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


Gordon Campbell: On The Use Of Existing Drugs To Reduce The Effects Of Coronavirus

So now, we’re all getting up to speed with the travel bans, the rigorous handwashing and drying, the social distancing, and the avoidance of public transport wherever possible. Right. At a wider level…so far, the public health system has ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Oil Market And Regulation Crusades

Safe to say, Vladimir Putin did not expect the response he has received amidships from the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Earlier, Russia chose to walk away from the OPEC talks in Vienna that were aimed at reaching an agreement on how to reduce world oil production (and protect oil prices) in the light of the fall in demand being caused by the coronavirus. No doubt, Russia and its allies in the US shale industry probably glimpsed an opportunity to undercut OPEC and seize some of its customers. Bad move. In reply, Saudi Arabia has smashed the oil market by hugely ramping up production, signing up customers and drastically cutting the oil price in a fashion designed to knock Russia and other oil suppliers right out of contention. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On 22 Short Takes About Super Tuesday

With obvious apologies to the Simpsons….Here’s my 22 short takes on the 14 Super Tuesday primaries that combined yesterday to produce a common narrative –Bernie Sanders NOT running away with the nomination, Joe Biden coming back from the dead, and the really, really rich guy proving to be really, really bad at politics. In the months ahead, it will be fascinating to see if the real Joe Biden can live up to the idea of Joe Biden that people voted for yesterday – namely, the wise old guy who can save the country from the political extremism of the right and the left... More>>

Gordon Campbell On Shane Jones: A Liability No-One Needs To Bear

New Zealand First has needed a diversion after weeks of bad coverage over its dodgy handling of donations, but it really, really doesn’t need what Shane Jones has chosen to provide. According to Jones, New Zealand has ... More>>

Binoy Kampmark: Strong Man Legacies: Burying Mubarak

Reviled strongmen of one era are often the celebrated ones of others. Citizens otherwise tormented find that replacements are poor, in some cases even crueller, than the original artefact. Such strongmen also serve as ideal alibis for rehabilitation ... More>>

Caitlin Johnstone: Humanity Is Making A Very Important Choice When It Comes To Assange

The propagandists have all gone dead silent on the WikiLeaks founder they previously were smearing with relentless viciousness, because they no longer have an argument. The facts are all in, and yes, it turns out the US government is certainly and undeniably working to exploit legal loopholes to imprison a journalist for exposing its war crimes. That is happening, and there is no justifying it... More>>

Gail Duncan: Reframing Welfare Report

Michael Joseph Savage, the architect of the 1938 Social Security Act, wouldn’t recognise today’s Social Security Act as having anything to do with the kind, cooperative, caring society he envisioned 80 years ago. Instead society in 2020 has been reduced ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>


  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog