‘The Government ain’t got this!’ Extinction Rebellion UK launches plan of Action for the New Year - Extinction Rebellion UK

‘The Government ain’t got this!’ Extinction Rebellion UK launches plan of Action for the New Year

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  • In response to 5 years of time wasting since the Paris Agreement was signed, Extinction Rebellion UK launches its new Action Strategy of nonviolent direct action to begin the countdown to COP26 in Glasgow 
  • The strategy looks at action through the lens of the Government’s failure to adequately address the Climate and Ecological Emergency, with a focus on our Democracy in crisis, the Economy and Ecocide
  • Actions include Digital Rebellion, Rebellion of One, Money Rebellion, court disruptions, and waves of Rebellion beginning in April
  • The strategy launched a day after the Climate Change Committee released it’s 6th Carbon Budget, announcing that the UK must cut emissions ‘78% by 2035’ to be on course for its net-zero goal

The week the Paris Climate Agreement turns 5 years old, Extinction Rebellion released a new Action Strategy of nonviolent civil disobedience to begin building momentum again in 2021 as the countdown to COP26 begins. Acting as a framework for people to take their own action, as well as providing information for mass participation events when the opportunity arises again post lockdown measures, the strategy aims to put pressure on a government clearly out of its depth.[1]

The plan of action focuses on the Government’s failure to adequately address the climate and ecological crisis, and encourages people to design actions through the lens of three key areas of policy and systemic failure: our Democracy in crisis, the Economy and Ecocide. The strategy arrived a day after the Climate Change Committee released its 6th Carbon Budget when they announced that the UK must cut emissions ‘78% by 2035’ to be on course for net-zero goal.[2] 

Alanna Byrne from Extinction Rebellion UK said: “Nonviolent civil disobedience is at the heart and soul of the movement, the roots of our community and a gateway for new rebels to join. There has been a call for more of a collective focus of our actions, so this strategy hopes to help guide people on how to get planning for the New Year.

“The Committee on Climate Change and the National Audit Office have both released reports this year showing the Government is way off track on its existing targets. Rather than covering up their failure by redrawing the goalposts, the Government needs to be honest with the public that they are not prioritising the key aim of the Paris Agreement. We’re going to need nonviolent direct action more than ever next year if we hope to see any substantive action.”

The plan of action lays out 6 key goals for the winter months:

  • Successfully steer the narrative: Get the media connecting Government Failure to the increasing threat of climate and ecological collapse.
  • Platform the CEE Bill and Citizens Assemblies: Get 326 MPs signed up to back to Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill by 13th March 2021, while increasing faith in the need for a Citizens’ Assembly. 
  • Follow the Money! Connect the dots between the blind hypocrisy of the government’s spending and how it is directly perpetuating climate and ecological breakdown.
  • Rattle the media: Make 2021 the year the industry puts truth above power and profit. 
  • Mobilise people towards Rebellion and COP26: Connecting across our movement and beyond to begin the climb to bringing 1 million people into active support next year. 
  • Open up space for the impossible! Create beautiful, emotionally disruptive moments that shift the conversation around the CEE, COP26 and the Paris Agreement. 

The strategy will be realised through a number of online and in person actions, including Digital Rebellion: online actions to highlight the Climate Change Committee’s latest report; Rebellion of One: single person roadblocks, times 1000!; Money Rebellion: to highlight the economic system failure with financial civil disobedience; and waves of Rebellion, beginning in Spring. 

The new plan of action aims to empower people after a deeply challenging year which has not only seen the ability to protest restricted, but also their democratic right to protest threatened. It was revealed this week that the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, is looking to prevent basic democractic rights by making it illegal to protest around Parliament, the courts, and newspaper printworks.[3] 

A report released this week by the National Audit Office, who track government spending, found that the Government is predicted to fail to meet its existing targets to reduce emissions in the period from 2023 to 2032, as well as announcing in June that they are way off track to reach even their 2050 targets.[4][5] 

This week Greta Thunberg aptly said in a new video for the Paris Agreement Anniversary: “Distant hypothetical targets are being set, and big speeches are being given. Yet, when it comes to the immediate action we need, we are still in a state of complete denial, as we waste our time, creating new loopholes with empty words and creative accounting.” [6]

Alanna Byrne continued: “On the week the Paris Climate Agreement turns 5 years old, the Committee on Climate Change report released on Wednesday makes clear that the UK Government is giving up on trying to reach its 1.5 degrees target. Yet they try to appease us by holding up their Green Industrial Revolution as a smokescreen so they can tell the public they have it all in hand. The reality is, the electorate is being played. They are not fighting for 1.5 and we can’t let them tell us that they are.”

Notes to Editors

[1] XRUK Action Strategy Update: https://extinctionrebellion.uk/2020/12/10/uk-actions-strategy-update-get-ready-for-2021/

[2] CCC: UK must cut emissions ‘78% by 2035’ to be on course for net-zero goal: https://www.carbonbrief.org/ccc-uk-must-cut-emissions-78-by-2035-to-be-on-course-for-net-zero-goal

[3] Priti Patel to clean up law on protests that damage democracy: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/12/08/priti-patel-readies-new-law-protect-tenets-democracy/

[4] Achieving net zero: https://www.nao.org.uk/report/achieving-net-zero/

[5] Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament: https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/reducing-uk-emissions-2020-progress-report-to-parliament/

[6] Greta Thunberg: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/10/greta-thunberg-we-are-speeding-in-the-wrong-direction-on-climate-crisis


Time has almost entirely run out to address the ecological crisis which is upon us, including the 6th mass species extinction, global pollution, and increasingly rapid climate change. If urgent and radical action isn’t taken, we’re heading towards 4˚C warming, and the societal collapse and mass loss of life that that implies. The younger generation, racially marginalised communities and the Global South are on the front-line. No-one will escape the devastating impacts.

Extinction Rebellion believes it is a citizen’s duty to rebel, using peaceful civil disobedience, when faced with criminal inactivity by their Government.

Extinction Rebellion’s key demands are:

  1. Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.
  2. Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
  3. Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

What Emergency? | Extinction Rebellion in Numbers |This Is Not A Drill: An Extinction Rebellion Handbook 

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About Rising Up!

Extinction Rebellion emerged from the Rising Up! network, which promotes a fundamental change of our political and economic system to one which maximises well-being and minimises harm. Change needs to be nurtured in a culture of reverence, gratitude and inclusion while the tools of civil disobedience and direct action are used to express our collective power.

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