Members of Extinction Rebellion Groups from Keynsham, Bath, Bristol and Wales gathered in Keynsham at the weekend, to highlight the urgency of the climate and nature crises.
The following ‘press release’ – and photographs – have been sent my way by Dave Searby.
He says of the protest: “In particular, they wanted to #TellTheTruth about the stance of local MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who recently stated that “every last drop of oil” should be extracted from the North Sea.
In the light of the existential crisis we face, Rees-Mogg’s statements are reckless.
They are also wrong:
Accelerating extraction in the North Sea will not help UK energy consumers – Fossil Fuel companies sell the oil and gas to the highest bidder on international markets, keep all the revenue, and are currently making eye-watering profits on which they pay almost no tax. Almost 80 percent of UK production of crude oil is exported and plays no part in our domestic energy security.
The demonstrators marched to the High Street where they staged a symbolic die-in and performed the powerful “drowning in oil” street theatre.
They also heard impassioned speeches from
Dr Gail Bradbrook – XR Co Founder ;
Dan Norris – WECA Metro Mayor ;
Theo Simon – Trade Unionist and Musician ;
Maggie Mason from Global Justice Now;
Professor Colin Davis – Bristol University experimental Psychologist
So why was this event needed?
- We have recently seen a string of extreme severe weather events that are almost certainly related to climate change – In April, parts of India recorded their highest average temperatures on record and South Africa recorded devastation floods, killing more than 450. Scientists have concluded that these were made far more likely, and other recent devastating exceptional events would have been “virtually impossible”, without climate change. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/may/13/south-africa-floods-climate-crisis-global-heating
- Back in May 2021, a report from the International Energy Agency, previously seen as a conservative body, concluded there could be no new oil or gas fields or coalmines if the world was to reach net zero by 2050.
- In April, shocked by the latest IPCC report that said it was “now or never” to start slashing emissions, Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, launched an outspoken attack on companies and governments whose climate actions did not match their words.
The government is failing to meet the challenge of climate change. As part of the recently announced measures, Rishi Sunak doubled tax relief to the oil companies for investments in new North Sea projects – effectively gifting them between £2.5bn and £5.7bn over three years.
This measure will leave us hooked on fossil fuels. If it had instead been invested in insulating 2m leaky homes, it could have given £342 a year savings per household and reduced greenhouse emissions.
Rich Prior of Extinction Rebellion Keynsham said: “We are seeing the dire impacts of climate change now – witness the severe flooding in Africa and Australia and extreme high temperatures in India. Accelerating extraction of oil and gas from the North Sea won’t provide relief for hard-pressed uk householders. A large programme of home insulation and accelerating transition to renewables and energy storage will provide jobs, better energy security and a chance of a liveable world”