Journey to COP in Glasgow – and out of the fossil society

Insights and observations

The newest news is the one at the beginning of the text

#27 Sunday, Nov 14, Lunch

Glasgow – Stockholm.

About the Glasgow “pact”: 1) EU and US blocked a real fund for “loss&damage”. 2) There is now a global “compensation”-market through article 6 where there shouldnt be one. 3) There is a bit better finance towards adaptation (but also pooring money into the same economic structures which created the crisis). 4) The best thing: all nations have to present new NDCs next year already. 5) Because the emission reductions dont sum up to staying below 1.5 (which is still the target). 6) There is no serious attempt to stop the emissions in the pace which is needed and no plan how to change – in a systemic way – all sectors (political economy, food, agriculture, energy etc). 7) There is no mentioning of oil and gas and no muratorium for new fossil infrastructure and a phase-out, just “phase-down” of coal. 8) There is no serious debate on global justice in this process of stopping the emissions and keeping the fossils in the ground which disrupts whole national economies.

#26 Sunday, Nov 14, Morning

Glasgow – Frankfurt – Hamburg – Stockholm.

My comment on COP26: the core of the climate crisis is a lack of what I call substantial democracy. I cant see any fundamental progress in this direction. To treat some people, ethn./gender/class as “worth more” is still there as a ruling attitude, ideology and brutal practice.

#25 Saturday, Nov 13, Morning

Glasgow – London.

The third draft is on the table, and the text about phasing-out fossil fuels and stopping subsidies became even weaker. Many young people make clear that this is a betrayal for their generation. Yesterday evening, the fossil fuel treaty group gave a last presentation – and it is a no-brainer that we have to stop all new fossil infrastructure now and phase-out the existing one in the richer countries within ten years. None of this is discussed or mentioned in the drafts – nor is the regulation of the emissions, and neither a compensation for loss and damage. In this sense, my original analysis of what should happen is still the same:

#24 Friday, Nov 12, Afternoon


As every Friday: strike day. Fridays For Future started to strike outside the COP building in the morning, joined after an hour by all NGOs and movements, scientists and youth which marched out of the plenary session as a protest against the political inaction.

Here is the statement by the peoples movements (Demand Climate Justice):

#23 Thursday, Nov 11, Afternoon


There is so much misinformation spread about the negotiations.

Many people and journalists write: we are on the way to 1.8/2.4/2.7°. This is not true. At all. Govt’s pretend to aim for (!) targets (not politics) which could – if followed up – with uncertainties sum up to… but exclude huge amounts of emissions + include non-existing tech’s, neglect tipping points etc.

#22 Wednesday, Nov 10, Afternoon


Yesterday evening, we had a meeting between European researchers about the universities role in the global just transformation in times of a climate and ecological crisis. We shared the analysis that most academics dont act according to the crisis, not in public or towards their own institutions. How to change it? This was a long and important discussion and I want to share just a few ideas. One is the question how to communicate. Just “broadcasting” what should be done (see here: is not enough. Change comes often from a felt urgency – and the communication should provide this insight. But just to communicate about the crisis and how university should change is in itself not enough. DEAL, the doughnut economics action lab, combines research with real transformation on the ground, starting with and involving communities with their own needs.

Today, the first draft for the final COP text has been published and for the first time, it mentions fossil fuels. Which can sound absurd – because this is obvious but has been blocked in years by the coal and oil drilling countries. Maybe this opens now up for a process towards a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty next year in Stockholm at the “plus50”-UN conference.

FFF did an action inside the blue zone demanding to keep the fossil fuel part in the final text.

#21 Tuesday, Nov 9, Afternoon


Impression from high-level negotiations. Since yesterday, the delegations are led by the environmental ministers.

#20 Tuesday, Nov 9, Lunch


Talking a lot to media about a almost not-understandable gap here as experienced by a lot of young people and activists and scientists in general. On the one side, there is the official language and messaging/communication about “net zero 2050” targets – and some media, even serious ones in Sweden like DN, report about the Paris goal of “below 2 degrees” as possible with the pledges by all countries. On the other hand, this seems absurd and just a propaganda in the eyes of many specialists: the IPCC CO2 budget for 1.5 degree will be gone i 5 years if we continue like now. How can you talk about 2050? And about “net zero”: saying nothing about real absolute emissions, counting in problematic offsetting, negative emission technologies and so on. This seems to be a strategy to put all real political actions onto the shoulders of the young generation.

Today is Gender Day at the COP and here is a picture from an action which focuses on young womens rights and future in a safe and just environment. The artwork was done by a young Syrian activist.

Here are some possible demands for COP26 from a feminist perspective:

#19 Monday, Nov 8, Evening


Next step to understand how to build up bottom up democratic grasroots political movements: an interview with the people who built the “momentum” movement which linked the UK Labour party to the idea of the Green New Deal and the principle of climate justice. Even if I see problems with the GND concept and aspects of party politics in general and this kind of parties more specific, this is a textbook example of how democracy can be deepened, focusing on intersectional dimensions (working class, PoC, gender, youth). Some principles: working in local communities; letting the people lead themselves; starting with listening to the citizens problems; what matters to them. Working together in these communities towards new politics (Kate Raworth’ Doughnut economics as an example); and: linking every theme (health; economy; transport; food etc) to social and climate justice. For example: if jobs are needed, maybe they can be created within a local community-owned sustainable business instead of a multinational big enterprise. And so on. This leads to educational effects so that the locals understand their own problems and power better and create the solutions together, adressing systemic political change.

#18 Sunday, Nov 7, Good night


In the afternoon, the Demand Climate Justice network DCJ had its COP half-time meeting in the rooms of the university.

We discussed the outcomes of the COP so far, possible actions in the blue zone during the week and possible reactions in the end of the COP conference.

The biggest challenge comes from the “net zero 2050” framing by most countries which wont lead to real emission reductions now and reproduces injustice – which is not really challenged in the media.

Here is a statement by DCJ and many other movements/networks and organisations:

#17 Sunday, Nov 7, Evening


Here are some impressions from yesterday. Marches will not change politics – or at least not alone. They are important, as political socialisation moments for young people and for other reasons. But as research about historical systemic change shows, some aspects of civil disobedience is needed to bring forward real transformation. That is why FFF and XR were influential in a very different way than the climate movement during the last 30 years – they focus on mass civil disobedience; and not only in the form of “action days” but for real, every week or in consecutive days (XR in April 2019). That is why the influence of NGOs on FFF and XR can be dangerous, pushing them into the direction of traditional actions like marches instead of strikes.

#16 Sunday, Nov 7, Lunch

Glasgow. There is so much happening that I have to write down more thoughts when I am back home in Stockholm.

For now: I will attend the Demand Climate Justice network meeting this afternoon and try to understand how to go on building PeopleFF on a global scale.

Yesterday evening, some of us were discussing the next steps of the climate movement (or systemic change) at a Pub with I am quite sceptic about some parts but it was interesting. So, I would like to develop in the next days some thoughts about how not to loose the strength of the civil disobedience movements FFF and XR and how to build bottom up democratic movements – and how to link them to the existing initiatives like the fossil treaty and the NGOs without everything becoming a nice blurry soup which doesnt change anything. This seems to me to be a real danger.

#15 Saturday, Nov 6, Lunch

Glasgow. The peoples march starts now at lunch time. There is a youth part and an indigenous part and tens of other groups uniting.

#15 Friday, Nov 5, Evening

Glasgow. Tens of thousands of young people were today leaving school and joining the climate strike. With unbelievable creativity and wit:

Here is an impression of the march: the people from the most affected areas leading; FFF activists from all over the world.

#15 Friday, Nov 5, Morning

Glasgow. Today is Friday. Strike day.

Here is a text some of us wrote who are at uni and take the crisis seriously for reminding the unis role in the whole problem:

#14 Thursday, Nov 4, Morning

Glasgow. Just now in the morning, FFF is joining the unions in mutual solidarity – some of the unions will join the youth strike tomorrow Friday.

This is a part of the broad peoples movement building which is done by the the whole FF movement. There is a working group even in Sweden for the cooperation with the unions. The main topics are: how to see, define and mobilise for a strike, even for the workers. And: how to see and form the just transition needed for all workers in all fields of the fossil society which has to change drastically towards a sustainable one. This is done on a national and global level, us working together with ITUC and other networks. Without international organisation, there wont be a just transition, one could say.

The challenges are immense. We have to phase out all fossil infrastructure with >7 percent per year, says the production gap report by SEI in Stockholm. This means that whole economies which are the most important ones in some countries have to close down or change.

#13 Wednesday, Nov 3, Lunch

Glasgow. Listening to a debate leading to the negotiations on climate finance. There are two huge problems.

1 It is still not clear neither how much is directed towards a) mitigation (emission reduction programs), b) adaptation to the changing climate and c) to the help for the damages already happened. All is interlinked. (The money not invested in emission reduction will cause a need for money for loss and damages.) It is not even clear in which form this financial fundament is delivered, in which way state and private sector are working together etc.; not even if the money is given in form of loans or grants and so on.

2 The second problem is that there is the history in the room of global inequity, exploatation, colonialism and existing economic structures which are giving huge advantages to the global North. Almost nobody talks about how to deal with this in financial terms.

My approach is to link this question to the building of a global system to provide an unconditional basic income/services/resources for everyone. As long as people must fear for their existence, we cant change the societies drastically and get out of the fossil society. And a lot of people have not even enough food to eat or sanitary facilities. So, how to build this system of reparation and global basic inome?

#12 Wednesday, Nov 3, Morning

Glasgow. Yesterday was a truly chaotic day but behind the chaos, there are power relations. Here is a good possible explanation of what is going on:

#11 Tuesday, Nov 2, Good night

Glasgow. Here is a speech which gives – within the COP framework which one can question – a summary of what the most vulnerbale nations demand:

#10 Tuesday, Nov 2, Evening


There is so much going on during a COP day – and at the same time, the feeling is still that nothing decesive happens. In terms of negotiations, we had today some decisions about forests and methane but the devil is in the detail. I will come back some day with a comment on these details. Hundreds of press conferences and talks and presentations are going on simultaneously in the blue zone. Thousands of researchers and acitivists, bussiness people and media are there. But the space is built in a way so that you have the feeling of separation: no big common entrance hall like in Madrid so that there is no natural place to make an action. And so on. Here is a link to a daily update about all politics going on, written by CAN which is the worlds probably largest climate/ecol. network umbrella organisation.

It is not easy to understand how to set another agenda, obviously. XR blocked for a while the entrance to the building – which had som effect. At least the media wrote about it and stressed the concept of fear for extinction. FFF did a little action highlighting the betrayal by the world politicians: the emissions still going up since 25 years instead of going drastically down. And Indias and Chinas targets of net zero 2070 and 2060 are not helpful…

One possibility would be to organize an action as researchers with RINGO as framework. If all scientists together stand up, it has an effect. That is why we built up Scientists For Future. But the best way to go, so my intuition, is to build the peoples movement. That is why I started to do interviews with activists and researchers about the way how they see the People For Future global grassroots movements “project”, the challenges ahead and possible ways to drive the movement forward.

#9 Tuesday, Nov 2, Lunch

Glasgow. About power: here is the last “border” within the COP which separates the negotiation spaces to the left from the huge spaces with all countries pavilions, press conference spaces, ringo youngo etc offices, restaurants and so on to the right. All this is located within the blue zone for which you need a badge representing an organization.

#8 Tuesday, Nov 2, Morning


Strange enough: in the main room, the earth seems to threaten the people below. There are different ways to describe this relationship.

#7 Monday, Nov 1, Lunch

London – Glasgow. There was so much rain yesterday that the trains couldnt go the whole way up to Glasgow. Everything looks flooded.

Extinction Rebellion entering the train in Wigan on the way to Glasgow. There were many actions by XR yesterday in Sweden, blocking planes from taking off.

My take on this kind of activism is the following: we need a peoples movement standing up at some point, using even civil disobedience. Historical systemic change has not happened, or seldom, without a borad part of the population standing up. And what we need, is systemic change: drastic reducing the emissions, keeping the fossils in the ground and reorganizing our economies so that we can redefine what is valuable beyond structures of dominance (gender, ethnicity, class, colonial past).

So, the task is to mobilize a broad part of the population. Often activists talk about 3% willing to engage in civil disobedience which are needed to produce societal change. But these numbers come from transformations which took place not in modern formal democracies. One could argue that we need to be a stronger movement than that. That is why People For Future is directing itself to all, literally the whole population. And doing popular education about the crises, as FFF does. It can be the necessary first step to “join” the FF movements, using the hashtag #PeopleForFuture, posting on social media, building up local groups, making an emergency break/brake on Fridays. And be prepared to stand up even with civil disobedience. To create together a sustainable future shouldnt be perceived as strange but as an essential part of everyones life.

In this sense, one could welcome every action and movement which lead to this broad people’s uprising.

A sketch, a very old and bad one, but a sketch at least, for such a peoples movement is here:

#6 Monday, Nov 1, Morning

Brussels – London – Glasgow.

Today, the so called World Leaders Summit will take place in parallel to the negotiations.

What they, the so called leaders could announce, would be that they came to Glasgow with new NDCs, national plans about how to reduce the emissions – so that the total sum is in line with Paris and the tiny CO2 budget of 300 Gt left if we want to stay below 1.5 degrees warming. This theme is, probably, the most important one. Or would have been. Could have been.

But during the last year, there was almost no focus on it. Both from the governments of all countries (because most of them want to talk about empty net zero 2050 targets) – and not either from the climate movement, the most influential NGOs at least – which I think was and is a big failure. I explain soon what happened instead.

Some wanted to priotize it, the pressure upon govts for new specific plans for all countries. We initiated early on with a group of ScientistsForFuture the work on a statement for different climate goals and plans for the EU (away from 2050 goals towards real action). We, almost hundred professors etc, published the statement and tried to build up pressure. Few followed up and we ended with an indeed absurd FitFor55 plan by the EU – which needs to act as leader. FitFor55 means not even an 30% reduction of emissions during the next ten years.

A huge part of the climate movement focused on the divestment demand instead, the demand towards big banks and funds to invest only in non fossil businesses. I will later on write more about this aspect of our fight against the fossil society but for now I would like to stress that there was not enough pressure on govts by the people to change their NDCs. We can change that.

One reason for this lack of global pressure on the national govts is exactly that this combination of peoples pressure and national regulation is tricky (different from easy divestment campaigns). One aspect of this challenge is that we dont have created a solidaric global poeples movement yet – which could speak up in every country for a global justice perspective. But this is exactly what is needed.

In this sense, it is much easier for some NGOs to target banks or businesses instead of governments and legislation – but it was the fundamental change happening through Fridays For Future and Extinction Rebellion to challenge the parliaments. And not to go for businesses as NGO had done in tens of years.

We need a peoples movement targeting legislation – and we need to be careful that the huge american NGOs dont interfere with the youth movement and XR with the strategy for them to become traditional NGOs.

#5 Sunday, 31 Oct, Evening

I am curious about the group of friends which worked since COP25 in Madrid with a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty.

The idea is to treat fossil fuels as we treat nuclear weapons – as the most dangerous threat. The solution: to create an international treaty which puts an immediate end to all new fossil infrastructure (coal, gas, oil) and to coordinate the drastic process of phasing out the existing infrastructure with global justice. There are plenty of side-events and press conferences aimed to present the idea during the two weeks.

#4 Sunday, 31 Oct, Afternoon

Watching the opening of COP from a overcrowded train station in Hamburg. 30 min late. Missing my train to Brussels.

#3 Sunday, 31 Oct, Morning

Leaving Copenhagen to Brussels.

What happened yesterday evening?

FFF called out the president of the whole COP, the former UK minister Alok Sharma, when he tried to give a speech at YOUNGOs meeting. See here:

YOUNGO is one of 9 so called official NGO constituencies which are a part of the COP/UNFCCC.

