About Code Red in general

Who or what is Code Red ?

Code Red is a movement for civil disobedience actions founded by activists, students, grandparents and active citizens, supported by various organisations and action groups such as Greenpeace, Youth for Climate, Grandparents for Climate, Exctinction Rebellion, Réseau ADES, Peace Action, Ineos Will Fall, Stop Alibaba and Gauche Anticapitaliste.

Anyone ready to use civil disobedience to bring about a fossil-free society and fairer climate policies is welcome.

Code Red is inspired by similar action platforms abroad, such as Ende Gelände, which are mobilising thousands of people for disruptive actions of civil disobedience in a plea for a just and fossil-free society.

Why are this movement and planned actions needed? Have the climate marches and other actions of the climate movement failed?

Certainly not. Millions of concerned people took to the streets in recent years for ambitious and fair climate and social action. We are seeing progress. But real, systemic change is yet to come, while the climate derails before our eyes and the living conditions of more and more residents deteriorate. We really are now in Code Red.

Major changes in history often came about after mass actions of civil disobedience. Ordinary people willing to protest and break the law to push through change together. Non-violent, but determined. That is also our plan with Code Red .

Where exactly are you going to take action? What are you going to do?

We will communicate about that when the time is right, we still like to keep a bit of mystery 🙂

Code Red’s actions will always target fossil polluters, and we already gave a hint in May by announcing that our second action will target Engie.

What do you expect? What are your demands?

Code Red works for a society where big polluters no longer have free rein, where everyone has fair access to energy and where citizens are supported to move away from climate-polluting fossil fuels. A society where publicly owned renewable energy leads to less pollution, less dependence on unreliable regimes and more peace. A society where the transition to sustainable renewable energy includes everyone, including the most vulnerable. A society with more social equality, respect for everyone’s fundamental rights, lower energy bills, sustainable and safe jobs in a climate-friendly industry, more quality of life and better future prospects for our children and grandchildren.

On this page you will find the demands of Code Rouge.

About aviation

Why exactly are you targeting aviation?

While it’s not a secret for anybody that aviation is disastrous for the climate, maintains precarious working conditions, and has a harmful impact on nature, agriculture and health, the industry still benefits from numerous tax breaks and receives millions in subsidies. As a result, the industry keeps growing beyond planetary boundaries for the enjoyment of the 1% responsible for over half of passenger flight emissions. Yet it is the global majority of marginalised, financially precarious and racialised communities that pay the price. It is high time to start curbing down the aviation industry and make it undergo a radical turn, putting people and the planet first.

What is your solution?

While we will come out with a more detailed list of demands closer to the action, we currently put forward three measures: an immediate end to aviation subsidies, a ban on private jets and the radical degrowth of the aviation sector.


  • Ending aviation subsidies are an easy solution to limiting the unsustainable growth of the aviation industry, as this sector has thus far benefited from unjust tax breaks and subsidies that stimulated such growth.
  • Private jets are the most polluting form of transportation and inherently unjust, as it is the global majority who suffer the climate impact of the escapades by a small minority of ultra rich.
  • The most effective solution to limit the climate impact of the aviation sector is simply to drastically reduce the number of flights globally by 2030. While technological fixes might allow us to somewhat reduce the impact of planes, they do nothing for the critical years up until 2030 nor provide a sufficient solution to the problem.
So you claim you’ve never taken the plane before? Hypocrite!

Code Red targets the aviation sector – not people flying. We don’t want to stigmatise people taking a plane, as often we don’t have any other choice. Diasporas and displaced peoples often have no other way to connect with their families. And for European journeys, train tickets are on average 2.6 times as expensive as plane tickets for the same journey, making it largely unaffordable for many people to take a train. It is not consumers who are to blame for this – it is our government’s subsidies and tax breaks as well as aggressive pricing strategies from the industry that are the driver of this. Therefore, we target the aviation industry – not people flying – with this action.

We have to admit that yes, many of the activists participating in Code Red’s actions have taken a plane before. Today we do everything we can to limit our impact on the planet, and that includes trying not to fly anymore. But there’s only so much you can do as an individual, when the government is subsidizing the sector with the very taxes you pay! At the same time, one private jet flight of 4 hours emits as much CO2 as an average Belgian household in a year. Individual actions matter, but we need systemic change in order to obtain significant reductions in emissions from this polluting system. Therefore we call for a ban on private jets and an end to aviation subsidies, amongst others, to make a substantial difference on a systemic level.

Airports are sensitive locations in terms of security – how will you ensure that you won’t cause major security risks because of your action?

Our actions are carefully designed in such a way that we can ensure the security of all people in and around the site of the action. Our actions will not endanger anyone, respect the physical  integrity of every person and inform about the safety rules in the area of action that are linked to the presence of fossil fuels. We will remain calm, assertive and look out for each other. Although fossil infrastructures must be dismantled, we will not seek to cause  irreversible damage to equipment or infrastructure.

But isn’t aviation only a small proportion of global greenhouse gas emissions?

