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‘Oil Fuels War’: Greenpeace Campaigners Block Russian Tanker in Norway

‘Oil Fuels War’: Greenpeace Campaigners Block Russian Tanker in Norway

“The fact that our government still allows the import of Russian fossil fuels in the current situation is unfathomable,” said one activist.

Campaigners with the international group Greenpeace risked arrest Monday when they blocked a Russian tanker from delivering 95,000 tons of fuel near Oslo, Norway, calling for a ban on tthe import of fossil fuels from the country that is waging war in Ukraine.

Several of the climate advocates unfurled banners reading “Oil fuels war” and “Stop fueling the war” as others pulled a small boat up to the tanker and chained themselves to the vessel, which was leased by Russian oil company Novatek.

The Ust Luga tanker was on its way to deliver $116 million worth of jet kerosene to the Slagentangen oil port controlled by Esso, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil.

“Oil is not only at the root of the climate crisis, but also of wars and conflicts,” said Frode Pleym, head of Greenpeace Norway, which organized the action. “I am shocked that Norway operates as a free port for Russian oil, which we know finances Putin’s warfare.”

Norwegian police said Monday that they had arrested 20 campaigners who staged the protest.

Greenpeace noted in a statement that Novatek’s largest shareholder is Leonid Mikhelson, a Russian oligarch with close ties to President Vladimir Putin.

“Putin’s sources of revenue must be dried out immediately and banning oil import is a very good place to start,” said Pleym. “We need to make this war stop.”

The protest came as Oleg Ustenko, an economic adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, condemned countries that are still importing gas and oil from Russia, accusing them of being complicit in war crimes.

If Russians are committing war crimes, even genocide, whoever is supplying Russia with this bloody money is guilty of the same war crime.

Oleg Ustenko

Russian forces in recent weeks have been accused of a “deliberate massacre” of civilians in the town of Bucha, of raping Ukrainian women before killing them, and of using cluster munitions on Ukrainian targets dozens of times, posing a risk of creating de facto landmines in civilian areas.

“During these two months of Russia’s war of aggression, we have seen horrific images and know the unimaginable suffering of the innocent civilian population of Ukraine,” said Pleym. “The fact that our government still allows the import of Russian fossil fuels in the current situation is unfathomable.”

European countries buy nearly three-quarters of Russia’s oil exports, and one-third of the country’s income is derived from oil.

Major importers of Russian oil in Europe include Germany, Italy, France, and Poland.


Julia Conley at Common Dreams

UN Declares David Attenborough a ‘Champion of the Earth’

UN Declares David Attenborough a ‘Champion of the Earth’

Sir David Attenborough is a beloved broadcaster who has spent more than half a century bringing the wonders of the natural world into the homes and hearts of viewers.

To celebrate his 70-year career, the UN Environment Programme awarded the 95-year-old with its Champions of the Earth Lifetime Achievement Award, the UN’s highest environmental honor. 

“Sir David Attenborough has devoted his life to documenting the love story between humans and nature, and broadcasting it to the world. If we stand a chance of averting climate and biodiversity breakdowns and cleaning up polluted ecosystems, it’s because millions of us fell in love with the planet that he showed us on television,” UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen said in a press release. “Sir David’s work will continue to inspire people of all ages to care for nature and to become the restoration generation.”

Attenborough made his television debut on December 21, 1954, in BBC’s Zoo Quest, the UN said. He went on to present several influential documentary series for the network. 1979’s Life on Earth tracked the natural history of the planet and was viewed by around 500 million people. More recently, his Blue Planet II shined a light on the problem of ocean plastic pollution. 

He has also spoken up for the environment off the air, appearing at important summits like the 2015 climate change conference that led to the Paris agreement. In the last four years, he has become particularly outspoken about the climate crisis and the need to combat it, BBC News noted. 

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This image, called 'Shelter from the Rain', was highly commended in the competition. Ashley McCord/Wildlife Photographer of the Year


A surprising encounter between an eagle and a bear cub up a tree and an image of two male golden pheasants were also among the other photographs that were popular with voters.

Skye Meaker began taking photos when he was just seven years old. A decade later, he was named Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.


If you were to ask a photographer the recipe for the perfect shot, you’ll likely get a list of ingredients that include time of day, lighting, framing and a dash of luck. South African wildlife photographer Skye Meaker sees things differently.

Attenborough remains optimistic that human beings can act in time to prevent the worst impacts of their activity. 

“The world has to get together. These problems cannot be solved by one nation – no matter how big that single nation is. We know what the problems are and we know how to solve them. All we lack is unified action,” Attenborough said on receiving the award, as the UN press release reported. “Fifty years ago, whales were on the very edge of extinction worldwide. Then people got together and now there are more whales in the sea than any living human being has ever seen. If we act together, we can solve these problems.”

Attenborough’s commitment to the planet has won him the admiration of the younger generation as well.

Thirteen-year-old Benjamin told BBC News that Attenborough had inspired him to pursue a career as a marine biologist. 

“I want to be able to have a family and I want them to live a nice world. But if we start trying very hard, we can save the natural world,” he said. 


Olivia Rosane at Ecowatch

Climate activist dies after setting himself on fire outside US Supreme Court on Earth Day

Climate activist dies after setting himself on fire outside US Supreme Court on Earth Day

A climate activist who lit himself on fire on Earth Day outside the United States Supreme Court Building has died, according to reports.

The climate activist was identified as Wynn Alan Bruce, 50, of Boulder, Colorado, a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) spokesperson told CNN.

Emergency medical crews were called to the Supreme Court around 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday, April 22.

Bruce was rushed by medical helicopter with critical injuries to a local hospital.

He died on Saturday the MPD said.

Supreme Court Police said that they were still investigating the man’s motive for self-immolation. No one else was injured in the incident.

On October 30, 2020, he shared a link to an online class on climate change offered by edX, a free online course platform created by Harvard and MIT.

Last April, he went back and posted 4-1-1, slang for ´guess what´, and the date of his death, 4/22/2022, along with a fire emoji.

A Buddhist priest from Boulder said she knew Bruce and called his death “an act of compassion.”

“This guy was my friend. He meditated with our sangha [Buddhist community],” Dr. K. Kritee wrote on Twitter.

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Traffic on Lambeth and Vauxhall bridges stopped in rally against jailing of Insulate Britain members


A record number of activists working to protect the environment and land rights were murdered last year, according to a report by a campaign group.

“This act is not suicide. This is a deeply fearless act of compassion to bring attention to climate crisis. We are piecing together info but he had been planning it for at least one year.”

The annual Earth Day was held on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection.

First held on April 22, 1970, it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EarthDay.org including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries.

The official theme for 2022 is Invest In Our Planet.

In Mr Bruce´s final facebook post on March 28, he warned: “This is not humor. IT is all about breathing. Clean air matters.”


Fergal MacErlean at EuroWeekly News

Serbia suspends lithium mine plans after protests

Serbia suspends lithium mine plans after protests

Local authorities in western Serbia on Thursday suspended a plan that would allow mining giant Rio Tinto to operate a lithium mine, following protests by environmentalists that shook the country’s populist leadership.

The mining had been expected to start in the near future, but a town council in Loznica voted to suspend a regional development plan that permitted the excavation of lithium. The vote followed the suspension last week of two key laws in Serbia’s parliament that ecologists said would help the multinational mining company start the project.

For three consecutive weekends, thousands of protesters in Belgrade and elsewhere in Serbia blocked main roads and bridges to oppose Rio Tinto’s plan to launch a $2.4 billion mining operation in Serbia. The protests were the biggest challenge yet to the increasingly autocratic rule of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

“Whether there will be a mine depends on people (in western Serbia) and the study on environmental impact assessment,” Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said. “These are the two conditions that the president (Vucic) stated earlier.”

Rio Tinto said in a statement Thursday that it worked in accordance with laws and the highest professional standards throughout its 10-year presence in Serbia in order to launch “the largest mining investment in this part of the world.”

“We understand the interest of citizens in everything that happens in connection with the project, and we will continue to provide information on all aspects of the project for which we are responsible and in which we participate,” the statement said, according to independent Beta news agency.

Although Rio Tinto said it would adhere to all the latest environmental protection standards, organizers of the weekend protests said the lithium excavation could inflict lasting ecological damage to rivers and farmland in the region.

