Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search


Europe Wraps Up Warmest Winter On Record With Massive Youth #ClimateStrike In Brussels

by Jessica Corbett, staff writer

Thousands of people, including Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg, marched through downtown Brussels Friday for the youth-led European Climate Strike just a day after scientists released new data revealing that the past few months represented Europe's warmest winter ever recorded.

As the home to multiple European Union institutions, Brussels is considered the E.U.'s de facto capital. The Brussels Times reported that protesters traveled from all across Belgium to participate in the demonstration. Sophie Vandeveugle, a 21-year-old from Namur, told the newspaper, "I'm here as a symbolic measure, because I don't think politicians are listening."

Some climate strikers came from other countries, like 22-year-old Anna of Vienna, Austria. "I'm here because of the E.U. Green Deal, it's not enough, and if this will be the last we will hear about it, then it's very sad," Anna told the Times. "We need decisive and radical action now, not in 50 years; it is too late for a smooth transition."

The demonstration came as the European Commission, the E.U.'s executive branch, continues to endure criticism from climate activists that the European Green Deal introduced in December by Commission President Ursula von der Leyen isn't adequately ambitious. A draft of the E.U. climate law, the centerpiece of the deal, was unveiled Wednesday.

On Friday, as Common Dreams reported, the climate lobbying watchdog InfluenceMap revealed that representatives of oil giant ExxonMobil met with commission officials who were finalizing the European Green Deal last fall in an effort to ensure that vehicles in Europe will keep running on fossil fuels rather than transitioning to electric.

Critics of the E.U. Green Deal charge that its call for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 "equals surrender." In an open letter Tuesday, 17-year-old Thunberg and 33 fellow climate strikers wrote: "It means giving up. We don't just need goals for just 2030 or 2050. We, above all, need them for 2020 and every following month and year to come."

Thunberg founded the Fridays for Future movement and has traveled the world to pressure people in power to take the climate crisis more seriously.

After joining the march, she delivered a speech to fellow strikers in Brussels Friday:

"People constantly tell us that we are exaggerating or that we are just naive children, but all we are doing is telling people in power to unite behind the science and give us a safe future," Thunberg told the crowd. "I don't think that is too much to ask for."

"And it does seem like we understand the science better than most, to judge from their actions," she added. "Our house is on fire and this week the European Commission proposed a European climate law which basically says that we will once again wait a few more years to start putting the fire out—and that is not how you act in a crisis, because time is a luxury that we do not have."

Backed by cheers, Thunberg vowed that "we will be a constant reminder that they are failing us every Friday when we strike." This week marked the Nobel Peace Prize nominee's 81st climate strike, which she started outside the Swedish parliament in 2018.

The Brussels-based advocacy group Friends of the Earth Europe pointed out in a tweet Friday that the climate strike closed out Europe's warmest winter on record, according to findings published Thursday by the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S), which is implemented by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) on behalf of the European Commission.

The new C3S analysis found that the 2019-2020 winter was 3.4°C warmer than the average for 1981-2010, and the temperature was nearly 1.4°C higher than that of the previous record from 2015-2016.

"Europe has been experiencing its mildest winter on record. Whilst this was a truly extreme event in its own right, it is likely that these sorts of events have been made more extreme by the global warming trend," C3S director Carlo Buontempo said in a statement Thursday. "With C3S data, individuals, institutions, and policymakers can make informed decisions based on the evolving climate temperatures."

The stated mission of C3S is "to support adaptation and mitigation policies of the European Union by providing consistent and authoritative information about climate change."

Mauro Facchini, Head of the Earth Observation Unit at European Commission Directorate-General's DEFIS, said Thursday that "now more than ever, the role of Copernicus is becoming more important. The European Commission relies on programs like Copernicus and institutions like the ECMWF to provide quality assured operational data to support the development of a climate-resilient society."

"Copernicus will effectively contribute to the implementation of the European Commission Green Deal in various sectors," Facchini added.

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Eric Zuesse: U.S. Empire: Biden And Kerry Gave Orders To Ukraine’s President

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at Strategic Culture On May 19th, an implicit international political warning was issued, but it wasn’t issued between countries; it was issued between allied versus opposed factions within each of two countries: U.S. and Ukraine. ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Budget Cockups In The Time Of Coronavirus: Reporting Errors And Australia’s JobKeeper Scheme

Hell has, in its raging fires, ringside seats for those who like their spreadsheets. The seating, already peopled by those from human resources, white collar criminals and accountants, becomes toastier for those who make errors with those spreadsheets. ... More>>

The Dig - COVID-19: Just Recovery

The COVID-19 crisis is compelling us to kick-start investment in a regenerative and zero-carbon future. We were bold enough to act quickly to stop the virus - can we now chart a course for a just recovery? More>>

The Conversation: Are New Zealand's New COVID-19 Laws And Powers Really A Step Towards A Police State?

Reaction to the New Zealand government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lockdown has ranged from high praise to criticism that its actions were illegal and its management chaotic. More>>

Keith Rankin: Universal Versus Targeted Assistance, A Muddled Dichotomy

The Commentariat There is a regular commentariat who appear on places such as 'The Panel' on Radio New Zealand (4pm on weekdays), and on panels on television shows such as Newshub Nation (TV3, weekends) and Q+A (TV1, Mondays). Generally, these panellists ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Welcome Deaths: Coronavirus And The Open Plan Office

For anybody familiar with that gruesome manifestation of the modern work place, namely the open plan office, the advent of coronavirus might be something of a relief. The prospects for infection in such spaces is simply too great. You are at risk from ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Do You Consent To The New Cold War?

The world's worst Putin puppet is escalating tensions with Russia even further, with the Trump administration looking at withdrawal from more nuclear treaties in the near future. In addition to planning on withdrawing from the Open Skies Treaty ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Why Thinking Makes It So: Donald Trump’s Obamagate Fixation

The “gate” suffix has been wearing thin since the break-in scandal that gave it its birth. Since Watergate, virtually anything dubious and suggestive, and much more besides, is suffixed. Which brings us to the issue of President Donald Trump’s ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Ethics (and Some Of The Economics) Of Lifting The Lockdown

As New Zealand passes the half-way mark towards moving out of Level Four lockdown, the trade-offs involved in life-after-lockdown are starting to come into view. All very well for National’s finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith to claim that “The number one priority we have is to get out of the lockdown as soon as we can”…Yet as PM Jacinda Ardern pointed out a few days ago, any crude trade-off between public health and economic well-being would be a false choice... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Brutal Choices: Anders Tegnell And Sweden’s Herd Immunity Goal

If the title of epidemiological czar were to be created, its first occupant would have to be Sweden’s Anders Tegnell. He has held sway in the face of sceptics and concern that his “herd immunity” approach to COVID-19 is a dangerous, and breathtakingly ... More>>


  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog