The COP 28 Climate Conference and the Natural World

As Sir David Attenborough has shown us, we are facing a Nature crisis. We depend on Nature for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and the medicines we take. And perhaps more importantly Nature supports our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. But nature is in trouble like never before, and the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. This Nature crisis is being caused by the climate crisis along with ever-growing consumption.

9th December is ‘nature day’ at COP 28, and governments will be discussing a range of topics including protecting biodiversity, financing nature projects, landscape restoration, and nature-based climate solutions. While we hope they will make progress on all these issues, we all have a part to play too.

Read more about COP 28 here: The COP 28 Climate Conference – Why Does It Matter?

WILL YOU GIVE THE NATURAL WORLD A GIFT THIS CHRISTMAS?

There are lots of things we can all do to make a difference, from small, practical actions to joining a conservation project or taking part in political campaigning.  Will you commit to one of these actions, as a Christmas gift to the natural world?

Small individual actions

  • Cut a hole in your garden fence to let hedgehogs through.
  • Leave a patch of your lawn un-mown next summer.
  • Make an insect hotel.
  • Switch to using Ecosia as your internet browser.
  • Plant some bee and butterfly friendly flowers.
  • Create a birdfeeder – and use seeds, not bread to feed the ducks!
  • Take a litter picker gloves and rubbish bag out on a walk.
  • Start composting at home and reduce fertiliser use in your garden. 
  • Plant a tree.
  • Go for a Christmas nature walk alone or with your family.

Local / practical actions (e.g. conservation volunteering, citizen science)

Political action

The COP 28 Climate Conference – Why Does It Matter?

“Every day of inaction is a day wasted and our vulnerability increases, exposing us to devastating impacts of climate change.”

Gloria, Extinction Rebellion Nigeria

COP 28 is the global climate change conference taking place now in Dubai. This year a global ‘stocktake’ has measured the progress made since the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.  The world’s scientists say we are not on target and more action is needed.

WHAT DO WE NEED FROM THE COP?

1. No new Fossil Fuels

To keep global temperature within safe limits we need an agreement to slash fossil fuel emissions by 2030. This means:

  • NO NEW OIL OR GAS. Experts, including the International Energy Agency, agree we cannot afford ANY new fossil fuel projects – see this article in Carbon Brief for details.
  • NO TO EACOP (a planned oil pipeline crossing Uganda and Tanzania which would generate over 34m tons of CO2 annually and risk vital water sources for 40m people). There is more information about EACOP here.
  • NO TO ROSEBANK (the biggest oilfield in the North Sea, just approved by the UK government, contrary to all expert advice).  You can find out more about the Rosebank oilfield and the campaign against it here.

2. A fair deal for poorer countries

Poorer countries of the global South have done the least to cause climate breakdown but are experiencing the worst impacts – for example the worst drought in 40 years in East Africa.

This drought is slowly killing everything, first it ‘swept away’ the land and the pastures; then it ‘swept away’ the animals. Soon, it is going to ‘sweep away’ people.”

Mahmoud, Somaliland

Rich countries, including the UK, owe the Global South ‘Climate Debt’ for the greenhouse gases we have emitted over many decades and the climate chaos this has caused. This debt has been estimated at $7.9 trillion per year.

At present, however, money is flowing the other way, as the global South makes loan repayments to the global North of at least $122 billion per year.

Rich countries must repay their climate debt to the Global South. This should take the form of grants, not loans, to enable the global South to adapt, deal with climate catastrophes, and make a fair transition to net zero.

For more information on how these calculations of climate debt were reached, see this article in Nature Sustainability.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

  1. Take action to stop Rosebank (including signing a petition) here.
  2. Take action to oppose the EACOP pipeline here.
  3. Use your vote: pledge to vote with the climate in mind by becoming a Greenpeace Climate Voter. You can sign up here.
  4. Join XR Oxford
  5. Join another campaigning group – e.g. Friends of the Earth or Possible.

A good way to find out more about the climate crisis, and possible solutions, is to watch these programmes shown on Channel 4:

Act Together!

On March 1st XR Oxford hosted a Community Talk as part of our mobilisation efforts for The Big One on 21st – 24th April. 

 We were joined by Roman Krznaric, philosopher and author of The Good Ancestor, who spoke about the importance of leaving good legacies for future generations. He pointed to the “fierce urgency of the now”, marked by the slow violence of rising temperatures and sea levels and declining water tables. At this time of social and economic injustice, so strongly linked to the climate and ecological emergency, we need to understand what our relationship to the future is. And while acknowledging that millions struggle today with the immediate consequences of climate devastation, particularly in the global south, we must also grasp the scale of the injustice that faces the tens of billions of people who are yet to be born. 

Roman outlined the enormity of the challenges we face. If we are to stay below 1.5ºC of warming, we will need to reduce carbon emissions by 10% every year until 2040. In 2020, when Covid struck and global economies stood still, emissions declined by 6.4%. He urged us to be good ancestors, good citizens, by showing up with him on 21st April to demand better from our short-termist government.

There were two disturbances during Roman’s talk, when the flow was interrupted by climate deniers and conspiracy theorists claiming that climate change is not real. Abha, a local activist, expressed her regret that they were not there to hear her about how climate change is already destroying communities across the global South. In the Hasdeo Arand forest in the Indian state of Chattisgarh, indigenous communities are fighting the coal mining giants that have been licenced unlawfully, without their consent, and destroying their lands and livelihoods. In October last year, floods resulting from heavy monsoon rains and an intense heatwave in Pakistan submerged over 1/3rd of the land, killing over a thousand people and displacing millions.

Christian, another local activist, also spoke movingly about his own realisation that we are failing our children if we do not leave them a planet to thrive on. 

For all three of the speakers, hope comes from our ability to act together in the face of the climate and ecological emergency. We can all be good ancestors and now is a moment in history when we need to step up to that responsibility. 

The talk was very well attended: about 90 people came; a good mix of experienced activists and new ones, many of whom signed up to come to London in April.

Watch the whole talk here:

Join us on April 9th

We hope you will join us as we go down to London together for the Rebellion starting on April 9th. We know that we need to act now. The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) pulls no punches. Any further delay “will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all“. This is the moment. Please don’t be a bystander.

Over the next few weeks, we are upping our game in Oxford so that we can get as many people as possible engaged, prepared, and down to London for the Rebellion on April 9th. There is something for everyone to do, whether you are a seasoned rebel or dipping your toe in for the first time.

If you can’t get to London, there are many ways to support the Rebellion from home. And in the next few weeks we are looking for people to deliver leaflets in their streets, talk to local people at stalls, and build up an awareness of the Rebellion and why it matters.

We have local groups across the city. New rebels are taking their first actions with us every week. 2022 is the year to join them. Contact us here.

Change Is Now

UPDATE – New sessionS added!

We know the gravity of the climate and ecological emergency, and we all want to do something about it. Come and talk to other local people who feel the same, and want to act in 2022 to turn things around.

All of these sessions will have the same content, so pick whichever is most convenient for you.

Tuesday June 14th, 7–9pm

Florence Park Community Centre, Oxford, OX4 3NH

Wednesday March 2nd, 7pm-9pm

New Road Baptist Church, Bonn Square, Oxford, OX1 1LQ

Sunday March 6th, 3PM-5PM

St Columba’s United Reformed Church, Alfred Street, Oxford, OX1 4EH

Wednesday March 30th, 7PM-9PM

Headington Quarry Village Hall, Quarry Road, Oxford, OX3 8NX

Two days until Oxford’s biggest ever Climate March!

We’re getting excited for Saturday’s march! Climate groups from around Oxford, including Extinction Rebellion, Friends of the Earth, the Green Party, Low Carbon Oxford, and many more will be coming together to send a loud message to global leaders that they must make meaningful changes at COP26.

At 1pm on Saturday 6 November, people of Oxfordshire will be on the march. The main march will assemble at Manzil Way, Cowley Road (setting off at 1:30pm), and finish in a rally on Broad Street.

If you can’t make it to the main march, there will also be feeder marches linking up from elsewhere:

  • North Oxford: Summertown (outside the Co-op), starting at 1:30pm
  • West Oxford: Botley, Elms Parade, starting at 1:10pm, passing West Oxford Community Association at 1:40pm and the train station at 2:00pm

The marches are timed to arrive in Broad Street at 2.30pm, where the rally will hear speakers including both Oxford MPs, the Bishop of Oxford, and the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire.

This an inclusive event – bring as many friends and family as you can, along with your best banners and placards. There are some great ideas for messages here.

Other events

A reminder that we’re running COP26 outreach daily from 12-2pm on Cornmarket (except the 6th) until the 12th. On Friday 5th, we’ll be showcasing the 16 large photos used for the vigil earlier this week – extra hands welcome! Please email xroxfordactions@gmail.com if you are intending to come and hold a photo. Bring a chair or a cushion – it’s cold and hard on the ground!

We also have some regenerative events after all the action:

  • On Wednesday 10th November at 6:30pm in Common Ground, Little Clarendon St, Oxford, Oxfordshire poets will read their poems from Rebel Talk. Please sign up for a free ticket on Eventbrite.
    Rebel Talk is an anthology of climate crisis poems by people in Britain and several other countries; it is a fundraiser for Extinction Rebellion Oxford. It is sold for £10 at Extinction Rebellion and other climate campaign events, at independent bookshops, and will also be sold directly at Hive.co.uk.
  • Do you need to share your worries about the Climate? Low Carbon Oxford North are running the Climate Cafe. The next session will be Sunday November 14th from 4:00-5:30pm

In love and rage,

The XR Oxford Crew