It represents the youth of the world, so to say. YOUNGO played a huge role when FFF was built up by the young ones, in a kind of dialectical way. Some of the driving youth were part of or at least taking part in YOUNGO activities at COP in Kattowice 2018 – a lot of them not really satisfied and convinced about YOUNGOs methods and inputs, but learning from its decision making processes and knowledge base.

I myself am part of the constituency called RINGO. It unites the researchers. Maybe we will, as ScientistsFF, see and initiate a similar action, making clear that we dont accept the status quo of COP negotiations any more. After 26 years, the method of silent disagreement is not enough anymore.

We as RINGOs or YOUNGOs have “observer status” during the formal negotiations of the delegations of all countries, and thereby access to the spaces of power. But we have no right to negotiate ourselves. We can talk to our delegations, make arguments clearer, leave in protest and so on. But the decision is in the hand of the delegations which come with a very specific mandate by their government which is in line with what the parliament decided.

Most FFF youth are in Glasgow without a formal accreditation or as part of the ENGOs, the environmental NGOs. Not a lot of Swedish youth are part of YOUNGO.

“The three largest constituencies, Environmental NGOs (ENGOs), Research and Independent NGOs (RINGOs), and Business and Industry NGOs (BINGOs) group about 80% of all NGOs; each of the other groups accounts for around 2% of NGOs or less (representing local governments and municipal authorities (LGMAs), indigenous peoples organisations (IPOs), trade unions (TUNGOs), farmers, women and gender, or youth (YOUNGOs)). About 75% of the observer organisations are headquartered in Annex I countries, of which approximately a third are in the US.” (

Already this overview shows how undemocratic the processes are going on, the global South not represented alike.

#2 Saturday, 30 Oct

Leaving home.

First part: Stockholm – Malmö – Copenhagen.

Getting good news from the young Swedish Fridays For Future ones being on their journey: some already in London, some in Brussels, some in Amsterdam, some still in Stockholm and Göteborg. Most of them will arrive in Glasgow tonight and meet their peers, from FFF Glasgow and all over the world. They don’t accept the political inaction.

A lot of them used:

I will today just link to two inputs about what COP should be.

The first one is written by the Demand Climate Justice network:

And the second one is a utopian input which I recorded in an improvised lecture before I left Stockholm:

Good night everyone!

#1 Friday, 30 Oct

This is just the beginning.

United standing up as civil society in front of the Swedish parliament.

Backing up the FFF young ones fighting for their and our future. And their peers everywhere.

But also speaking up for ourselves, the grown-up climate justice and ecological movement. And even more than that: uniting indigenous movements, ecological organizations, grassroots movements, people from all corners of society (university, school, religion, parents…), literally thousands.

Reading our text to the politicians which formulates what has to be done to create a safe, just, and sustainable future, following the science and the Paris agreement. It took months to unite so many huge organizations behind a common new political framework. Sweden can and has to change.

Now, the journey to Glasgow can begin, as an activist and university researcher.

And the big question will be: is it possible to create a global democratic grassroots movement? Of millions of people? Standing up against the fossil society and the people in power which keep it in place? Standing up, every day, every week, every Friday at lunch especially, for a new relationship to each other and nature?

So that everyone has enough resources from now on to live a life in dignity (maybe a global income/services), stopping the enormous suffering? For a new global democratic framework? Focusing on and giving the lead to the ones most affected by the crises?

How to do that? How to build on all attempts already existing? What kind of organizational structures are needed, what kind of actions, of civil disobedience? And: how to meet these friends and allies?

Day 1- Saturday, 30 Okt.

Leaving home.

Getting good news from the young Swedish Fridays For Future ones being on their journey: some already in London, some in Brussels, some in Amsterdam, some still in Stockholm and Göteborg. Most of them will arrive in Glasgow tonight and meet their peers, from FFF Glasgow and all over the world. They don’t accept the political inaction.

First part: Stockholm – Malmö – Copenhagen.

I will today just link to two inputs about what COP should be. The first one is written by the Demand Climate Justice network:

And the second one is a utopian input which I recorded in an improvised lecture before I left Stockholm: