How are you?
If you’ve been keeping up with the news and could use a mood boost right about now, this is the email for you.
It’s jam-packed with the details of four environmental victories from around the world — victories that, I believe, are signs of a changing tide.
For many of us, the latest report by the world’s top scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms what we’ve known about the consequences of climate inaction — only this time, described in greater detail, in greater depth and with greater certainty than ever before. The findings aren’t easy to read — and I want you to know that if you’re struggling to process them, you’re not alone.
But the future is far from fixed. We have real opportunities for action. And in writing this email, my hope is to remind you of the good being done by people like you around the world, and the power we have when we act together. As a Greenpeace supporter, you’re helping make victories like these possible. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Fossil fuel megaproject GNL Québec defeated!
This past March, just days before the Office of Public Hearings on the Environment (BAPE) submitted its conclusions to Premier Legault, the sun rose on six banners displaying communities’ opposition to GNL Québec.
Laura, it’s official.
Quebec Premier François Legault has decided to reject the biggest gas project ever proposed in the province’s history.
Designed as a three-in-one gas plant, marine export terminal, and pipeline project, GNL Québec would have threatened the survival of the endangered St. Lawrence beluga whale, emitted as much pollution as 15 million cars every year for 25 years, and further delayed the green energy transition. Now, no part of GNL Québec will see the light of day.
This win belongs to all of us, because it took an all-hands-on-deck effort. From petitions to polls, to record-breaking public consultation participation, people like you pulled out all the stops to show Legault how unpopular and disastrous GNL Québec would be. The movement grew to include over 120,000 petition signers, 648 scientists, 40 economists, over 60 civil society groups, 54 student associations representing nearly 360,000 students, three innuat communities, and eventually, all provincial opposition parties (representing 58% of Quebec voters). One devastating BAPE report later, and GNL Québec was defeated.
This is how we win, Laura. When people come together to insist #WeDeserveBetter than fossil fuel expansion in the midst of a climate emergency, we are powerful.
Greenland stops licensing oil and gas exploration
Ten years ago, the world’s biggest oil companies visited Copenhagen to attend a meeting with the Greenland Bureau of Minerals and Petroleum (BMP), where they were greeted by Greenpeace activists demanding an end to oil drilling in the Arctic’s fragile waters. Their sign reads “Protect the Arctic: No License to Drill”.
Last month, the Greenlandic government revealed its decision to stop granting new licenses for both onshore and offshore oil and gas exploration.
In doing so, Greenland joins Belize, France, Denmark, New Zealand and other places that have begun turning the page on oil drilling. Now, only four active licenses remain in Greenland, with all of them set to expire before 2030.
This victory comes after nearly a decade of Greenpeace campaigning for an end to drilling in the Arctic. From protesting Cairn Energy’s drilling off the coast of Greenland, to partaking in Greenland’s oil debates, to helping bring an Arctic oil case to the Supreme Court, Greenpeacers’ advocacy and campaigns set the stage for this win.
To quote the Greenlandic government: “The future does not lie in oil. The future belongs to renewable energy, and in that respect we have much more to gain.”
Africa’s largest tropical rainforest no longer up for grabs by oil extractors
The Salonga National Park is located in the peatland forests of the Congo River basin, which constitute one of the most carbon-rich tropical regions in the world and are estimated to store the equivalent of three years’ worth of total global fossil fuel emissions.
In mid-July, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) scrapped all oil concessions in the Salonga National Park, effectively taking Africa’s largest tropical rainforest off the market. For years, Greenpeace and our allies in the DRC have been campaigning for the full protection of both the Salonga and Virunga National Parks, calling on the government to close the door to oil companies seeking to destroy them for profit.
This is a huge win, not only for local communities who depend on the Salonga National Park, but also for people around the world. This vast forest plays a fundamental role in climate regulation and carbon sequestration, and it’s home to several endangered species like the bonobo, the forest elephant, the African slender-snouted crocodile, and the Congo peacock.
Taking this win in stride, Greenpeace Africa will continue to urge the DRC government to cancel all remaining oil blocks in the Virunga National Park.
Italy’s biggest insurer decides to ditch coal
In 2019, Greenpeace activists demonstrated outside the office where Generali Insurance’s Annual General Meeting was taking place. Their goal? To expose Generali for continuing to insure coal energy projects despite its public climate commitment.
In late June, Generali Insurance committed to ditching the vast majority of its coal sector investments in OECD countries by 2030, and non-OECD countries by 2040.
From Paris to Budapest, Greenpeace and our ally Re:Common carried out a four-year-long campaign to pressure Generali to stop supporting the European coal sector. Despite its 2018 climate commitments, Generali was still treating Europe’s largest coal users — Poland and the Czech Republic — as “exceptions” to its own rules.
The role of insurance companies in fossil fuel projects is tremendous: mines, power plants, oil and gas pipelines could not operate without insurance coverage. Generali is no exception, and with the growing calls for insurers to drop ties with fossil fuels, there will be more wins like this to come.
So there you have it, Laura: four environmental victories to brighten your day.
I know that in times like these, it can feel like we have to choose between staying informed and staying optimistic. But as environmental advocates, we’re at our best when we do both.
Take care Laura, and thank you for everything you do.
Executive Director, Greenpeace Canada
PS: You read until the end! Here is some worthwhile content I’d recommend checking out this month.
- This latest installment of our ‘Vital Ocean Voices’ series, which profiles a community group working together to restore mangroves. Super inspiring!
 http://www.collectif-scientifique-gaz-de-schiste.com/accueil/images/BAPE_M%C3%A9moire_Collectif_26_octobre_Version_finale_compressed.pdf (p.30, available exclusively in French)
 In an effort to respect Indigenous languages, Greenpeace Canada has decided to use the traditional plural form of the word “Innu” in Innu-aimun, “Innuat”.
|Which of these stories inspired you the most?|