Because aviation is the fastest growing source of emissions from transport. Projections are showing that emissions will triple by 2050 if the industry doesn’t change course soon. That would represent a quarter of the global carbon budget left for a 1.5° C scenario. So if we don’t curb the growth of aviation soon, it will make up a significant portion of global CO2 emissions – not to speak of the other climate-derailing effects of aviation such as the emissions of nitrogen oxides, soot and vapor trails. Aside from the fast-growing climate impact of aviation, many of the flights are also simply not necessary for people to live good lives. The excess of touristic flights, the growing trend of e-commerce shipped by air fright, and the booming private jet business are all expendable in a human- and planet-centric economy. It will be much harder to curb aviation emissions when they’re already making up a quarter of the global carbon budget as projected for 2050. Therefore it’s essential we intervene now!

What about sustainable aviation fuels and the electrification of airplanes?

Sustainable aviation fuels and the electrification of airplanes are the go-to answer from the aviation industry when asked about their climate impact, but these are still very hypothetical stories today. First of all, there are simply not enough sustainable aviation fuels produced to make a significant difference, with projections showing that SAF will make up only 19% of airline fuels by 2040. Sustainable aviation fuels are primarily a strategy of the industry to appear greener and a long term strategy to reduce emissions. Secondly, many dream of electrifying aviation but the widespread deployment of these technologies is almost impossible in the short term, as today’s aircrafts are far too heavy for this technology. Third, Electrical Vertical Take-Off and Landing is proposed as a solution. The problem here is that it’s by far the most inefficient way to travel electrically, and would compete with other sectors for scarce resources for batteries making it hardly a step forward.

In other words: the technological fixes proposed by the aviation industry are mostly a distant pipedream which does nothing for reducing aviation’s climate impact in the short term. These technological solutions will at best lightly reduce emissions from aviation, but they will at the same time compete with other sectors that gravely need the same scarce resources for essential services to our societies today. Unlike aviation which is largely expendable – think of private jet flights and short distance flights. Scientists all agree that the only way to limit aviation emissions in the short term is to shrink the sector significantly. Given we are fast approaching irreversible tipping points, it is short-term solutions such as shrinking aviation that we need today.

So now you’re taking away our holidays too?

Today Europeans are being pushed onto planes rather than trains for their holidays, because of the simple fact of pricing. International train journeys are on average over twice as expensive as flights, so we cannot blame people to take a flight rather than a train. This pricing differential is  not your fault, so of course we don’t blame you. It is primarily due to our governments’ preferential treatment for airlines in the form of tax breaks and subsidies, as well as investments in airline infrastructure. So we look first and foremost to our government to rectify this injustice and make train travel for holidays across Europe easy and affordable. One of our solutions is for instance a Climate Ticket – a single ticket that gives you access to all forms of public transport across the country until just over the border, for a very affordable price. This was a major success already in Germany and Austria, and could be rolled out across Europe to make travelling by train more accessible and attractive than travelling by plane. Then everyone can get to beautiful places in a sustainable way.

Over civil disobedience

You are announcing that you will conduct a mass civil disobedience action. Do you not expect heavy police repression?

We choose to communicate publicly and mobilise for a major action of civil disobedience. We are doing this to make the action accessible to all. Our action will follow the principles of non-violent direct action and we are counting on the police to understand our rationale and resepct the constitutional right to protest.

And what if the police do decide to intervene with repression?

We don’t assume they will. But of course Code Red will inform all participants about the risks in any action of civil disobedience. There are a lot of people in our movement with experience of this kind of action. Before, during and after the action, Code Red will take care of the participants and watch over the non-violent principles of our action.

Who will be responsible for any problems or legal consequences for the participants in the action?

Before, during and after the action, Code Red will take care of the participants. This includes support for any legal prosecution of non-violent citizens participating in the action. We are also counting on the solidarity and support of the broad Belgian climate movement.

Who can participate? Is this something only for radical activists?

Code Red was founded by a diverse group of grandparents and youth for climate, citizens’ movements, action groups and NGOs in the climate movement. The July action will offer different levels of engagement and be accessible to all. Not everyone who joins a climate march will also join an action of civil disobedience. But we do notice a growing dissatisfaction among many citizens about a lack of decisive action on climate and social policies by governments in this country. We invite them to join us in action!

With this kind of radical action, aren't you just feeding the anti-climate sentiment that exists among a lot of people? Aren't people likely to drop out?

Polls indicate that many Belgians are concerned about the consequences of the climate and energy crisis. But we understand that the current climate policy approach is alienating and causes tension. Everyone needs to be included in the transition away from fossil fuels. Moreover, big fossil polluters like TotalEnergies and Engie should no longer be given free rein. That is our message and we believe that a lot of Belgians agree with it.

The climate, energy, social and economic crisis keeps plunging more working- and middle-class families into financial trouble. Meanwhile, big and historic fossil polluters like TotalEnergies or Engie are thriving and making huge profits. Their greenwashing misleads and poisons our society. They are rewarded by politicians with bonuses and financial incentives to worsen the climate crisis, but their workers are left in the dark about their future.