Kirklees Campaign Against Climate Change offers sincere thanks for the support and collaboration of the many individuals, groups and organisations (local, regional, national and – occasionally – international!) with which it has worked on these wide-ranging campaigns.
Resources from past campaigns are available on Useful resources.
- screening of “This Changes Everything” with a post-film discussion “What next after the Paris Agreement?” discussion,
- attending the Drax Extreme Energy Gathering in Leeds,
- joining Neil Young’s Village at his gig in Leeds AND
- working with other activists to organise an #Axe Drax Protest at Drax Power Station which, in marking ten years after the first Climate Camp at Drax, celebrated campaign victories along with the on-going legacy of the first Climate Camp.
(Search: ECO*-nomy2016 for campaign news stories)
During 2016, in the year leading up to the ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement, we campaigned for a major expansion in the green economy by developing renewable energy, energy-efficient buildings and public transport.
A key thread throughout the year was raising awareness of the ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ campaign (based on the third edition of the ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ report produced by the Campaign against Climate Change Trade Union group in 2013).
Throughout the year, we spread the word with our ‘One Million Climate Jobs NOW!’ banner, green boiler suits and hard-hats, flyers and sales of copies of the report. The ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ message was taken to the Northern Rail Rally in Manchester, the Leeds TUC May Day Rally (with the sister message ‘Save UK Steel to Build a Green Economy’), the Rally for Ryedale, the National Anti-Austerity Demonstration on the eve of the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham and the #UnitedAgainstFracking demonstration in Manchester.
We contrasted the positive, hopeful programme set out in the ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ report with the attacks on the green economy initiated by the UK government in the July 2015 Emergency Budget and in no way reversed by Theresa May since July 2016. Actions included:
- a joint letter to Conservative MP Jason McCartney voicing constituents’ concern about government climate policy,
- co-organising the ‘Forwards Not Backwards on Climate!’ march in Leeds as part of a weekend of national action supported by the Campaign Against Climate Change,
- a “Red lines” vigil in Huddersfield highlighting the latest climate science and climate impacts whilst contrasting the government’s backtracking on climate policy with other countries’ positive steps towards the clean energy future AND
- a festive piece of street theatre around Huddersfield town centre connecting the climate threat to Santa’s home, the North Pole, to the Government’s backtracking on climate change.
Alongside these actions, we successfully campaigned for Conservative MP Jason McCartney to call on the Government to approve the Committee on Climate Change’s Fifth Carbon Budget and call for the Government to publish a Low Carbon Investment Plan.
Keep them in the ground 2016
(Search: Keep*in*ground2016 for campaign news stories)
Our Keep them in the Ground campaign focused on supporting the anti-fracking movement, opposing coal and opposition both to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).
Building on our ‘TTIP Free Kirklees’ campaign launched in September 2015, we continued to highlight the dangers of TTIP to environment, local democracy and national sovereignty and call for Kirklees councillors to pass a ‘TTIP Free Zone’ motion (something that had already been done by thirty-four councils nationwide).
In the first half of the year, we collected signatures (with the support of the Global Justice Now e-petition), held a stunt, publicised councillors’ positions, spoke at Huddersfield TUC, ran a stall at the Kirklees UNISON AGM, screened a TTIP film at Huddersfield University Unison and UCU Film Night, lobbied Council Meetings and gave a deputation speech to the council.
We were grateful to the Green Party on Kirklees Council for tabling a motion in Spring. Unfortunately, the motion was timed-out and then was not re-tabled in light of the Referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union. Despite this ending, the ‘TTIP Free Kirklees’ campaign provided positive opportunities to explore the links between trade, local democracy, national sovereignty and the environment and helped us to strengthen links with social justice activists and trade unionists in Kirklees.
Parallel to local campaigning, we continued to work with activists across the region through the Yorkshire and Humber Network against TTIP. Projects included letter-writing to MEPs and meeting a Labour MEP. Following the June referendum, the network switched its focus on to campaigning against the 2017 ratification of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the EU, more recently under its new name ‘Yorkshire Network for Democratic Trade’.
