Climate activists adopt extreme tactics and violence as deadline to ‘save the planet’ approaches
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Climate change activists in the United States and around the world are stepping up in what they say is an attempt to save the planet.
In recent months, far-left activists have glued themselves to famous paintings, halted construction of a new pipeline, scaled buildings, blocked rush-hour traffic, set themselves on fire, threatened to disrupt the Congressional baseball game and have punctured tires of random sport utility vehicles (SUVs) in cities around the world.
Activists have argued that governments around the world have failed citizens by not acting aggressively enough to enact policies that limit warming.
“We can’t keep waiting for a bunch of congressional cronies to do nothing while people are dying,” Ashley Thomson, climate campaigner for Greenpeace USA, said last week.
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Greenpeace, one of the oldest environmental organizations of its kind in the world, and its international affiliates have organized several “direct actions” this year, ranging from escalating a venue hosting a major conference in France to banning ‘A ship leaving a Dutch port to escalate a deep-sea mining vessel in the North Sea. Such actions have apparently become more common in the face of what activists see as an impending global catastrophe.
“Climate change is the only issue where, in the worst case scenario, it would really affect our civilization’s ability to continue. The threat there is just much higher,” climate activist Ken Ward told Fox News Digital in a interview. “If you do a bad job on clean water, then you have polluted water – you can reclaim that. With the worst case scenario of climate change, that’s not an option.”
“If you’re on track to make the southern part of our country unlivable and also dehydrated in 20 years or less, what are you doing about it?” Ward continued. “If there was a deal that posed a serious threat, then we would drop other things we’re doing and pay attention to it.”
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In October 2016, Ward closed the valve on a pipeline carrying crude oil from western Canada to Mount Vernon, Washington, as part of a coordinated action. On the same day, other activists – who, along with Ward, were collectively known as “Valve Turners” – closed valves on similar pipelines in Montana, North Dakota and Minnesota.
Ward, who eventually pleaded guilty to trespassing following the incident, told Fox News Digital that such action is necessary if “there is a political deadlock and all the regular processes are not working.” .
Activists like Ward often cite reports from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the so-called Climate Clock, an online tool developed in 2020 to mark how much time is left to humanity to limit global warming, when they stress the immediate need for action. Greenpeace, for example, said governments had better act on climate change or else they will be “forced to do it” following the latest IPCC report in April.
“For decades, fossil fuel companies have paid millions to confuse the public mind, contradict science and falsely claim that climate change was a hoax,” said Gan Golan, co-founder of Climate Clock, at Fox News Digital. “That tactic doesn’t work anymore because the results are obvious to all of us. So they deployed a new tactic: delay. Climate delay has become the new climate denial.”
“In a democracy, if citizens believe their leaders are putting corporate interests before their own lives, they will exercise their First Amendment rights,” he added. “Young people have shown the way, and it’s time for everyone who cares about their future to join them.”
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The climate clock algorithm currently sets the deadline for action limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius around July 2029. Friday marked the group’s first “Climate Emergency Day” when the clock goes from seven at six years old.
“Because governments and politicians have failed to protect us from this danger, we must protect ourselves,” says the website of the Tire Extinguishers, a British group whose members deflated SUV tires in various towns across the United States, Canada and Europe.
The Tire Extinguishers have announced actions in New York, San Francisco and Chicago in recent weeks and a spokesperson previously told Fox News Digital that the group expects to “expand massively” in the coming months.
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Just Stop Oil, another UK-based environmental action group, said it was also planning further action in light of government inaction. The group recently made headlines when its members glued themselves to famous paintings, including a copy of The Last Supper in a London museum.
“There are different kinds of actions we’re taking right now,” a Just Stop Oil spokesperson told Fox News Digital in an interview. “We are essentially calling on individuals and institutions to enter into civil resistance against the British government, preventing them from committing one of the greatest acts of criminality in the history of this country, in terms of the continuation of fuel projects fossil fuels, oil, gas and coal.”
“It’s clear that new oil and gas are going to cause unimaginable suffering for the people of this country and, indeed, people around the world who are currently suffering at the expense of climate change,” the Just spokesperson continued. Stop Oil.
The spokesperson said the group was planning a campaign involving thousands of people for later in the year.
Activists have also repeatedly formed blockades on busy highways to draw attention to climate change and urge elected officials to do more.
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‘We have a brief and fast closing window to deal with the climate crisis,’ said a protester, who was part of a group calling on President Biden to declare a climate emergency by blocking traffic on I-395 in Washington DC on April 14. “The government is not listening.”
A man whose car was blocked during the April protest pleaded with activists to let his car through, saying he needed to travel to see his wife give birth. At a similar protest on July 4 advocating for a declaration of a climate emergency, a driver pleaded with activists blocking a Maryland highway to let him through because he was on parole and had to report to work on time.
The White House said Tuesday that Biden is still considering declaring a climate emergency after Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., effectively killed Democrats’ hopes of sweeping climate legislation last week. However, Biden chose not to make such a statement this week, instead announcing a series of executive actions during a speech in Massachusetts on Wednesday.
Varshini Prakash, the executive director of the Sunrise Movement, said following the speech that Biden may forever be known as “the president who condemned my generation to an unlivable world.”
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“If we look at a world that has the number of people that we’re going to see die and the number of people that are going to be – the population is moving because some parts of the world will no longer be livable, we’re just going to see a lot more wars, fights and murders, because that will be what people think is an appropriate response to the collapse of the conditions that make their nation possible,” Ward told Fox News Digital.
“So I think this opportunity to engage in this unique tool, not just of direct action, but also of mass nonviolent action as a means of change that we know is quite effective – the window for doing something in that vein is getting shorter,” he said.