We surge ahead: Tens of thousands take peaceful action against fossil fuels

Press release - 3 April, 2017
Amsterdam, 3 April 2017 - With more than 170 peaceful protests, marches and festivals in over 60 countries around the world, the growing movement to Break Free from fossil fuels shows it is tireless, unified and unstoppable.

The demonstrations occurred over the past three weeks, with over 200 civil society groups, communities and more than 61,000 people calling for an end to fossil fuels. They are demanding an immediate and just transition towards renewable energy.

Agustin Maggio, a spokesperson for the Break Free movement, said:

“Break Free has been a rallying call for people around the world to unite and demand that we quit our addiction to polluting fossil fuels and bring in renewable energy solutions. Each boat race, blockade and human chain has put another nail in the coffin of the fossil fuel industry. Taken together, they show that the people have turned their backs on dirty energy and are willing to fight for their right to a healthy future.

“The window for limiting global warming to 1.5°C and avoiding catastrophic climate disruption is rapidly closing. The role of popular pressure on political and business leaders to take urgent climate action cannot be denied. As we reach the end of this three-week push, we are already seeing the fruits of intense people power emerge.”

In Slovenia, a broad coalition of 70 organisations triggered a special parliamentary session leading to a first commitment for a national coal phaseout in line with the Paris agreement. Following six activities in Australia, the coal-funding Commonwealth Bank was brought to the table; opening the door to more climate-friendly policies. In India, the Ministry of Environment assured emission norms for thermal power plants would not be diluted after more than 100,000 people demanded a Clean Air Action Plan.

Executive Director of Greenpeace International Bunny McDiarmid, who took part in the Break Free action at Total’s largest refinery, said:

“As the Trump administration is shooting its economy and own security in the foot by trying to prop up dirty coal, the global race towards a renewable future is gathering speed. We want to Break Free from fossil fuels because we see the benefits for our climate, health and jobs. The waves of civil disobedience will keep going after the old-fashioned dirty energy system until it changes its ways. Get used to it!”


Notes to editors:

Photos available here

Already this month, Break Free coalition partner Land Rights Now is mobilising to improve community land rights, a key way to protect land against fossil fuel projects and secure its carbon sequestering potential. In May, another wave of more than 100 events will target the fossil fuel industry and its financial backers, asking them to divest from the wrecking of our planet and climate.


Agustin Maggio, Greenpeace International: , +1 512 569 4992 (in Amsterdam)

Desiree Llanos Dee, Greenpeace Philippines: , +63 917 800 6473 (in Manila)

Greenpeace International Press Desk, , phone: +31 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours)