This editorial by Editor-in-Chief Anne-Sophie Garrigou is published in The Beam #10 — Local Heroes of Climate Action. Subscribe now to receive your print copy at home.

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Copyrights: Henry Be

“When a dark future seems all but inevitable, hoping for better seems like setting yourself up to get hurt”, writes feminist author and journalist Laurie Penny in Bitch Doctrine. When it comes to climate change, we simply can not stop hoping for a better tomorrow and working on solutions to try to reverse the situation. And I should add here that it is not — and should never have been — about saving our ways of life.

Today, millions of women, indigenous communities, children, and low-income families across the world are already affected by the climate crisis. Biodiversity and the state of many ecosystems around the world are fully at risk with around one million animal and plant species threatened with extinction, many within decades. So yes, I know! Reading this, listening to the youth from the Fridays for Future movement, to the pacifist activists from Extinction Rebellion and especially to the scientists who have been working on this issue for decades, the future seems dark and it is frightening. But we are all responsible, and more than ever before: we all know that we are. Yet, in 2018 we produced more greenhouse gases than we ever had, at a rate three times that of population growth. This is not anyone’s opinion. …


As COP25 is drawing to a close, the importance of the Amazon in the global fight against climate change and to the indigenous communities that are leading the fight to protect the rainforest has never been so clear. At the same time, the huge deforestation in and destruction of the Amazon not only endanger the ecosystem and nature, but especially the lives and cultures of the communities protecting it.

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From left to right: Eliana Rojas (HIVOS), Gregorio Mirabal (COICA), Nará Bare (COIAB),
Edilena Krikati (COAPIMA), Erisvan Guajajara (Mídia Índia), Joenia Wapichana (Câmara dos Deputados Brasil)

The Amazon rainforest, the largest in the world, is a hotspot of biodiversity and plays a crucial role in the world’s climate. We cannot afford to put the Amazon rainforest at risk. We need forests to limit global warming and prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Indigenous people are key to protecting the forest

The rainforest is also home to many indigenous peoples and local communities. Forest protection is key for indigenous and local communities, and in return, indigenous lands have proven to be the best measure against deforestation. In areas where their land rights are respected, there is less deforestation and biodiversity is maintained. But their land and lives are under huge pressure. The indigenous people are on the frontlines, facing powerful agricultural, mining and logging industries and are the first ones to be confronted with the devastating effects of deforestation and destruction of the rainforest. Logging (both legal and illegal), the expansion of arable land and extractive industries are turning the forests into everyday products, like beef, soy, timber and aluminium. …


REN21’s Executive Secretary Rana Adib talks about the role of cities in the transition to a low carbon future powered by renewable energy.

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Rana Adib, Executive Secretary of REN21 at COP25 in Madrid.

Cities are contributing to almost 75% of global CO2 emissions and are consuming two-thirds of the energy demand worldwide. They are also economic hubs as more than 80% of global gross domestic product (GDP) is created in cities. This information alone demonstrates that cities have a unique role to play in accelerating the sustainable energy transition. “Cities also have direct responsibility for their residents. …


COP25 is in full speed in Madrid. We met with the Director of Bellona Europa, Jonas Helseth to talk about solutions.

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Director of Bellona Europa, Jonas Helseth.

Jonas Helseth is the Director of Bellona Europa, an environmental NGO that works with the scientific community, companies, public authorities and civil society to advance the solutions which show the greatest potential to transition to zero emissions across the economy. One of its main goals is to put Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) at the heart of the political agenda. We met with Jonas Helseth at COP25 in Madrid and asked him why he thinks CSS is the future, and what are the main policies his organisation recommends to fight the climate crisis.

Where does your commitment to the environment come from?


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Photo credit: Annabelle Avril

Activists from civil society, especially women from indigenous communities and women from the Global South, have reported cases of direct violence from security after their protest yesterday inside the COP25 venue in Madrid. “Yesterday was violent. But our actions of disruption here at COP25 are nothing in comparison to the reality and violence that people, especially indigenous communities, are experiencing at home” explains one of the woman who took part in the action. “The only thing we want is for people to live in a planet that is healthy” adds another participant.

