Retired oil worker and XR Scotland activist Neil Rothnie responds to the recently published XR strategy for 2022. Neil argues that the strategy is weakened by not making specific reference to the North Sea when North Sea Oil and Gas remains at the heart of both the UK and Scottish governments energy strategies.
Begin a planned rundown of North Sea oil and gas production without delay.
That’s a real ‘demand’ and is directed at the UK oil industry and the UK and Scottish Governments.
North Sea oil and gas is a major contributor to the greenhouse gases that are the UK’s contribution to global heating.
So why does the Extinction Rebellion UK Strategy 2022, on the fossil economy, make no mention of North Sea oil and gas?
The new 2022 strategy document talks instead about End(ing) The Fossil Fuel Economy in general, and specifically demands No New Fossil Fuel Investment, No New Fossil Fuel Licences, and an End (to) Fossil Fuel Subsidies Now.
But – End the Fossil Fuel Economy – is not a demand. It’s a slogan! And the three specific demands could be met in full today without making a jot of difference to the climate catastrophe that’s unfolding.
Because without one more penny being invested in the North Sea, without one more licence issued, and without a penny more in public subsidy, everything is already in place to ensure that North Sea oil and gas fields will, unless someone puts a stop to it, produce more than the UK’s share of global greenhouse gases that will heat the atmosphere to way over +1.5 degrees, and trigger the irreversible climate change that leads, according to the science as I understand it, to mass extinctions of life forms on the planet.
A similar scenario is set to be repeated all over the world. In Norway, the Gulf of Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Russia, the China’s coalfields, etc etc. So, it’s a global problem that has to be addressed in each locality.
In the UK, we have a responsibility to begin to choke back North Sea oil and gas production. In the US the responsibility to end fracking and wind down hydrocarbon production from the Gulf of Mexico falls, in the main, to Americans. In Russia to Russians . . .
We must have the confidence that the peoples in each and every other fossil production zone will act at least as decisively as we will. We can talk to them and encourage them, but above all we need to lead by example. The main enemy is at home. It’s our responsibility to fight our corner.
And the biggest support we can give to the masses of people in the global south who face climate chaos earlier and harder than us, is to end North Sea oil and gas production.
One massive implication of “disappearing” North Sea Oil and Gas from a UK strategy for fossil fuels is that you also “disappear” the North Sea oil and gas workers and their rights and their responsibilities.
Oil & gas production is going to go. Sooner rather than later if the climate and our grandchildren are to have a chance. Oil workers must not be shafted like the coal miners were before them.
If you are an oil and gas worker. a climate activist, a trade unionist – if you live in a community that hosts the industry and the workers – or if you’re young and fearful for your future, put your name to our demands*.
- No more redundancies of oil and gas workers.
- Workers whose jobs are threatened as the oil industry is wound down, must be furloughed until they are retrained and re-employed.
- North Sea wind jobs must be made to pay North Sea wage rates.
*These three demands are still in draft but will form part of a new Scot.E3 campaign in 2022.