Global Newsletter #85

1.5°C has died

Friday, February 16, 2024 by Extinction Rebellion

Fridays For Future march in Bonn, Germany, 2019. Photo: Mika Baumeister

This issue: XR Finland vs Mining | XR Austria vs Tunnel Spider | USA Stops LNG?

Dear rebel,

In 2015, world leaders agreed to sweeping cuts in carbon emissions so that global temperatures would not rise by more than 1.5°C. The Paris Agreement set this cap because beyond 1.5°C, the impacts of global warming became much more extreme.

But global warming has now exceeded 1.5°C for an entire year, and in that time the world has been hit by relentless extreme weather. The Paris Agreement has done nothing for the 133 people killed by unprecedented forest fires in Chile this month, or the 53,000 Indonesians forced to flee their homes after flooding from torrential rains.

And the Paris Agreement has done little to the policies of the governments that signed it. Based on current emissions, the world is still heading for 3°C of warming by the end of the century. These are dark days for humanity, but this newsletter does contain a couple of reasons to keep the flame of hope alive.

An Austrian rebel scales a lamppost during an action against the Tunnel Spider.

Firstly, we have the rare sight of something positive happening in American politics, with the President announcing a pause on new liquified natural gas terminals until the climate impacts are better understood. The news was met with both joy and scepticism by US activists, and is analysed in our Special Report.

Secondly, we have the reassuringly common sight of rebels putting their bodies and freedom on the line to protect their corner of the world from extraction and further emissions. Find out why Finnish rebels braved temperatures of -25°C, and why Austrian rebels are fighting a spider with a dinosaur, in Action Highlights.

Finnish rebels use skis to access a mining drill site in a remote nature reserve.

If you’re still feeling despair that we’ve collectively blown our chance for a stable future (fair enough) then turn that despair into action. Whoever you are, wherever you are, you’ll find two upcoming global campaigns you can join, and rebel roles you can volunteer for, in Announcements.

1.5°C is dead. But what matters isn’t the passing of a numerical threshold - it’s ending fossil fuels and making our civilization sustainable. Every step on that road keeps the world a little cooler, and the future a little less frightening.

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  • Action Highlights: XR Finland vs Mining, XR Austria vs Tunnel Spider
  • Action Round Up: DRC, Uganda, Australia, Norway, France, Canada, Argentina, UK, Denmark, Belgium, USA, Sierra Leone
  • Special Report: Has The White House Gone Green?
  • Announcements: Insure Our Future, Mothers* Rebellion, XR GS Jobs

Action Highlights

Drill Sites Frozen in Nature Reserve

16 DEC 2023 - ONGOING | Sodankylä, Finland

Finnish rebels occupy a mining corporation drill site in a remote nature reserve.

Braving deep snow and freezing -25°C temperatures, a group of rebels has spent the last month (plus a week in December) interrupting mining exploration in a nature reserve in northern Finland.

Viiankiaapa is a beautiful stretch of marshland and lake-dotted forest in eastern Lapland, home to many endangered plant and animal species, and officially protected by both Finnish and EU law. But British-listed mining corporation Anglo American has a licence to ‘explore’, and is intent on drilling beneath the old trees and fragile fenland soils for copper and nickel, which exist in abundance in the area.

Although they are not currently allowed to extract the metals, there is widespread concern that Anglo American will succeed in changing Finnish law, and unleash a wave of extraction in once protected areas. The mining company has been working for years to achieve this, indulging in ever more greenwashing to make their case.

Elokapina’s cycle: infiltrate drill sites, scale machinery, get arrested, go to jail.

Courageous members of Elokapina (XR Finland) are putting their bodies in the way to stop a round of test drilling. To reach this remote, dark, snow-clad destination, they had to use cross-country skis and set up camp near the drilling area, using special clothing and sleeping bags to make the bitingly cold temperatures survivable.

From their base, they have repeatedly sneaked into the mining site, scaling fences, climbing onto machinery, and locking on for periods as long as five hours. Each time, Anglo American has been forced to halt drill activity in line with their own health and safety code.

Since mid-December, several of the rebels have been arrested, held overnight in jail, and fined. Most have then made their way back to the camp, ready to continue the cycle of disruption and arrest. Unhappy with the nearest police station being an hour’s drive away, Anglo American have recently brought in increasingly aggressive private security guards who have shoved rebels and hit their cameras away.

Despite the intense cold, darkness, and aggressive security, these plucky rebels are not budging. They will be as disruptive as possible until 15th March, when Anglo American must stop work in time for the nesting season of rare local birds. And rebels are planning a big surprise for the company before then - so watch this space.

Follow Elokapina’s (XR Finland’s) campaign on Twitter/X and Instagram.

Fighting the Tunnel Spider (With a Dinosaur)

12 & 31 JANUARY | Vorarlberg, Austria

A rebel alliance protests against the Tunnel Spider, a car-boosting mega-project.

Main roads linking Germany, Liechtenstein and Switzerland all meet in the Austrian border town of Feldkirch, and traffic jams have been a problem there for decades.

But instead of investing in badly-needed public transport, local authorities decided to pour hundreds of millions of euros into a vast underground roundabout system, which will increase capacity for cars. A first exploration tunnel has already been dug.

"We're in a climate crisis, and it’s crazy to burn money for fossil projects”, says our contact from XR Vorarlberg, the province where Feldkirch is located. “We’re proposing a number of better ideas for the exploration tunnel, like turning it into a huge farm for locally grown mushrooms.”

Rebels call the ecocidal mega-project Tunnel Spider. As well as evoking the fitting image of a hidden, menacing, multi-legged creature, the name handily “angers those who are trying to market the project as something good.”

Rebels with their dinosaur outside the Vorarlberg state parliament. Sign on the right: ‘We had no choice…”

XR Vorarlberg has been protesting the Tunnel Spider for months as part of a joint campaign with local NGOs, grassroots movements, and political parties. Since October 2022 there have been ten major actions, including occupying government buildings three times. And the rebels have won some precious victories.

“We’re in an election year, and the current government has already decided to pass the final decision over the project on to the next legislative period. And the media now writes about a ‘controversial project’ when they mention the Tunnel Spider.”

In January, XR Vorarlberg saw their local struggle turn international. 70 German activists from Last Generation and Ende Gelände (on their way to protest the World Economic Forum in Davos) joined a rebel street blockade outside a Tunnel Spider information centre. The activist alliance used tripods and pipe-locks, and climbed traffic lights and lampposts, to stretch a huge spider web across the street.

Austrian rebels rallied again two weeks later outside the state parliament, and while there were no reinforcements from the global climate movement, there was a giant dinosaur. Police didn’t like the reminder that we are in the 6th mass extinction event, and shut the protest down, so rebels blockaded a nearby street, then joined a rally outside the state museum. All humans and dinosaurs managed to avoid arrest.

Find out more about XR Austria’s campaigns on their website.

Action Round Up

9 JAN | North Kivu, DRC: Members of XR Rutshuru march with communities living beside Virunga National Park to oppose proposed oil and gas exploitation there. They want the Congolese government to safeguard the park, protect the millions of people who depend on it, and cancel any active licences for oil exploration there.

11 JAN | Kampala, Uganda: Another activist with Students Against Eacop is violently arrested and detained by Ugandan police. The trial of seven activists being held in Luzira prison will start this month. The group refuse to be intimidated and vow to continue their peaceful campaign against the ecocidal oil pipeline.

12 JAN | Adelaide, Australia: XR South Australia targets a regional cycling race because it is sponsored by Santos, a fossil fuel company. Rebels were a loud and colourful presence at an opening ceremony and along the route around Adelaide. They called on the South Australian government to dump Santos as sponsor.

16–17 JAN | Sandefjord, Norway: 30 rebels blockade the entrances and driveway to the Oil and Energy Conference, where 62 new oil production licences were handed out. Police eventually cleared the blockades so the heavily delayed conference could begin. But the rebels returned with car horns, amps, vuvuzelas, cowbells, recorders, tin whistles, pots and pans, and disturbed the presentations within. They also gave the oil elite and their politician lapdogs an especially early wake-up call the next morning (the conference was in a hotel). XR Norway are demanding an end to new oil licences and a start to decommissioning the oil industry. They promise to keep disturbing the oil elite wherever they gather.

18 JAN | Paris, France: Victory! French rebel Coline (front, centre) finally returns home after a concerted campaign by friends, family, and rebels to get her freed. She was imprisoned in Senegal under conspiracy charges for going to a rally by a presidential candidate in November, and faced life imprisonment. The election is being continually delayed by the current president, who has already served a maximum two terms, but has the backing of the French government.

