Symphony of Science – Our Biggest Challenge

A musical investigation into the causes and effects of global climate change and our opportunities to use science to offset it. Featuring Bill Nye, David Attenborough, Richard Alley and Isaac Asimov. “Our Biggest Challenge” is the 16th episode of the Symphony of Science series by melodysheep. 

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The Crowd vs. Tarsands Mining in Canada

Beaver Lake Cree Nation is challenging the governments of Canada and Alberta for breaking their treaty promises by allowing 19,000 permits for mineral developments (mostly tar sands mining) on their territory. For more information, check here.

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OECD Guidelines: Banks must publish climate targets in line with Paris Climate Agreement

Published 25 April 2019; original press release 19 April 2019

The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises demand that ING Bank sets concrete climate goals for its financial services that are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. This is the final statement of the Dutch National Contact Point for OECD Guidelines following a complaint lodged against ING in May 2017 by Oxfam Novib, Greenpeace NL, BankTrack and Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie).

Peter Ras, senior policy advisor at Oxfam Novib: “We are happy about this well-considered decision by the National Contact Point making it clear that banks – in order to adhere to the OECD Guidelines – must draw up concrete climate goals for their financial services that are in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. This means that banks in the Netherlands and abroad will have to work hard on this. It’s also very good to see that the OECD Contact Point takes a clear position on climate goals for the first time.”

The four organisations that lodged this complaint are pleased that ING has now agreed to bring its portfolio in line with the Paris Agreement and that ING is prepared to publish interim goals. The NGOs urge ING to bring its lending portfolio in line with a maximum temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius as soon as possible. Remaining below 1.5 degrees of global warming makes all the difference to many inhabitants of island nations and deltas such as Bangladesh. To them, it is literally the difference between being able to continue to live in their homes or having to flee due to rising sea levels, according to the four NGOs.

Kees Kodde, campaigner at Greenpeace: “It is crucial that ING publishes its interim goals as soon as possible. The financial sector justifies loans to fossil fuel companies with IEA scenarios that are overly reliant on unproven technologies such as carbon capture and storage. A better approach would be to completely phase out all financing of fossil fuels as quickly as possible. In this respect, ING is setting the right example with coal.”

Johan Frijns, director at BankTrack: “We appreciate the fact that ING is prepared to finance the much-needed technology transition for a range of sectors with the largest impact on our climate. However, this approach does not offer a solution for the oil and gas industry, currently the main drivers of climate change, together with coal. ING must completely phase out its investments in oil and gas which were worth 25.5 billion dollars between 2015 and 2018.”[1]

In May 2017, Oxfam Novib, Greenpeace, BankTrack and Friends of the Earth NL lodged a complaint against ING at the National Contact Point for OECD Guidelines. They did so because they were concerned about the fact that ING did not adhere to the OECD Guidelines. In November 2017 the formal climate complaint against ING was declared admissible by the National Contact Point of OECD. It was the first time that a climate-related complaint was declared admissible by an OECD Contact Point.

After this complaint was lodged, ING published its decision in December 2017 to almost completely phase out their investments in the coal industry by the year 2025. ING also stated that it would refrain from investing in new coal-fired power stations. In September 2018, ING publicly announced that it will begin steering its lending portfolio towards meeting the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius. In its statement, the National Contact Point does not establish whether or not the ING violated the OECD Guidelines in 2017.

ING, Banktrack, Greenpeace, Milieudefensie and Oxfam Novib call directly upon the Dutch government to request the International Energy Agency to develop as soon as possible two scenarios, one with and one without carbon capture and storage, that provide a 66% chance to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius. This will allow banks and other financial institutions to adjust their loans and investments accordingly.

For more information please contact:
Jules van Os, press officer at Oxfam Novib, 06 – 51 57 36 83,

Bram Karst, press officer at Greenpeace Nederland, 06 – 21 29 68 95,

A link to the Final Statement by NCP:

For more information about the complaint, read here

Picture credit: Foto Marco De Swart/ANP out of Dutch article in

This is Why Our Future Lies in the Hands of Those Protecting the Amazon

This is Why Our Future Lies in the Hands of Those Protecting the Amazon

The Amazon rainforest is the most important forest in the world and crucial to limit global warming. Protecting the forest should be a top priority of world leaders, companies and citizens. Sadly everyday a part is being destroyed, directly affecting the lives of the indigenous and local communities. Hivos and Greenpeace support indigenous and local communities in their battle against the destruction of their territory.

30 November 2018

Deforestation by new president

André Karipuna, the leader of one of the Indigenous communities in the Brazilian Amazon, reported about the dramatic situation at a UN meeting in Geneva. His people are afraid of their lives because of (illegal) deforestation. Their territory is demarcated and protected by Brazilian law, but after the election of the new president Jair Bolsonaro, their future is at stake. During his election campaign, Jair Bolsonaro promised that his government will stop demarcating new indigenous lands and revise the existing ones.

Weaken surveillance on environmental crimes

The new president also declared that he would weaken surveillance on environmental crimes, loosen up environmental licensing rules, and allow the use of weapons by rural landowners. This policy could have huge effects on the environment and the safety of people, like André Karipuna, trying to protect it.

Limit global warming

Not only local communities are dependent on the new Brazilian government to protect the forest, but we all are. Only then we can limit global warming. Brazil holds the key to our future. Turning a blind eye for illegal deforestation, land grabbing, human rights abuse and the continuous destruction of the Amazon can be the end of our planet’s ecosystem.

Support from Hivos and Greenpeace

André Karipuna’s community, and others Indigenous and local communities get support from the All Eyes on the Amazon program. Hivos and Greenpeace run this program, together with a coalition of organizations working in the same field. They call upon companies and governments to protect the Amazon no matter who the future president is.

Source and Photo Hivos: All Eyes on the Amazon: the future of protecting forests in Brazil

Fossil Fuel Companies Are on Trial

21 November 2018

Fossil fuel companies are on trial;

latest developments and future steps

Fossil fuel companies stand trial for their role in global warming. US cities, states and children demand accountability for climate change. Read about the latest developments and future steps.

Start of the lawsuits

Thirty years ago ExxonMobil recognized the threat of fossil fuels on the climate, but did not inform the public. The lawsuits started after ExxonMobil revealed they knew about the devastating effects. Now other fossil fuel companies are also standing trial.

The effects of climate change

Climate change damages cities, states and houses, but also impacts daily life. Especially in vulnerable coastal communities, extreme weather and sea level rise form a threat. Compensation is needed, and cities, states and children hold the fossil fuel companies accountable. If they win, the impact will be big. There will be a shift from the taxpayers to the companies to bear the costs for climate change.

Key events

The website ‘Inside Climate News’ lists all key events, from the first subpoena of ExxonMobil in November 2015 until the last developments in November 2018. Want to know more about the case: Chevron Oil Spill in Ecuador? Check out our case page.

Children Climate Case Goes to Trial Stage

Youth v. Gov Climate Case Goes to Trial:

Is a Safe Climate a Civil Right?

In the United States a group of children between the ages of 11 to 22 are suing the U.S. government for their right to a safe and stable climate. This younger generation decided they would not sit idly and watch a safe future on this planet evaporate. Now they give a voice to their generation.

On 2 November 2018 the United States Supreme Court allowed the lawsuit to go ahead and proceed. Now the case may head to trial proceedings.

Safe climate is a civil right

In 2015 the children started testing the idea that a safe climate is a civil right, by filing the lawsuit against the Obama administration for the first time. The youth and children argued that the policy of the U.S. was not in the best interest of their future, by pursuing policies that harmed the climate.

It was robbing them of a future climate that supports broad human survival.

A straightforward request

Lead lawyer Julia Olson is also founder of the nonprofit Our Children’s Trust. The mission of Our Children’s Trust is to protect children from climate change. She argues that the lawsuit has a pretty straightforward request. It asks a U.S. Federal judge to order the government to start planning how to reduce carbon emissions and stabilize the climate system for future generations.

The Trump administration

In 2017 the U.S. District Court judge agreed with the youths’ claim. They could proceed to trial.

That same year the Trump administration took over the litigative position of government in this case. President Trump ordered to roll back some of the climate regulations in place at the Environmental Protection Agency. The promotion of fossil fuel production and the indifference to the risks of greenhouse gas emissions has only grown since then.

The government lawyers in the case asked for a review of the U.S. District Court judge’s decision. The government lawyers wanted to halt the trail and avoid litigation.

In a separate motion the government lawyers were also fighting against a request by the youth’s lawyers that the Justice Department preserve all relevant documents to the lawsuit. This includes information on climate change, energy, and emissions.

U.S. government will go to court

On October 29, 2018, the trial should have begun, but the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary stay. This meant there were larger legal issues pending the U.S. Supreme Court wanted to examine. The U.S. Supreme Court had received a request from the Justice Department for a stay to halt the case by the government’s lawyers.The Youth v. Gov case was temporarily halted while the U.S. Supreme Court decided.

On November 2nd the U.S. Supreme Court denied the government’s request.

Now the U.S. government will have to go to court. They will argue that there is no constitutional right to an environment free of climate change.

We will keep you posted on the proceedings of this interesting case.

In the mean time, should you want to learn more, you can check out their website at Youth v. Gov, or listen to this podcast.