Fossil-fuel lobbyists are using the war in Ukraine to push for new drilling, fracking and exploration just a week after the latest IPCC climate report lays stark the inevitability of human suffering for billions of people if governments fail to rapidly transform their energy policies away from fossil fuels.
In a recent report the International Energy Agency has backed up the advice to governments that there should be no more investment in fossil fuel projects if the world is to meet its “carbon budget”.
Last month the UK’s own Climate Change Commission wrote to business minister Kwasi Kwarteng telling him that “An end to UK exploration would send a clear signal to investors and consumers that the UK is committed to the 1.5°C global temperature goal. That would also help the UK in its diplomatic efforts to strengthen climate ambition internationally …”
But Rishi Sunak is reportedly pushing for six new North Sea oil fields, telling Mr. Kwarteng to fast-track their licensing.
As Russia attacks Ukraine, Cuadrilla CEO Francis Egan has taken the opportunity to call for a reversal on the government moratorium on fracking which has just seen his failed Preston New Road site plugged and abandoned.
Last October, the UK government published its own Net Zero Strategy which warns of mass migration, crop failure, and catastrophic climate tipping points if we fail to meet the 1.5ºC warming limit, but a mixture of climate deniers and many of the same lobbyists who were behind the Brexit campaign are fighting back. Nigel Farage has just launched a new campaign ‘Vote Power Not Poverty’ which wants to give the public a false binary choice between higher fuel bills or climate action in a new referendum.
At the launch of the IPCC report, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that he’d seen many scientific reports in his time “but nothing like this”. With “nearly half of humanity living in the danger zone NOW”, “delay means death”. In a call to arms, he said “now is the time to turn rage into action…every voice can make a difference and every second counts”.
Escalating war or ramping up domestic fossil fuel production are both strategies that will end in catastrophe.
In the coming weeks, massive civil disobedience is planned by new direct action groupJust Stop Oil, and in April Extinction Rebellion will be on the streets of London and other major cities round the world. Their message must encompass de-escalation and peaceful rebellion against the oligarchs (East and West) who are leading us to hell.
On Friday, led by Ukrainian activists, nearly 500 organisations across the world signed an open letter to governments asking them to ban Russian oil imports but ALSO to rapidly phase out all fossil fuels in the name of peace.