In 2016, we opposed coal. In July, Northumberland County Council approved an application for an opencast coal mine at Druridge Bay. We contacted our local MP and supported others with resources to contact their MPs to ask them to urge the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to call in the decision. In September, after local and national campaigns, the decision was called in.
In our Keep them in the ground film night and fundraiser, we celebrated this success for the community of Druridge Bay and raised awareness of the environmental and human rights impacts of coal mining in Russia (source of 31% of the coal burned in UK power stations).
We worked with activists from across the country to organise an #Axe Drax Protest at Drax Power Station. Ten years after the first Climate Camp at Drax in 2006, the peaceful protest against the power station’s burning of coal (6 million tonnes per annum) and wood (see Natural Health Service below) reflected on continuing challenges for the climate justice movement and a liveable climate.
A key thread throughout 2016 was our on-going support for anti-fracking campaigns. Actions included: attending Upton community protection camp’s solidarity day, stunts at the Rally for Ryedale in Northallerton as North Yorkshire County Council met to decide on Third Energy’s plans to frack at Kirby Misperton, developing anti-fracking trade union motions, joining the anti-fracking bloc at the National Anti-Austerity Demonstration in Birmingham and stunts outside the Shale and Gas Summit and at the #UnitedAgainstFracking demonstration in Manchester.
We ended a frack-free 2016 with carol-singing outside Barclays Bank (who are funding Third Energy’s plans for fracking in North Yorkshire) with the message, “Don’t cross the red line on Climate Change! Frack-free Yorkshire! Frack-free everywhere!”
Natural Health Service 2016
(Search: Natural*Health for campaign news stories)
There are two major threats to our stable climate: carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels and the degradation and loss of ecosystems such as forests, peat lands, oceans and soils.
The services to humanity provided by these ecosystems – in providing oxygen, supplying us with food, locking in carbon dioxide and enhancing the water cycle – are virtually priceless.
In 2016 we worked on two projects to protect and restore our Natural Health Service.
As part of the Climate Coalition’s ‘Speak Up’ Week of Action in October, we organised a ‘Nature and Clean Energy Walk’ around Holmfirth and lobbied our local MP Jason McCartney to promote the campaign asks which included ‘Let’s be a world leader in environmental protection’. The walk included opportunities to consider the impacts of climate change on native flora and fauna, biodiversity, peat moorlands and their role in flood prevention and the important role farmers play in promoting nature – something that needs to be given even greater priority as we leave the European Union. In the weeks after the Week of Action, Jason McCartney signed up to the Pledge for the Environment to do everything that he can to ensure that to UK is a leader in wildlife and nature protection, publishes low carbon investment plans and creates a richer countryside.
In conjunction with our Keep them in the ground campaign, we worked with biomass activists and other climate campaigners to raise awareness of and protest against the threats posed by biomass-powered electricity in the UK. We worked with activists from across the country to organise the #Axe Drax Protest at Drax Power Station. At the protest, as part of the ‘Drax greenwash brigade’ stunt, we raised awareness of how Drax’s operations (burning 12 million tonnes of wood – more wood than any other power station in the world and 1 million tonnes more than the UK produces in total every year) cause climate change, forest destruction and human rights abuses.
The Road through Paris (Sep 2015-Jan 2016)
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Our Road through Paris campaign recognised the importance of the UN Climate Talks in Paris in December 2015 and the critical role of civil society in demanding a climate deal in line with the imperatives of science and justice.
In November, we held a stimulating and challenging ‘Climate Justice Paris’ public meeting with Paul Routledge (University of Leeds’s School of Geography) and Asad Rehman (Head of International Climate at Friends of the Earth) as a call-to-arms for collective action in London and Paris.
With fliering in Huddersfield town centre and a BP garage protest against fossil fuel lobbying, we raised local awareness of the climate talks.
On the eve of the COP 21 UN climate talks, we joined – together with over a dozen other Kirklees residents – over 50,000 others on the March for Climate, Justice and Jobs in London to send a message to our government and world leaders that the world could not afford another climate conference failure.
At the close of talks, we joined thousands of protesters in Paris to defy the state of emergency to have the final word on climate action and call for ‘Climat. Justice. Paix.’ in the streets. On an uplifting day, we took part in several D12 actions across Paris. Throughout the day we displayed the Kirklees Tricolore – a French flag carrying the names of 50 Kirklees residents who supported the demands of the London march.
In the New Year, we reflected on the Paris Agreement and the next steps for the Climate Movement with ‘post-Paris’ discussions and a screening of Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis’ s film ‘This Changes Everything’.
Economy (Oct 2014-Dec 2015)
(Search: ECO*-nomy for campaign news stories)
In our ECO-nomy campaign, we connected with social justice organisations to show that a green future is one that works – creating jobs, improved health and a fairer society.
Actions included fliering outside Huddersfield train station to protest against New Year train fare rises and – on the 21st anniversary of the decree to privatise the rail service – calling for returning the railways to public ownership.
Our rail tour raised awareness of and supported opposition to the proposals (including fare rises and service cuts) outlined in the government consultation for the Northern and TransPennine Express rail franchises. Comments collected from Colne Valley and Dewsbury constituents were used to draft an open letter to each of these local MPs.
We marked Cold Homes Week in February with street theatre stunts in Huddersfield. These stunts raised awareness of fuel poverty and introduced the public to the ‘Energy Bill of Rights’ (Fuel Poverty Action), calling for energy to be affordable, clean and publicly or community owned.
In the run-up to the UK General Election, we prepared a number of questions related to climate change and the environment for constituents. We published the responses of the six prospective parliament candidates for the Colne Valley constituency to questions on aviation, fracking, onshore wind, rail travel and the roads programme.
These specific campaigns were framed in the broader political context of anti-austerity. We held a public meeting to explore ways to make the economy work for people and planet. The “This Changes Everything” summer film festival made the link between anti-austerity and climate action.
We attended six marches and rallies in London, Leeds and Manchester to oppose the government’s austerity policies – making the most vulnerable pay for the financial crisis – and bring the message of ‘One Million Climate Jobs’, a message of hope for the economy and the planet. This included a popular Cameron/ Osborne “green crap” stunt on the eve of the Conservative Government’s Party Conference.
Keep them in the Ground (Oct 2014-Dec 2015)
(Search: Keep*in*ground for campaign news stories)
Our Keep them in the ground campaign focused on supporting the anti-fracking movement and opposition to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) trade deal.
We worked locally and regionally on raising awareness of and mobilising opposition to TTIP to support lobbying of MEPs, MPs and local councillors.
We delivered a presentation to Huddersfield TUC. To promote the European Citizen’s Initiative calling for an end to TTIP negotiations, we joined health and social justice campaigners on several street stalls including the Global Day of Action against TTIP – the local action being one of more than 700 actions across the world to protest against a new generation of neoliberal trade agreements that are threatening to undermine democracy.
In January, we had a constructive meeting with Jason McCartney to express our concerns about TTIP and to ask him to support the European Citizen’s Initiative.
In Spring we helped to facilitate the first meeting of the Yorkshire and Humber Network Against TTIP, bringing together activists from Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield, Hull, Sheffield, Wakefield and York.
We attended a presentation by Labour MEP Linda McAvan, had a constructive meeting with Labour MEP Richard Corbett in the run-up to a European Parliament vote on TTIP and lobbied all 6 Yorkshire and Humber MEPs by letter.
In September, we launched our ‘TTIP Free Kirklees’ petition to build pressure on local councillors to resist TTIP’s attack on local democracy and join other councils in passing a ‘TTIP Free Town’ resolution.
We had a thought-provoking and inspiring evening at “The Deal Versus The People”, a play presented by West Yorkshire Playhouse and Common Wealth, exploring responses to TTIP. Before the play, we handed out information leaflets as people arrived at City Hall, Bradford.
We showed solidarity with communities and groups on the front-line of fracking. On Global Frackdown Day we made the link between Big Finance and fracking with a stunt at the Huddersfield branch of HSBC – “the fracker’s bank”. Other actions included attending Frack Free Ryedale’s demonstration against fracking in North Yorkshire and helping set up the Reclaim the Power protest camp at Didcot in Oxfordshire.
We successfully lobbied by letter local MPs Jason McCartney and Mike Wood who were among the 52 MPs who supported the amendment in the Infrastructure Bill, calling for a moratorium on fracking in January.
Keep the UK frack-free (Dec 2013 – Sep 2014)
(Search: Frack*free for campaign news stories)
Our anti-fracking campaign focused on:
– building local awareness of and opposition to fracking,
– lobbying Kirklees Council to develop a policy to reject planning applications for exploration and extraction of shale gas and coal bed methane.
– shining the spotlight on the high-street banks financing fracking in its infancy.
– supporting anti-fracking protest camps and grassroots organisations in the North.
Locally, we ran stalls and stunts to collect Friends of Earth postcards to the Leader of the Council and signatures for Stop Climate Chaos’s petition to the Prime Minister. We lobbied councillors, sent a delegation to Kirklees Council to successfully support the Green Party group’s fracking motion and submitted comments for the new Local Plan.
On the regional level, we attended solidarity days at Barton Moss (Salford) protest camp and joined the UK’s largest march and rally against fracking.
Tipping points (Sep 2013- Sep 2014)
(Search: Tipping*point for campaign news stories)
Our Tipping points campaign put the spotlight on the latest climate science and climate impacts. It began in September 2013 with our second Arctic vigil which coincided with the release of the first part of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (The Physical Science Basis).
In November we held a vigil in solidarity with the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan.
A workshop on the 9 planetary boundaries put climate change in the wider context of 9 ecological limits, three of which (including climate change) have already been crossed.
From the Fifth Assessment Report and other organisations’ reports, we distilled 8 key statements on climate science and climate action in our Tipping Point Declaration. This began as a local campaign in January 2014. We collected signatures from residents of Kirklees and sent them to our elected representatives. We lobbied all four Kirklees MPs. Barry Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield, and Mike Wood, MP for Batley and Spen, both became signatories. Councillors were also invited to publically support the declaration.
In April, the Tipping Point Declaration went “national” with 78 environmental groups and organisations from across the UK co-signing. This national version of the declaration was sent to key figures from the worlds of politics, finance and industry.
We supported the Climate Coalition’s “For the love of…” campaign, choosing to highlight the importance of local peat moors as carbon sinks.
Locals had a further opportunity to develop their understanding of climate science, climate impacts and possible links to extreme weather in a talk by Edward Hanna, Professor of Climate Change (Sheffield University).
The Tipping point campaign closed with a vigil for the climate in Huddersfield, in solidarity with the Global People’s Climate March – the largest mobilisation on climate change the world has seen.
Carbon capital/ Fossil free (June 2013- Sep 2014)
(Search: Carbon*capital for campaign news stories)
Our Carbon capital/ Fossil free campaign explored the links between finance and the fossil fuel industry. We worked locally to support “asks” from a range of national groups’ campaigns (including World Development Movement, 350.org and Shareaction), calling for transparent reporting of fossil fuel investments, divestment from dirty energy and investment in green energy.
Activities included a workshop on the links between government, finance and the fossil fuel industry, Freedom of information requests to the University of Huddersfield and Kirklees Council, a screening of 350.org’s “Do the math” film at the Students’ Union, lobbying the West Yorkshire Pension Fund and letters to Kirklees MPs on energy policy and carbon reporting.
Throughout the campaign we shone the spotlight on each of the “big 5” high-street banks in turn. Combined stalls and stunts highlighted each bank’s role in bankrolling climate change.
Energy Emergency Campaign (February 2013 – June 2013)
Our overriding focus for this period was to continue campaigning on the Energy Bill and the critical need for it to include a clear target for the electricity supply to be virtually carbon-free by 2030.
Our specific aim was to lobby local MPs (in particular, Jason McCartney, MP for the Colne Valley) to “walk the walk” on climate change and support Tim Yeo’s “green jobs” amendment to the Energy Bill.Our campaign included stalls, a workshop for Holmfirth Transition Town, a meeting with Jason McCartney at which we handed over an eight metre ‘footprint petition’, a vigil, development of a pack to support other groups in running a vigil, a final open letter to Jason McCartney and a “Clean British Energy 2030 RIP?” stunt on the eve of the vote on the amendment on 4 June 2013.
All this work paid off with Jason McCartney voting to support the clean energy amendment. The bad news was that the ‘clean energy’ rebels lost by 23 votes. However, national campaigners felt that the momentum that had been built would create the opportunity for changes to be made in the House of Lords.Whilst the lion’s share of our time was focused on the Energy Bill, we also found time during Fairtrade Fortnight to run a workshop on ‘The Energy Emergency and the developing world’ and in May supported “Camp Frack 2” in West Lancashire.
Energy Justice Campaign (September 2012 – January 2013)
This campaign covered a range of interconnected and overlapping issues: the science of climate change, energy security/ national energy policy, fuel poverty, climate jobs, local green enterprise and extreme energy.We raised local people’s awareness of these issues and gave them opportunities to take part in related letter and postcard actions.In September 2012, scientists recorded the lowest ever extent of Arctic sea ice. We began our campaign with an Arctic vigil to bear witness to this first large-scale unmistakable impact of climate change.
In November, we began to lobby Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney to support an amendment to the Energy Bill to include a clear target to decarbonise the electricity supply by 2030.
An ‘Energy We Can All Afford?’ public meeting in January offered further opportunity to discuss the Energy Bill and fuel poverty. Forty people turned out to listen to some interesting and complementary speakers and to engage with the Warmer Homes information and materials from the MASTT team.
The Energy Justice campaign ended with a stall and “die-in” stunt to raise public awareness of fuel poverty and urge Jason McCartney to support the Energy Bill Revolution alliance’s call to use carbon taxes to make British homes super energy-efficient.
One Million Climate Jobs campaign 2012
Through the first part of 2012 we supported the ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ campaign. This campaign supports the findings of the ‘One Million Climate Jobs’ report, sponsored by the PCS, TSSA and CWU unions. We collected signatures for the petition, contributed to the workshops at the Luddites 200 festival and made links with the local TUC. The campaign culminated in our hosting events when the Caravan for One Million Climate Jobs came through Huddersfield in May. John Stewart, Co-ordinator of the HCAN coalition against the expansion of Heathrow and contributor to the report spoke at our events. We were pleased to collaborate with MASTT for our out door event in Slaithwaite and hosted a ‘Question Time’ style event where local politicians responded to the agenda set by the report.
Climate Emergency/ Zero Carbon Britain 2011
In 2011 we promoted both the Zero Carbon Britain 2030report and the Climate Emergency Campaign in a Zero Carbon Tour of Kirklees. The Zero Carbon Britain 2030 report was produced by the Centre for Alternative Technology and demonstrates how Britain could achieve radical emissions cuts in two decades. The Climate Emergency campaign proposes clear government steps that could be taken to achieve substantial cuts.
There have been a number of ‘Climate Emergency’ Early Day Motions in parliament.
On our bicycle tour of Kirklees we lobbied three of Kirklees’ four MPs to support Early Day motion 853 as well as making links with and recognising local projects that are making small steps towards zero carbon Britian. We were delighted that Mike Wood MP became a signatory of EDM 853. This EDM has been retabled as EDM 303.
On a number of occasions we have supported 350.org, an international organisation which highlights the need to reduce carbon dioxide levels to below 350 parts per million. (It is currently around 395 ppm). In October 2010 we created an installation in Huddersfield library called ‘Three hundred and fifty messages in bottles’. We installed three hundred and fifty recycled plastic bottles, each with messages about climate change. The messages included statistics, images, statements by those affected by climate change and even materials such as coal, used batteries, public transport tickets and insulation material.