Protesters stage mock oil spill at Holyrood as they demand climate action

Climate activists have staged a mock oil spill outside the Scottish Parliament as they demanded an end to fossil fuels and action on soaring energy bills.

Extinction Rebellion Edinburgh activists poured oil outside the building on Friday and demanded the Scottish Government categorically withdrew support for any new fossil fuel-related exploration or development licences.

Protesters also called on Holyrood to urgently implements policies to decarbonise Scotland’s homes and increase investment in renewable energy sources by a factor of at least five.

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As part of the demonstration, a model oil and gas barrel were placed outside the building and activists held a sign reading: “No future in fossil fuels.”

Protestors outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh demonstrating against the UK's largest-ever price rises in fossil fuels.Protestors outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh demonstrating against the UK's largest-ever price rises in fossil fuels.
Protestors outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh demonstrating against the UK's largest-ever price rises in fossil fuels.

Before the protest, Mike Grant, a retired army officer, said the “evidence of the harm that fossil fuel has already done and will continue to do to everything on this planet has been crystal clear for a long time”.

He said: “With Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, the West’s addiction to Russian energy drives the cost of living for many vulnerable people into another crisis, one completely beyond our control and one where we are at the mercy of a brutal dictator.

“As was said of the former Soviet Union, we must consign fossil fuels to the ash heap of history and do so with real urgency.”

Edinburgh architect Simon Clark said that the “fossil fuel industry has brought us into a climate crisis”.

“At the same time, it has enriched faceless, foreign oligarchs and the already-wealthy whilst imposing record-breaking price rises on hard-pressed, working families across the country,” he said.

The protest comes on the day households across the country have seen their energy bills hiked, with the annual energy price cap set by Ofgem increased to almost £2,000 for an average home.

And there could be a further rise in the price cap in October, the Office for Budget Responsibility has warned.

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Extinction Rebellion Edinburgh said they were protesting against “the UK’s largest-ever price rises in fossil fuels and the lack of effective Government policies to reduce their impact or future likelihood”.

The group said the “climate crisis has merged seamlessly with the cost-of-living crisis and the West’s dependence on Russian oil and gas to create a perfect storm for a country so recently battered by record winds and flooding from Storms Dudley, Eunice, and Franklin”.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We have called repeatedly on the UK Government, who have the power to act in this instance, to urgently re-assess all approved oil licences where drilling has not yet commenced against our climate commitments.

“We are investing more than £160 million this year to help make Scotland’s homes and buildings warmer and more efficient as part of our £1.8 billion commitment in this Parliament. Our target is to decarbonise heating in over a million homes by 2030 and raise energy efficiency standards for all homes over the same period: tackling fuel poverty and climate change together.

“We are focused on reducing reliance on fossil fuels while accelerating the deployment of renewable energy still further. Our plans include more than doubling the country’s onshore wind capacity and supporting the world’s largest floating offshore wind leasing round.

“ScotWind puts Scotland at the forefront of the global development of offshore wind and represents a massive step forward in our transition to net zero.”

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