​Climate activists demonstrate in Berlin

Climate activists demonstrate in Berlin, Germany on September 25, 2020.

(Photo: Omer Messinger/Getty Images)

Climate Groups Announce Global Days of Action to 'Propel Renewable Energy Revolution Forward'

"Around the world, people are uniting to wrest power and resources away from reckless fossil fuel companies," said one campaigner. "The window to act is short—but there is still time to create enormous positive changes."

The climate justice group 350.org on Monday announced upcoming global days of action—November 3 and 4—aimed at accelerating the worldwide transition to clean energy.

"On every continent, in big cities and on small islands, we'll take action to show that a global renewable energy revolution is within our reach," says a new website where people can sign up to participate in what 350.org and its partners are calling Power Up. "We'll spotlight the oil industry's greed and reclaim the money and power to fund a just future powered by the sun and the wind."

"We are taking to the streets because we are outraged," the website states. "But also because we are hopeful and determined to use our anger and our hope to resist—and to build a better future for ourselves and our planet."

The announcement comes just days after fossil fuel corporations reported another quarter of massive profits and affirmed their plans to expand drilling even as the planet burns. Big Oil has known for decades that extracting and refining petroleum causes life-threatening greenhouse gas pollution, but the heavily subsidized industry continues to undermine scientists' warnings in an effort to protect its bottom line.

"This intolerable state of affairs must change, and it must change now," 350.org executive director May Boeve said in a statement. "Around the world, people are uniting to wrest power and resources away from reckless fossil fuel companies to propel the global renewable energy revolution forward."

"We stand at a pivotal moment, as the undeniable impacts of the climate crisis are ravaging our world," said Boeve. "The window to act is short—but there is still time to create enormous positive changes."

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres made a similar point last week. After surveying some of the deadly extreme weather disasters—from heatwaves to wildfires and monsoon rains—that have unfolded around the world this July, which has already been deemed the hottest month in recorded history to date, the U.N. chief said that "it is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C and avoid the very worst of climate change but only with dramatic, immediate climate action."

"We have seen some progress—a robust rollout of renewables and some positive steps from sectors such as shipping—but none of this is going far enough or fast enough," Guterres added. "Accelerating temperatures demand accelerated action."

According to 350.org:

  • Every dollar invested in clean energy generates nearly three times as many jobs compared to investment in fossil fuel projects.
  • Just four oil giants—Exxon, Shell, Total, and Chevron—collectively earned a staggering $33.2 billion in profit in the first quarter of 2023 alone. The same amount of money could fully electrify an estimated 55 million rural households without energy and grid access.
  • The excessive profits made by the West's five largest oil and gas companies totaled $134 billion in 2022. These exorbitant profits, made at the expense of ordinary households, underscore the urgent need for global energy justice and a transition to renewable energy.

"The rapid heating of our planet isn't a natural phenomenon. It's a crime committed by a wealthy few for their own profit," says the Power Up website. "While we suffer, fossil fuel CEOs grow richer and richer. For decades they've been blocking climate action to protect their obscene wealth. But they're not untouchable."

"The solution is clear: Taking money from where it currently is—the obscene profits of the fossil fuel industry—and shifting it toward renewable energy systems rooted in justice," the website reads. "But taking the money of the fossil fuel industry is not enough: We want to put them out of the way. We need our governments to explore every possible means of action to stop Big Oil from dictating our energy future."

The upcoming days of action are scheduled for November 3 and 4 because that's when fossil fuel companies are expected to announce their third-quarter profits. Later that month, policymakers from around the world are set to gather in the United Arab Emirates for the U.N.'s COP28 climate conference.

350.org and its partners are "driven by the conviction that we have the tools, technology, and resources to enable a fast and just transition to renewable energy systems—they just need to be moved in the right direction."

"The profits the fossil fuels industry makes by digging, burning, and polluting could be used to power hundreds of millions of households worldwide with solar and wind energy," the groups insist. "It could insulate homes, keep the lights on in hospitals and schools, ensure stable access to clean electricity everywhere, lift people from poverty, and protect all of us from the worst impacts of the climate crisis."

Organizers have two simple demands:

  1. Pay Up—make fossil fuels companies pay the bill: We must reclaim fossil fuel companies' illegitimate profits. To start with, our governments should impose taxes on their unjust profits [and] eliminate subsidies, investments, and loans to coal, oil, and gas companies. And instead, they should fund and support renewable energy initiatives rooted in justice.
  2. Power Up—unleash the money to fund renewable energies: Governments must redirect financial resources toward renewable energies through all the financial mechanisms possible, on local, national, and global levels. These resources should align with the scale and urgency of the climate crisis and ensure a globally equitable distribution of funds.

"Across the globe, people are already leading the way toward a clean, just, [and] renewable world, using solutions to the climate crisis as tools of resistance against the toxic fossil fuels industry—showing that another world is possible," the groups point out.

"Wind and solar are producing record amounts of clean electricity year after year, and getting cheaper every day," they continue. "We have all the tools, resources, and technology needed to make the energy transition happen. The only thing missing is the political will to put the good of people and the planet above the profits of the oil industry."

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