22 JAN | Toronto, Canada: A brand new Red Rebel brigade pays a visit to the headquarters of the Royal Bank of Canada, the biggest funder of fossil fuels in the world since the Paris Agreement.

24 JAN | Buenos Aires, Argentina: XR Argentina joins thousands of activists, unions, and citizens in a nationwide strike against the ecocidal and repressive laws being introduced by the new president of Argentina. If passed, his ‘omnibus law’ will see the country enter a dark era of banned protest and unregulated extractivism.

27 JAN | Farnborough, UK: Rebels, local residents, and climate queen Greta Thunberg protest against the expansion of Farnborough Airport, which would see private jet flights grow from 50,000 to 70,000 a year. Private jets are up to 30 times more polluting than passenger airliners, and service an unfathomably selfish elite. A week later, Greta walked free from a London court after being arrested for ‘public disorder’ during protests at an oil and gas conference in the city last year.

28 JAN | Copenhagen & Aalborg, Denmark: Rebels from XR Denmark and Scientist Rebellion blockade a main road leading into Kastrup Airport to demand a ban on private jets. Drivers got angry, shoving rebels aside and driving through their banners. A journalist covering the event was hit by a car and taken to hospital. Meanwhile, three scientists (pictured) blockaded a private jet at Aalborg Airport. Private jet use in Denmark quadrupled between 2020 and 2022. A four-hour private jet flight emits as much carbon per person as an average European does in a year.

28 JAN | Brussels, Belgium: XR Belgium launches a wave of actions against fossil fuel subsidies ahead of national and EU elections. 150 activists hosted a traffic-blocking street party and demanded a future free from fossil fuels. 70% of Belgians are in favour of stricter environmental safeguards, yet the politicians sit on their hands.

1 FEBRUARY | Virginia, USA: A ‘Mountain Mama’ with Appalachians Against Pipelines locks onto a helicopter used to transport workers to a remote site of the Mountain Valley Pipeline, delaying construction for many hours. She and another protester were arrested and jailed.

Special Report

Has The White House Gone Green?

26 JAN | Washington, D.C., USA

The science is clear. Scientist Rebellion joins protests outside the North American Gas Forum in Washington, D.C., in October 2023.

The fossil fuel industry had big plans for America’s natural gas, which is fracked from the ground and liquified for easy export abroad. More than 20 new Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) export facilities were earmarked for construction along the Gulf of Mexico, despite having the same cumulative pollution as 675 coal-fired power plants.

But those plans won’t be going forward - at least not for now. After decades of protest by frontline communities, especially in the Gulf Coast where most of these facilities would be constructed, a large coalition came together to take the fight to Washington, D.C. Three days of rallies and civil disobedience were planned outside the Department of Energy, with 1,000 people taking NVDA training and risking arrest.

But days before the disruption was due to begin, the American President announced a pause on LNG export approvals, and the start of taking climate and environmental harm into consideration during any future decision-making.

A huge coalition has campaigned against LNG in Washington D.C., including the Vessel Project (Photo: Jamie Henn), Climate Defiance, XR DC, and Third Act.

The initial reaction was universal joy, with everyone from giant NGOs to frontline communities, youth movements, and elders celebrating the announcement. After years of dogged campaigning, petition delivering, and pressure on Congress for precisely this decision, here was a victory that felt well-earned.

Climate Defiance, who have been hounding D.C.’s oil-friendly elite, called it “the most significant move any President has ever made on stopping fossil fuels.”

But rebels from XR DC, whose campaign to Electrify DC is intricately linked with the push to stop LNG, sounded a note of caution, calling the win a “ray of hope” in a difficult fight with an industry that has its claws deeply embedded in the country. “There are still 8 LNG export facilities in operation and 10 more already approved, setting the U.S. on a path to double the volume of LNG exported by 2028.”

The fight continues. On Feb 8th, Friends of the Earth Action activists disrupted a Big Oil funded senator who is opposed to the LNG pause.

Over the past months, the climate justice movement has mobilised closely with the Palestinian Liberation movement, and there are concerns that the climbdown on LNG is a cynical way for the President to shore up his youth vote in an election year.

There’s also the fact that America might not have enough gas to warrant the new terminals. Days before the LNG announcement, data from the Department of Energy revealed that the country’s gas supply was in terminal decline, with consultants telling the government to reevaluate supply before approving any more exports.

