Rig Rebellion 2.0: Extinction Rebellion Scotland interrupt First Minister’s Questions
January 09, 2020
- Neil Rothnie, a retired former North Sea oil worker asked“If the Scottish Government’s plans for the North Sea are replicated throughout the world’s oilfields, will the planet crash and burn in the lifetime of my granddaughters?”
- Eben asked; “My apologies for the second interruption. Glasgow is hosting the COP26 this year, where is the leadership from the Scottish Government and when will the Scottish government end its love affair with the fossil fuel industry?”
Today, Extinction Rebellion Scotland staged an interruption at First Minister’s Questions in the Scottish Parliament. As Australia burns, Jakarta floods and millions are displaced by climate change world wide, we are asking the Scottish Government to step up and be real leaders on tackling the climate crisis.
Eben from Edinburgh commented; “The Scottish Government claims that it does what’s best for the people of Scotland, but its love affair with the fossil fuel industry cannot be a part of its future. It’s not just ecocide, it’s suicide, and with the COP26 in Glasgow this year, the world is looking at Scotland for leadership. I’m taking part in this disruption because with no leadership in sight and ordinary people have to take action.”
This action was taken in solidarity with the Rig Rebels, the three women who scaled the Shell gas rig in Dundee Harbour on Monday 6th January, the VALARIS 122 rig. They occupied one of the legs for five hours. This rig is leased to Shell, who intend to drill for gas in the North Sea, and was scheduled to leave this week.
Driven by the severity of the crisis and potential worldwide suffering Shell and the rest of the fossil fuel industry’s actions are causing, these women put their safety and liberty on the line and took a stand, taking action with the aim of physically halting the planned extraction of more fossil fuels by Shell. The same Shell who, in the face of climate breakdown, are only increasing their output of oil and gas. The same Shell who have known since the ’80s that climate breakdown was inevitable if they continued their practices, and are now increasing their output by 35%.
We have three demands for the Scottish Government. We want the government to 1. tell the truth about the fossil fuel industry’s role in driving the climate crisis. We want governments to 2. act now to stop supporting the industry, wind it up and justly transition away from it. And we want workers, communities and the people of Scotland to make the decisions on how this is done, in a 3. legally binding Citizens Assembly. No more vested interests, no more executives out for their own profit at the table, no more lobbyists or shady think tanks.
Neil Rothnie, a former North Sea oil worker commented; “After a lifetime of good money, and now a pension from the oil and gas industry on the North Sea, I’m aware of the irony (but without any “wry amusement”) of my seeking the planned rundown of that industry – beginning now. What motivates me now is an overwhelming desire to protect my granddaughters and those with whom they’ll share their lives on the planet. But I don’t feel guilt about what I did. I was then, as oil and gas workers are today, just doing a job and keeping the lights on. I did what I did with the knowledge that I had at the time. But we need to have a discussion about our futures and other’s presents, the future of our children, their children, the planet and the role of oil and gas in producing greenhouse gasses that threaten climate chaos. The plans of the industry and the UK and Scottish Governments don’t square with the “climate emergency” they claim to understand. If every drop of oil and gas on the planet were to be produced and processed, life on earth would, as I understand the science, not survive. If the plan is “maximum economic recovery” of the North Sea’s oil and gas, why should it be any different anywhere else on the planet? An independent fossil fuelled Scotland? There needs to be a discussion.”
The fossil fuel industry want us to believe they are an asset to our economy, that we need them. This is just not true. The fossil fuel industry worldwide receives five trillion dollars in subsidies each year. That’s 10 million a minute. Shell avoided paying corporate income tax in the UK in 2018 despite generating pretax profits of 731 million dollars. They pay their CEO 143 times what their average worker receives. And as Australia burns, Shell are celebrating the discovery of a massive gas field off the country’s western coast.
More actions are taking place around Scotland over the next two weeks. Follow us on social media for more updates.
About Extinction Rebellion Scotland
Extinction Rebellion Scotland is a non-violent direct-action movement formed to take urgent action in the face of climate emergency and ecological catastrophe, as part of the global justice movement.
Our demands, issued as a Declaration of Rebellion to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government on 24 November 2018, are as follows:
- That the Scottish government tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, acknowledge and reverse any policies that help drive the climate crisis, and commit to enabling a rapid and just transition to a sustainable and fair society.
- That the Scottish government enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, including by replacing a system based on accelerating consumption with one based on ensuring the well-being of all.
- The creation of a Scottish Climate Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose and a society that cares for all.
Read more about Extinction Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth