Protestors are demanding Government listens to the people and bans all fossil fuels investments now.
Eco-campaigners have broken into ExxonMobil’s Fawley Oil terminal in Hampshire today (28 October), just three days before the COP26 Climate Summit, to demand that the Government listens to the people and stops all fossil fuel investments NOW.
The protestors, who include British Olympians Laura Baldwin and Etienne Stott, are also calling for Exxon Mobil to stop its major expansion plans at Fawley Oil Refinery.
Around 15 Extinction Rebellion activists gained entry to the site early this morning, under cover of darkness, cutting the electrified perimeter fences surrounding the terminal and spreading across the site in small groups to lock on to structures across the site.
Seven of the protestors have scaled two 50-foot oil silos and unfurled two banners, which proclaim: Climate Emergency and No Future in Fossil Fuels.
Another group of activists, including British Olympians Laura Baldwin and Etienne Stott, are chained to a pink boat, The Beverly Geronimo, on a trailer, which is blockading the main entrance to the site.
Laura Baldwin, Olympic sailor, coach and environmental protector, from Portland, said: “I am a deeply protective mother, moved to take direct action in a desperate bid to force this suicidal system to change in time to limit the climate crisis worsening and slipping past the point of no return. Watching the news this summer was horrifying and heart-breaking, witnessing catastrophic climate impacts killing people on every continent of the globe. That we, as tax payers are actually funding, through subsidies, the toxic and deadly oil industry is beyond absurd and it must stop now.”
Etienne Stott, 42, Olympic Gold Medallist at London 2012,who lives in Nottingham, added: “I think it’s totally wrong that oil companies continue to put their profits ahead of everyone’s right to a future on a living planet. We need our government to rein in these rogue companies as a matter of urgency and show to the world ahead of COP26 that the UK is prepared to take a genuine leadership position.”
The protestors are demanding the government listens to the people. They point to mounting evidence the public want more radical action than the Government is offering to tackle climate breakdown.
This month the Climate Consensus, a survey of over 22,000 people across the UK, commissioned by Demos, revealed that between 77% and 94% of respondents back a carbon tax on polluting industries, higher levies on flying and grants for heat pumps to help tackle the climate crisis. A speed limit of 60mph on motorways and a campaign to reduce meat eating by 10% were also among the most popular measures.
A YouGov survey for Global Witness shows that more than two thirds (67%) of the British public across all sectors of the population, want to see the UK as world leader on climate change, with 65% wanting the Government to shift the subsidies it provides to domestic oil and gas companies to support the expansion of renewable energy and improve the energy efficiency of people’s homes. Only 7% opposed these measures.
Yet still the Government turns a deaf ear to the electorate, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget speech this week almost devoid of any reference to the climate crisis and, just three days before the UK hosts the crucial COP26 climate summit, he announces the halving of taxes on domestic flights, which are already far cheaper and more polluting than trains.
The Fawley activists are demanding the Government listen to the nation and raise the bar as the host of the COP26 Climate Summit next week by announcing an immediate end to all fossil fuel investment, a move which would strengthen its hand in demanding radical action from world leaders.
Scientific evidence shows we are approaching the point of no return. Earlier this year UN secretary general, António Guterres warned that the recent IPCC report on the climate crisis is nothing less than “Code Red” for humanity. He added: “We are at the verge of the abyss.”
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has also warned that exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields and the building of coal-fired power stations must stop this year if the world is to stay within safe limits of global heating and meet the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
The campaigners also condemn ExxonMobil’s massive expansion of its diesel production facilities at Fawley, despite the banning of all combustion powered vehicle sales by 2030, and the laying of a new, larger bore pipeline to supply Heathrow and other airports with ever greater quantities of fossil fuel, despite the unequivocal science that states we need to drastically reduce emissions.
Evidence shows that ExxonMobil has known about the devastating effects of fossil fuel production on the environment for over 40 years, concluding in 1979 that it “will cause dramatic environmental effects” in the coming decades and saying “the potential problem is great and urgent”.
A student activist and sailor from Brighton, warned: “We are speeding towards an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. The government must ban any new fossil fuel investment. Anything less and we fall off the cliff and condemn the next generation to the greatest level of suffering in human history and the greatest injustice. For the health of our planet, for the health of our children: science cannot be disputed, so now is the time to act.”
A special educational needs tutor from Oxfordshire, added: “I am here to stand up for what is right. Our Earth, our home is on fire, and all we hear from our Government is ‘blah, blah, blah’ – empty promises and failed targets. If you want a liveable future, I encourage you to stand with us.”
And a mechanical engineer from Sussex, said he had acted in fear for his children’s future. He said: “We have two young children. It breaks my heart to think how our collective failure to act on the climate crisis is going to impact their generation. The Government’s action is not enough. I can’t stand by. I have to do what I can.”
At the very least says Extinction Rebellion, there must be no new investment in fossil fuel infrastructure. The group says its immediate demand to government is: Stop all fossil fuel investment NOW.
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