Environmental protesters stand on the highway during a protest in Belgrade, Serbia, on Dec. 11, 2021. Serbia has suspended a plan that would allow mining giant Rio Tinto launch a lithium mine in the west of the country after protests by environmentalists which have shaken the country’s populist leadership. A local council of the town of Loznica in western Serbia, where the excavations were to start in the near future, voted on Thursday to suspend a regional development plan. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic, File)

Now that the lithium mine plans are on hold, Vucic said earlier this week that from now on “we will have to speak in a different way to Rio Tinto and others.”

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A few hundred meters from the huge furnaces of the Chinese-owned Smedrevo steel mill in central Serbia, the village of Radinac is covered in thick red dust. Cancer rates have quadrupled in under a decade, and residents want the plant to clean up or shut down.

Throughout its almost 150-year history, the company has faced accusations of corruption, environmental degradation and human rights abuses at its excavation sites.

Lithium, which is used in batteries for electric cars, is considered one of the most sought-after metals of the future as the world shifts to more renewable energy sources.

As Serbia faces an electricity shortage, Vucic has ignored European Union pleas for countries to reduce CO2 emissions and pledged to continue and even expand coal mining for power plants.

Environmentalists are upset at the Serbian government’s lack of response to rising pollution in the country.


Dusan Stojanovic via Associated Press

Rio Tinto lithium mine: thousands of protesters block roads across Serbia

Rio Tinto lithium mine: thousands of protesters block roads across Serbia

Crowds chanted slogans condemning government of Aleksandar Vučić, which backs planned Anglo-Australian $2.4bn mine

Thousands of demonstrators blocked major roads across Serbia on Saturday as anger swelled over a government-backed plan to allow mining company Rio Tinto to extract lithium.

In the capital, Belgrade, protesters swarmed a major highway and bridge linking the city to outlying suburbs as the crowd chanted anti-government slogans while some held signs criticising the mining project.

Smaller protests were held in other Serbian cities, with small scuffles between demonstrators and counter-protesters in Belgrade and the northern city of Novi Sad, according to local media reports.

“They allowed foreign companies to do whatever they want on our land. They put us on a platter for everyone who can just come and take whatever they want,” said Vladislava Cvoric, a 56-year-old economist, during the protest.

Protesters wave flares during a Belgrade demonstration against the government-backed proposal for a lithium mine.
Protesters wave flares during a Belgrade demonstration against the government-backed proposal for a lithium mine. Photograph: Zorana Jevtic/Reuters

Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic shared a photograph of the protest on Instagram and commented that “clean air, water and food are keys to health”.

“Without that, every word about ‘health’ is obsolete,” Djokovic said.

The protests followed similar demonstrations last week, during which masked men attacked one gathering in western Serbia’s Sabac – sparking outrage on social media and accusations the government was using hooligans to suppress the movement.

Substantial deposits of lithium – a key component for electric car batteries – have been found around the western town of Loznica, where the Anglo-Australian company is buying up land but is still awaiting the final green light from the state to begin mining.

Rio Tinto discovered lithium reserves in the Loznica region in 2006.

The company intends to invest $2.4bn (€2.12bn) in the project, according to Vesna Prodanovic, director of Rio Sava, Rio Tinto’s sister company in Serbia.

Critics have accused president Aleksandar Vučić’s government of setting the stage for illegal land appropriations and ignoring environmental concerns.

The demonstrations come months ahead of likely national elections in 2022, with critics of the protests accusing organisers of stirring controversy to undermine Vučić before the polls.


Agence France-Presse via The Guardian

South Africans protest against Shell oil exploration in pristine coastal area

South Africans protest against Shell oil exploration in pristine coastal area

South Africans took to their beaches on Sunday to protest against plans by Royal Dutch Shell to do seimsic oil exploration they say will threaten marine wildlife such as whales, dolphins, seals and penguins on a pristine coastal stretch.

A South African court on Friday struck down an application brought by environmentalists to stop the oil major exploring in the eastern seaboard’s Wild Coast, rejecting as unproven their argument that it would cause “irreparable harm” to the marine environment, especially migrating hump-back whales. read more

The Wild Coast is home of some of the country’s most undisturbed wildlife refuges, and it’s stunning coastal wildernesses are also a major tourist draw.

At least 1,000 demonstrators gathered on a beach near Port Edward, a Reuters TV correspondent saw.

“It’s just absolutely horrendous that they are even considering this. Look around you?” said demonstrator Kas Wilson, indicating an unspoilt stretch of beach. “It’s unacceptable and … we will stop it.”

Shell officials were not immediately available for comment, but the company said on Friday that its planned exploration has regulatory approval, and it will significantly contribute to South Africa’s energy security if resources are found.

But local people fear the seismic blasting conducted over 6,000 square kilometres will kill or scare away the fish they depend on to live.

“I don’t want them to operate here because if they do we won’t be able to catch fish,” said 62-year-old free dive fisherwoman Toloza Mzobe, after pulling a wild lobster from the ground. “What are we going to eat?”

Environmentalists are urging Shell and other oil companies to stop prospecting for oil, arguing that the world has no chance of reaching net zero carbon by 2050 if existing oil deposits are burned, let alone if new ones are found.

Earlier this year, a Dutch court ordered Shell to reduce its planet warming carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels, a decision it plans to appeal.

South Africa’s environment ministry referred Reuters to a statement late last month that “the Minister responsible for environmental affairs is … not mandated to consider the application or to make a decision on the authorisation of the seismic survey.”

South Africans protest against Shell oil exploration in pristine coastal area

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A protestor joins a demonstration against Royal Dutch Shell's plans to start seismic surveys to explore petroleum systems off the country's popular Wild Coast at Mzamba Beach, Sigidi, South Africa, December 5, 2021. REUTERS/Rogan Ward

What is seismic blasting?

The process involves blasting the seafloor with highly powered airguns at intervals, and then measuring the echoes, which helps map out oil and gas reserves.

The process can continue for weeks or months at a time. The sound of the blasts can travel for hundreds of kilometers.

Ecologists believe the exploration technique could upset the behavior of marine animals including their feeding, reproduction and migration patterns, especially animals like whales who depend on their sense of hearing.

Why are people protesting?

There are fears the prospecting activity will have a devastating impact on marine life.

The area Shell is planning to explore is known as the Wild Coast along the country’s eastern coastline. It’s a popular tourist area and environmental groups regard it as an ecologically sensitive marine sanctuary. 

“It’s just absolutely horrendous that they are even considering this. Look around you!” said demonstrator Kas Wilson. “It’s unacceptable and… we will stop it,” he said.

“Seismic blasting on the Wild Coast will not only destroy precious ecosystems but will also impact local communities, all in the name of profit,” Greenpeace Africa said in a tweet.

Local fishermen believe the prospecting will have an impact on their livelihoods. “I don’t want them to operate here because if they do we won’t be able to catch fish,” said fisherwoman Toloza Mzobe.

Shell says discoveries will be good for South Africa

However, Shell has said that its exploration had received regulatory approval and that its activity would contribute significantly to South Africa’s energy sector if resources were discovered.

The oil company plans to spend four to five months exploring in the region. Speaking to AFP in November, a company spokesman said: “We take great care to prevent or minimize impacts on fish, marine mammals and other wildlife.”

But environmentalist contend that there will be no chance of meeting net zero carbon emissions targets by 2050 if prospecting for new reserves is allowed to continue.


Siyabonga Sishi via Reuters

kb/jsi at DW News

Court hears Steven Donziger’s criminal appeal in Chevron saga

Court hears Steven Donziger’s criminal appeal in Chevron saga

A federal appeals court in Manhattan heard dueling arguments Tuesday over whether to throw out the criminal conviction of environmental lawyer Steven Donziger on constitutional grounds.

Donziger has been imprisoned since Oct. 27 for criminal contempt in connection with his long-running legal battle with Chevron Corp over oil pollution in Ecuador. His lawyers say the private attorneys appointed as special federal prosecutors in his contempt case lacked supervision by a higher U.S. authority, violating the Constitution’s Appointments Clause.

Arguing before a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Donziger’s lawyer Stephen Vladeck said Tuesday that because the special prosecutors acted as officers of the United States without proper supervision, the court must exercise its authority by reining them in.

“Whatever powers district courts still have to appoint a prosecutor to try criminal contempt, that power must be limited,” Vladeck said.

One of the special prosecutors, Rita Glavin, countered that “I do want to say for the record that at no point did we state that we were not under the supervision of the attorney general.”

Donziger, who was disbarred in New York last year, was charged in 2019 with failing to turn over his computer and other electronic devices in the Chevron pollution case. In that case, a Manhattan judge in 2014 barred enforcement in the United States of a $9.5 billion judgment that Donziger won against Chevron in Ecuador, finding it was secured through bribery, fraud and extortion.

A federal judge in Manhattan appointed the special prosecutors after the Department of Justice declined a court referral to prosecute him.

During Tuesday’s arguments, U.S. Circuit Judge Steven Menashi asked Glavin, “if the policy of the United States was they don’t want Mr. Donziger prosecuted, you would abide by that policy?”

“If they directed me to take that position in court, yes,” Glavin responded, adding later that she was subject to “a mix of judicial and executive supervision.”

Justice Department attorney Robert Parker told the panel that the special prosecutors were not acting as officers of the United States to begin with, undercutting Donziger’s Appointments Clause argument.

Donziger, meanwhile, has continued to generate support outside the courtroom. On Monday, nine members of Congress sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland asking his office to “rectify the unprecedented and unjust imprisonment of Mr. Donziger.”

The case is United States v. Donziger, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 21-2486.


Sebastien Malo via Reuters

Climate protesters block London bridges after activists jailed

Climate protesters block London bridges after activists jailed

Traffic on Lambeth and Vauxhall bridges stopped in rally against jailing of Insulate Britain members

Police have arrested 30 climate activists after a major bridge in central London was blocked by a sit-down protest.

The arrests on Lambeth Bridge came after Public Order Act conditions were imposed on the protest, which had been held in support of nine Insulate Britain campaigners who were jailed this week.

The bridge had been shut to traffic for a number of hours on Saturday by the sit-in, which initially involved up to 250 people who had marched from the Royal Courts of Justice.

Referring to Public Order Act conditions imposed on the protest, the Metropolitan police said: “Lambeth Bridge has now been reopened, 30 arrests were made for breach of S14 conditions.”

The force also said that Vauxhall Cross, where some of the demonstrators had moved, had reopened.

Earlier, climate protesters blocked the two London bridges as part of a demonstration against the jailing of nine Insulate Britain activists.

Members of the group were sentenced this week after breaching a court injunction in place to stop further road blockades that have caused serious disruption for motorists since September.

Campaigners stopped traffic on Lambeth Bridge, which crosses the Thames between Westminster and Lambeth, just after 2.10pm on Saturday. A sit-down protest forced police to divert traffic to other routes.

Supporters of the nine jailed Insulate Britain climate activists blocking Lambeth Bridge in central London
Supporters of the nine jailed Insulate Britain climate activists blocking Lambeth Bridge in central London on Saturday 20 November. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Earlier on Saturday evening, the Met imposed public order conditions on the protest and urged the remaining protesters to leave. Four of the protesters had glued themselves together.

The public order notice said the group have “no identified organiser” and “warm clothing, food, seats” and if they fail to leave, could face arrest.

An offshoot protest also blocked Vauxhall Bridge, the next bridge upriver.

Gabriella Ditton, 27, who was taking part in the demonstration at Lambeth Bridge said she believed she would end up in jail for taking part in the protests. She has been arrested six times with the campaign group, once for breaking the injunction.

“I have known for a couple of years that the only thing that is going to serve us is civil resistance. I have faith in people coming together.

“Solutions to this crisis exist, we just need the political will to do it.”

Gabriella Ditton.
Gabriella Ditton: ‘The only thing that is going to serve us is civil resistance.’ Photograph: Helen William/PA

Zoe Cohen, 51, who had travelled from Warrington in north-west England to take part, said: “I am angry, distraught and grieving for the huge amount of nature that we have already lost.”

She added that “ordinary people should not have to do this and risk prison”.

Any disruption is microscopic to the suffering of millions of people who are dying now across the world due to this crisis.”

Insulate Britain said it was not involved with setting up the event, which began after more than 200 supporters of the imprisoned activists gathered outside the Royal Courts of Justice in the afternoon.

One campaigner, Gully, told the crowd: “Make no mistake, these are political prisoners and they will not be the last.”

The group then walked from the courts to Westminster, chanting “power to the people”.

Insulate Britain began a wave of protests in September and blocked the M25, other roads in London, Birmingham and Manchester, and near the port of Dover in Kent.

The nine protesters were sentenced at the high court on Wednesday after admitting breaching an injunction by taking part in a blockade of the M25 during the morning rush hour on 8 October.


Harry Taylor at The Guardian