The dissonance between scientific fact and political inaction drove millions to the street this year to demand climate justice. Activists from all over the world took this energy from the street and brought it to COP25 in Madrid. Yesterday, hundreds of constituents across civil society came together in unity inside the climate conference venue to demand precise actions from global leaders. …


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Copyrights: Coordinadora Ciudadana No Alto Maipo

Fifty kilometers from the original UN Climate Conference venue in Santiago, Chile, a run-of-river hydro project is being constructed on the Maipo River, which provides water to seven million people. In the name of “clean energy,” the Alto Maipo hydroelectric project is blasting tunnels through the Andes, creating fissures in the glaciers, and polluting local communities with dust, light, and noise. And the project is undermining the livelihoods of the people living in the Cajon del Maipo, and threatening their rights to food, water, and cultural heritage.

But despite these demonstrably negative impacts, the Alto Maipo project is registered under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, providing it with a kind of green seal of approval and once finished, would earn Chile carbon credits. The CDM is a carbon market mechanism, which allows countries to use markets to buy carbon credits instead of cutting their own emissions. This week at the UN Climate Conference (COP25) in Madrid, as world governments are deciding on the rules for new carbon markets, they should be learning from past mistakes, of which Alto Maipo is just one of many. However, progress in the negotiations thus far suggests governments are on a path to create a new set of rules that repeat the same fatal flaws. …


Following Greta Thunberg example, activists from all across the world have been protesting with unwavering determination for about a year, raising awareness for the climate emergency in their country.

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On Wednesday, December 11th, at 10 am, about 50 climate strikers took to the stage after the High-Level Event on Climate Emergency to show their enragement about the absence of sufficient climate action. The action was planned and staged by climate strikers from all continents. It was organised in support of Greta Thunberg, who spoke at the event before the staged action.

“We are privileged, and our stories have been told many times over and over again. It is not our stories that need to be told and listened to. It is the others, especially from the Global South and Indigenous communities who need to tell their stories,” explains Greta Thunberg at COP25 in Madrid. In a shared press-conference with Luisa Neubauer, from Fridays for Future Germany, the two young women explained that they have decided to use their platform and give it to the people who need the media attention. Greta continues: “The climate emergency is not just something that will impact us in the future. It is not something that will have an impact on children living today when they grow up. It is already affecting countless people today. …


The empowerment of women globally ensures more than just better lives for women themselves. The Founder and CEO of Solar Sister, Katherine Lucey, tells the stories of women bringing change to their families, communities and in turn, the world.

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Katherine Lucey

Listen to the full interview with Katherine Lucey on The Beam Podcast, Episode 3: Women at the Forefront of Climate Action.

No doubt, many of us take energy access and the ability to cook for ourselves, friends and family members without the use of kerosene for granted. Yet, still many people around the globe live in off-grid communities depending on health-harming and life-threatening kerosene, instead of clean and reliable solutions. How can we effectively reach the ‘last mile’? Solar Sister founded and lead by Katherine Lucey invests in local women and puts trust in women’s sisterhood in fighting energy poverty. With multigenerational benefits, the idea also supports achieving sustainable solutions in the climate crisis.

In the latest episode of The Beam Podcast — Women at the Forefront of Climate Action, we have asked Katherine Lucey to share with us the stories of women in rural Tanzania, Uganda, and Nigeria, and how becoming a Solar Sister entrepreneur supports their lives and the lives of their family members. …


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Copyrights: Annabelle Avril /wecf

While UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres was speaking at the Global Climate Action High-Level event in Madrid, saying “we need more ambition, more solidarity and more urgency”, about 300 civil society representatives from indigenous groups and environmental NGOs were being kicked out of the COP25 venue.

A few minutes earlier, they had organised a non-violent protest inside the halls of the climate conference venue to call for human rights and gender equality for all.

“Hundreds of us demonstrated inside the halls of COP25 today, not to block progress, but to drive it forward. Our motto was, “Step up, pay up.” It was a message to the rich countries who refuse to meet their commitments under the Paris Agreement. It was a message to the corporate polluters, who roam these halls attempting to profit off the world’s suffering, instead of paying for the damage they’ve done.” …


ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron and 43 others can be held legally accountable in the Philippines for violating human rights and causing climate change

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Davao: Philippines. Copyrights: 350.org

In a landmark victory for climate justice, the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights announced its findings from a nearly three-year investigation into whether 47 of the world’s biggest fossil fuel companies could be held accountable for violating the rights of its citizens, in relation to the damage caused by global warming. The commission was responding to a 2015 petition by Greenpeace, 350.org and other NGO’s and climate impacted communities. The commission found that ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, Chevron and other companies played an unambiguous role in causing anthropogenic climate change and could be held legally liable for its impacts.

The report, which will be published at the end of the year, concludes that carbon majors have an obligation to respect human rights as laid down in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and a clear responsibility to invest in clean energy. …

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