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United for Climate Justice announces joint non-violent disobedience actions across Europe to stop fossil subsidies

The climate crisis demands for European movements to join forces and take action together

On Saturday 6 April, nine countries across Europe organised non-violent civil disobedience actions. United for Climate Justice (UCJ), a platform of various grassroot and climate movements, is coordinating these actions. 30 climate movements have already joined this international platform. UCJ demands that all European Union (EU) member states immediately end all subsidies to the fossil industry.

EU endangering its citizens by sponsoring big corporations

Spokesperson of UCJ: “The IPCC report 2023 shows that greenhouse gas emissions must be radically reduced – but instead, governments and the European Union (EU) continue as before. This will lead to no less than 2 degrees of warming by the year 2050: climate chaos and mass mortality of people, animals and plants. Subsidising companies that exacerbate the climate crisis is perverse and criminal.”

405.1 billion euros of subsidies

At least 405.1 billion euros in subsidies are going to the fossil industry in the EU every year in the form of tax cuts, both implicitly and explicitly. For reference, this is ten times more than the amount spent on climate policies (less than 40 billion Euros per year). That means that large corporations receive tax cuts amounting to over a thousand Euros per EU taxpayer per year.

Spokesperson UCJ: “These subsidies drive fossil fuel prices artificially down, making us believe we are profiting from them. However, the true beneficiaries are the big corporations that every year cash in billions of Euros in profits because of these tax breaks. All this while we, the people in Europe, are experiencing a cost of living crisis and increased inflation… And above that, the last seven years have been the hottest ever measured”.

Europeans are forced to financially support the climate crisis

Currently, the EU encourages the use of fossil fuels through the system of fossil subsidies, forcing its citizens to be involved in facilitating financial benefits that exacerbate the rapidly worsening climate crisis. The climate crisis is already causing large-scale and fatal destruction of nature, not only in Europe, but even more so in the Global South. In 2023, the South-European summer droughts were so severe that water resources were depleted to dangerous lows and agriculture was threatened in many regions. Wildfires burned 900,000 hectares of land, which is more than 1 million football fields in size. This does not even account for air pollution, a silent killer that is estimated to cause 10,000 deaths worldwide every day.

From fossil subsidies to a socially just transition

UCJ demands that the EU and its member states immediately stop subsidizing the fossil industry. They state the consequent additional incoming tax money should instead be used to support the social and ecological transition.

Spokesperson: “A much better way to spend these hundreds of billions of euros is for example by funding an accessible, free and efficient public transport network, free healthcare and education, social housing with good insulation, and more. I can go on…”

From individual countries to Europe-wide actions

In the Netherlands, Extinction Rebellion was the first to block a road to protest fossil subsidies in 2022. Saturday April 6th marks their 37th blockade of the road leading to the A12 highway, a campaign that has already led to over 12,000 arrests. Similar protests against fossil subsidies have taken place in other European countries, including Belgium and Germany. These climate activist organisations engaging in civil disobedience have now formed a coalition with 30 movements in United for Climate Justice, to mass mobilise at the European level, pressuring the EU to end fossil subsidies. From now on, each first Saturday of the month, UCJ movements will take action locally. For example: on May 4th, the Netherlands will join the blockade in Belgium, on June 1st, Letzte Generation Germany will be protesting in 18 cities. And if the EU fails to meet the demand, UCJ is ready to escalate further.

What is United for Climate Justice (UCJ)?

United for Climate Justice (UCJ) is a platform of all kinds of grassroot and climate movements, with support and endorsement by non-governmental organisations across Europe and further, as justice must be global. Together, they are coordinating the campaign Stop EU Fossil Subsidies. They engage in civil disobedience action, based on scientific evidence of the climate crisis, and the need for rapid change led by the people in cultural, economic, and political systems. 

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