XR scientists glue hands to business department in London climate protest | Environmental activism

Twenty-five scientists have pasted pages of scientific papers to the windows of the UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, and glued their hands to the glass to highlight climate science they said the government was ignoring.

The scientists, affiliated with Scientists for Extinction Rebellion, swooped on the department’s building at 1 Victoria Street, Westminster, London, just after 11am. Doctors and health professionals staged a decoy action to give them space to get into position.

The action came a week after the government published a new energy strategy that promised to continue the exploitation of North Sea oil and gas, failed to set targets for onshore wind, and gave nuclear a central role.

Dr Aaron Thierry, a 36-year-old ecologist who had his hand glued to the window of BEIS, said: “I really wish I was not here, but also I’m really glad that I’m here with all these scientists who know what’s right.

“Last week the world scientists released a report that sounded the final alarm for the planet. It said we must end our addiction to fossil fuels now. The UK government response a few days later was to announce it will increase its exploration for oil and gas with the intention of extracting every last drop.

“Science tells us that this approach will condemn our civilizations to destruction. We will not stand by and let this happen. Scientists have been sounding the alarm for decades but have been ignored by governments. ”

Richard Ecclestone, a former inspector with Devon and Cornwall police who was acting as legal observer of the protest for XR, said the scientists had decided on the action because of the energy strategy. “They put this action together to draw the attention of the business department, to remind them of what science is,” he said.

“They’ve taken quotes from recent scientific reports saying basically there’s irrefutable evidence now that we can not continue to search for and exploit oil and gas reserves, or that will mean death.”

Dr Charlie Gardner, 43, a conservation scientist and associate senior lecturer at the University of Kent, said: “At both the domestic and international policy level there are very powerful actors who do not want our society to decarbonise.

“There are people who who are very wealthy and powerful from the way that the world is set up now and they do not want that to change, they do not want to decarbonise because that will limit their opportunity to generate money from fossil fuels .

“As a result we have government departments making decisions that will lead us to calamity, and as a scientist I know what impacts this has, I can see that coming, and I can not be passive, I can not just let that happen . I need to act. ”

A BEIS spokesperson said: “We are gradually driving down demand for oil and gas, but we cannot have a cliff edge by turning off our domestic source overnight. Doing so would put our energy security, British jobs and industries at risk and simply increase foreign imports, not reduce demand. Our British energy security strategy sets out a long-term plan to ramp up cheap renewables as we transition away from expensive fossil fuels. ”

The scientists’ protest was part of a week of civil disobedience by XR in London. The environmental protest group, which called on supporters to take a week off work to take part, began its “rebellion” on Saturday with blockades in the West End, and on Sunday supporters blocked bridges across the Thames.

Supporters of the group were assembling at Hyde Park on Wednesday morning. More protests were expected.

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