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Extinction Rebellion Forres repeat banner protest over A96 to raise awareness of climate change

By Garry McCartney

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The view from the road approaching the Kinloss/Elgin/Forres roundabout.
The view from the road approaching the Kinloss/Elgin/Forres roundabout.

PROTESTERS returned to a local footbridge over the A96 to raise awareness of the world's climate emergency.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) Forres joined the global environmental movement on a second series of UK-wide awareness actions, repeating their August contribution with banners pronouncing the message 'No Future In Fossil Fuels'.

Local XR spokesman, Simon Clark, confirmed some of the branch's 150 members took turns to man the bridge from 7am to 7pm on Friday, October 16.

Protestors attempting to get their message across.
Protestors attempting to get their message across.

He said: "The banners get people talking about green energy providers, home heating, plastic and vehicle use, and the provision that Government and corporations impose on us.

"We wish to stimulate and engage more people in talking about the incompatibility between fossil fuels and our future. United Nations scientists says we have to reduce emissions by seven per cent every year until 2030 so oil field exploration and funding from banks has to stop immediately.

"Renewable energy and plant based plastics should be expanded massively.

"The bridge gives the message a good exposure to passing drivers. There's a lot of reaction and many peep their horns - some hate us, some support us."

The group wants to see the end of "Government tax breaks and subsidies for North sea oil and energy companies" with a transition to jobs in green energy and plant based plastics for local oil industry employees.

Mr Clark said: "Workers should not pay the price of the inaction of oil companies to align with the Paris Agreement that was signed in 2016 to deal with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance. The global finance sector has invested more than £2.2 trillion in fossil fuels exploration and extraction since then.

"Moving subsidies and support to renewables over fossil fuels helps avoid the worst affects of the climate crisis and can provide innovative and fulfilling jobs for those currently working in North Sea oil."

He claimed that a Friends of the Earth survey showed 43 per cent of offshore North Sea oil and gas workers have been furloughed or made redundant since March.

He said: "A well-managed energy transformation can meet UK climate commitments while protecting livelihoods and economic well being – provided that the right environmental and social policies are adopted and that the affected workers, trade unions and communities are able to guide policies. There is a lot of work to do to create a transition when investing in fossil fuels becomes too risky, the assets get stranded and the sector contracts severely."

XR Forres feel many people are "wising up" to climate change and the need for an immediate planned response by national Governments and banks.

Mr Clark said: "David Attenborough’s recent films 'Climate Change - The Facts', 'Extinction - The Facts and 'A Life On Our Planet' are helping massively to spread the science.

"At the A96 footbridge, a visiting police officer explained he had seen the latest film and is studying environmental science in his spare time.

"A recent story in the Gazette highlighted an elderly resident closing her Barclays account after 75 years when she discovered the bank are Europe's leading fossil fuel lender.

"And many local people are lobbying our MP to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (https://www.ceebill.uk/)."

XR Forres hold online meetings every other Monday. Visit their Facebook page for more information or extinctionrebellion.uk

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