adam, Young FoE Steering Group

I’m not a fan of Lord Browne.

For me, it started when the Browne Review (recommending tuition fee increases) came out in 2010 – I was the Vice President of my Students’ Union at the time – thousands of us took to the streets chanting ‘Down With Browne’ – then I learnt about BP, greenwashing, the Deepwater Horizon disaster that many hold him culpable for, and to top it all off, my university gave him an honorary degree.  Great.

Over 120 arrests at Balcombe later, fracking is rightfully a national controversy. So when it turned out that he was doing a public lecture at the LSE’s Grantham Research Institute last week, I knew I had to be there. And I wasn’t the only one, either.

Appallingly, the LSE collaborated in portraying him as some sort of climate hero – ‘in 1997, Lord Browne broke ranks with the rest of the oil industry and acknowledged the risk posed by climate change,’ the lecture synopsis puffed. Browne was going to be allowed to style himself as someone concerned for the environment. You don’t get prizes for simply recognising the biggest threat the human family has ever faced.

Lord Browne has spent most of his life working for and running a company that has been responsible for some of the worst environmental and humanitarian disasters the world has ever seen, and is locking us into a climate changed future. He’s is the chairman of Balcombe frackers Cuadrilla Resources, and a lobbyist for his own business interests within government. He’s current advising the owners of a Russian oil and gas fund. Clearly, he’s no environmental hero. For LSE to put him up as a speaker, unopposed, is disgraceful.

As he took to the stage of the night, there was more security than usual for a public lecture at LSE. It only became clear just how many people were in the audience to oppose Browne until he mentioned how there were no examples of fracking contaminating water, and suddenly the whole audience was overcome with a coughing fit:

From then on, it was obvious what was going to happen when it was time for questions. Browne looked flustered as he was barracked by audience members about his role in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, his links with government, his claims that fracking doesn’t cause earthquakes or water contamination, and how all this squares with his apparent concern for the environment. His claims of fracking not causing groundwater contamination (well over 1,000 separate reports in the US alone) was rubbished by the vast majority of the audience.

The only drop of truth seemed to come when Browne contradicted the government’s apparent rationale for fracking – that it would cut bills.

For nearly two hours, Browne was assailed by hostile questions. Only around two or three questions during that time were not direct challenges. The nearest Browne got to anything complimentary was ‘I think you’re pretty brave for coming here.’

But that’s how it should be. If he wants to stand up and spout the myth that fracking is safe and just what we need, he should need to be brave. The crowd at the LSE made sure he wouldn’t get a free platform – like he does at the Cabinet Office – to spout propaganda. He needs to be opposed and challenged wherever he goes.

That’s why Young FoE have started a ‘Dirty Energy Group’ opposing dirty energy in the UK and across Europe. If you’d like to join, get in touch.

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POLLUTERS TALK, WE WALK | Mass walk-out of corporate-captured climate talks in Poland

Warsaw, November 21 – One day before the scheduled conclusion of the international climate talks in Warsaw, hundreds of climate activists – including Young Friends of the Earth Europe– have walked out in protest at the lack of ambition at the talks, and in solidarity with people affected by climate change.

The walkout included social movements, trade unions and major environmental, development and youth groups, such as Greenpeace, Oxfam, WWF, Action Aid and the International Trade Union Confederation, as well as many others. Together they represent millions of people who demand real climate action [1]. The delegates who walked-out wore t-shirts with the slogan ‘polluters talk, we walk’ to signify the toxic influence of dirty energy corporations on the climate talks and the positions of many national governments.
Susann Scherbarth, climate justice and energy campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "We are walking out in frustration and disappointment – the talks here in Poland have done nothing to cut emissions or provide real finance to tackle climate change. We also walk out in solidarity, with those communities and countries who stand to lose so much from climate change, and for whom these talks have done so little. Enough is enough."
Maruska Mileta, from Young Friends of the Earth Europe said: "At a time when the climate science is clearer than ever, young people feel increasingly let down by our governments. They are prioritising short-term economic interests over a liveable climate for all of our futures."
The Polish government’s decision to invite sponsorship from big polluters and to host a coal summit during the talks has already drawn heavy criticism from civil society organisations.
Industrialised countries’ governments are neglecting their responsibility to prevent climate catastrophe, and protect those that are losing so much as a result of climate change. Their positions at the global climate talks are increasingly driven by the narrow economic and financial interests of multinational corporations, according to Friends of the Earth, in particular Australia, Canada, Japan and the US.
Friends of the Earth Europe is calling on European politicians to push for fast and fair emission cuts in line with science, and a renewable energy-powered future that puts the interests of people at its centre. It is calling for binding EU climate and energy targets for 2030, at least 60% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and ambitious energy efficiency and renewables targets. This needs be alongside more ambitious pre-2020 action.
There needs to be international recognition that communities and countries are suffering irreversible losses due to climate breakdown, now, and governments need to put new money on the table to help developing countries compensate, adapt to the impacts of climate change and tackle urgent development needs.
 
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NOTES:
[1] The organisations include Friends of the Earth International, the International Trade Union Confederation, PanAfrican Climate Justice Alliance, Bolivian Platform on Climate Change, Jubilee South (APMDD), 350.org, Greenpeace, WWF, Oxfam, ActionAid, Young Friends of the Earth Europe and others.
Updates from the talks: www.facebook.com/YoungFoEE
FoEI report, Good energy, bad energy (November 2013): http://www.foei.org/en/good-energy-bad-energy

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To: Ms. Christiana Figueres Executive Secretary UNFCCC secretariat

From: Clémence Hutin

15 November 2013

Dear Christiana,

I am Clémence, the 23 year-old young environmentalist banned from the COP19 for standing in solidarity with the Philippines. As you did not respond to our first letter I would like to express a few things I still have on my mind.

As you can imagine, I’m feeling quite frustrated at the moment, mostly because I find this situationcompletely absurd.

Yesterday during the intergenerational panel, you told my friends, “I am very grateful for the fact that you are here and I know that many of you have made incredible efforts and sacrifices to be here and I welcome you here.” I did make an effort to come here. I took a bus from Paris to avoid taking the plane. I travelled 29 hours, and took two weeks off work to be here- my time in Warsaw counts as a holiday.

I had a chance to meet you for the first time this June in Istanbul, at the Global Power Shift. You gave an emotional speech to the plenary, telling young people to get angry, to fight. To fight for our future. You told us about your daughters.

These words now sound very hollow to me. I feel some grave inconsistencies in your discourse. You tell me to get angry, to fight, to push leaders… and you kick me out on the first day for standing in solidarity with the Philippines.

Christiana, did you really mean what you said in Istanbul? Actions speak louder than words. From what I’m seeing here, major dirty corporations are more welcome here than the youth.

I’d like to point out a second inconsistency in your words. During the panel yesterday, in response to my friends’ question about whether or not we could come back in, you told them: “I cannot let you know whether we will let them back in and if we do, when. Because that is a conversation for UN security, for them then to advise me on what their best judgement is.”

I completely agree with you on this. However, the chief of security made it clear we could come back the very next day. What we heard, however, is that you made this decision personally as the Executive Secretary.

I think there are more important things to be done presently. We only have two weeks a year to negotiate a climate deal, and you often stress how short of a timespan this is. You also often say, “I have a COP to run.” I’m with you Christiana. Please, run the COP. By all means, lead negotiatiors towards an ambitious, just, binding, deal.

You must know by now that sadly, people are losing faith in the UNFCCC process. At times, I myself doubt my faith in the political system. However, I do think that the UNFCCC has a pivotal role in pushing governments to avoid catastrophic climate change, and I don’t want it to let the UNFCCC to be discredited or weakened in any way, nor let the civil society to disengage from the process.

To avoid this, I believe the UNFCCC must now send a clear message: that the UN Climate talks are a democratic space, where civil society is welcome, and dirty corporations, whose business model is incompatible with any kind of ambitious action on climate change, are not.

I hope this message resonates with you.

Sincerely, Clémence Hutin.

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By Greg, Young FoE steering group

In 2012, Young FoE were given a stall at People & Planet’s student conference, Shared Planet. This year, Friends of the Earth approached us and asked if we wanted a shared stall at this year’s conference. So on the 1st and 2nd November, a group of Young FoE campaigners made their way to London. This was particularly exciting for us as we were also asked to help with delivering some training sessions alongside Friends of the Earth. These sessions focused on media training and how to give a good interview. By being able to help out with these, not only did we gain facilitation and training skills, but we also learnt some excellent media skills too.

On the stall we had the Bee Cause campaign petitions for students to sign, whilst also telling people about our Lord Browne stunt, and signing the petition on change.org (which by the way we’re now over 500 signatures!!). There was also an opportunity for students to sign up to the campaign organisers programme and Young FoE. And by the end of the weekend, 21 people signed up to our mailing list.

We’ve not long ago had our steering group meeting where we have been laying out plans for the coming year. I really hope that these new campaigns and ideas will provide people signed up to our mailing list the opportunity to get involved with Young FoE.