Whether this dramatic policy shift was spurred more by dogged activism, desperate vote-seeking, or good old-fashioned resource depletion - it demonstrates weakness in one of the most powerful cogs of our global fossil-capital system. That weakness is worth celebrating, and worth pushing for further gains and new horizons.

Must-Reads & Watches

The cover of a graphic novel about degrowth and misunderstandings around it.

Graphic Novel: Who Is Afraid Of Degrowth?
Illustrator Céline Keller has crafted this beautiful graphic novel about degrowth and why it seems to upset some people. The book manages to explain why this economic theory is the answer to climate activists' prayers and to debunk some persistent myths around it. The link takes you to a free digital download, but be sure to support the crowdfunding campaign for printed copies while you are there.

Video: No One Should Have More Than £10 million (58 mins)
Novara Media interviews academic Ingrid Robeyns, who advocates for economic limitarianism, a.k.a. capping extreme wealth and making the billionaire extinct. She makes a compelling case that wealth concentration is inherently unjust, undermines democracy, and is the root cause of the climate and ecological crisis.

Article: What the Climate Movement’s Debate About Disruption Gets Wrong
This essay argues that many climate activists are chasing the wrong metrics. Rather than aiming to win over a majority of the public, we should be focusing on repeatedly disrupting elite decision-makers - in a way that hurts their wallets. The overthrow of racial segregation by activists in 1960s America is used to prove the essay’s case.


Insure Our Future: Global Week of Action

26 FEB–3 MAR | Global

The Insure Our Future network is gearing up for its first Global Week of Action. Activists around the world are going to target the insurance industry for their role in the climate crisis.

Insurance is the Achilles heel of the fossil fuel industry. Without insurance, most new projects can’t go ahead, and existing ones must close. Insurers are facilitating ecocidal projects like EACOP, methane gas in the US, and oil drilling in the Arctic and North Sea. We’re calling them out, but we need your help!

Learn more and sign up.

Mothers* Rebellion: 4th Global Rebellion

9 MARCH | Global

Mothers* Rebellion invites you to our 4th global rebellion! The Saturday right after International Women's Day we'll be manifesting around the world, to demand climate justice and highlight the fact that women and children are the ones most affected by the climate emergency.

Mothers* circles are static and emotional seated protests, created to make it easy to join, but hard to look away from. Local groups exist in 25+ countries across all major continents. All and everyone is welcome!

Visit our website or contact

XR Global Support: We Need You!

Apply Now

Interested in joining the XR Global Support team and helping to grow and strengthen XR groups around the world? All you need is a computer, online access, free time, and a strong commitment to climate activism. Roles currently available include…

Website Team Coordinator: Organise the software development team working on the website, identifying what tasks need doing and managing progress. Ideally, you are a JavaScript developer with knowledge of Vue.js, or the desire to learn it. Previous coordinators will be on hand to show you the ropes.
(~3 hrs per week)

Media & Messaging Internal Coordinator: The Media & Messaging team amplifies the actions of rebels around the world, especially groups in the Global South. It also produces content for the XR Global website and social media channels. The internal coordinator role involves keeping the various teams within Media & Messaging functional, secure, and harmonious.
(~20 hrs per week)

To apply for these roles or any other, fill in this onboarding form. If you have any questions, get in touch at

Thank You

18 DECEMBER | Freetown, Sierra Leone: Alhassan Sesay, the founder of XR Sierra Leone, dies. Despite living with a disability, he spent decades campaigning for the planet, gaining love and respect from rebels across Africa and the world. As well as coordinating XR Sierra Leone, he also taught children how to protect the environment by founding the Sierra Leone School Green Club. He will be missed.

Thank you for reading, rebel. If you have any questions or feedback, we want to hear from you. Get in touch at

This newsletter is brought to you by XR Global Support, a worldwide network of rebels who help our movement grow. We need money for this crucial work.

Donate What You Can


反抗灭绝是一个分散的、国际的和政治上无党派的运动,利用非暴力的直接行动和公民抗命来说服政府对气候和生态紧急情况采取公正的行动。 我们的运动是由来自各行各业的人组成的,他们用自己的时间和精力以不同的方式做出贡献。我们很可能有一个离你很近的当地分部,我们很想听到你的声音。 参与进来 ...或考虑捐一次款