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We need systemic not individual change in the face of climate crisis: Just Stop Oil

We need systemic not individual change in the face of climate crisis: Just Stop Oil
There is no better time for world to start transitioning towards renewable energy, says spokesman Alex De Koning

By Sumeyye Dilara Dincer

ANKARA (AA) - The world need a systematic change to prevent destruction caused by climate change, said an official from a British-based environmental group known for recent high-profile protests at art galleries.

In an interview with Anadolu Agency, Alex De Koning, 24, spokesman for the group Just Stop Oil, stressed the importance of non-violent protests, stepping up civil resistance, and putting pressure on governments "to make more change."

"Because without that pressure, they're going to continue delaying until that COP 50," he said – referring to the annual UN climate conferences, with Egypt now holding COP27 – adding that there is not much time left, as every year emissions keep rising to record levels.

Koning downplayed his arrests during protests, calling them not important considering how over 1,700 climate activists have been murdered around the world over the last decade.

According to a report released in September by Global Witness, more than 1,700 people have died while trying to prevent mining, oil drilling, or logging on their lands.

On Just Stop Oil’s activities, including blocking oil pipelines and tankers, he underlined that they are doing this to try to halt all new oil and gas licenses in the UK.

- 'There’s no better time for us to start transitioning'

"Renewable energies, at least in the UK, are currently nine times cheaper, and it makes no sense to me why we're still not switching to them," said Koning.

He added that the over 100 new oil and gas licenses are expected to open for exploration despite there being more than enough time for a transition to green energy.

Saying that the reason behind this is that fossil fuel industries have "so much power" because of their huge profits, he stressed that in the last three months alone the world’s five biggest oil companies made $100 billion.

He went on to say that this money "can buy a lot of power," and that's why the shift from fossil fuels to renewables is lagging.

"We all know how serious the climate crisis is. We've seen 40 degrees (Celsius, or 104F) in London and we have seen 33 million people displaced in Pakistan. There’s no better time for us to start transitioning," added Koning.

- Attacking artwork

Koning said that before recent high-profile protests at museums and art galleries, Just Stop Oil tried other methods like petitions and marches but the problem persisted.

"Any single place you can expect us, at any time," he said, adding that they are going to keep doing this until the government changes its oil and gas policy.

Koning also called these methods successful as the splashy protests caught the world’s eye.

We are having this conversation right now because of these actions, he said. When two people threw soup on a painting by Van Gogh last month, more people talk about the climate crisis then when 33 million people in Pakistan were displaced by devastating floods due to climate change.

He said more people were actually outraged about "one piece of protected artwork" than the tens of millions of people who lost homes and livelihoods.

- Hundreds of fossil fuel lobbyists at climate change meeting

Criticizing the ongoing UN climate summit COP27 now being held in Egypt, he said: "I’m 24 years old, and there's been 27 COPs."

Sating that 636 oil and gas lobbyists are attending the COP27 talks, Koning called that figure an "insane amount" but said regardless, the movement is making political progress.

"Last year at COP26, no one even mentioned oil and gas in the final deal," he said, adding: "That's why we need climate action and activism."

Asked if his family is worried about Koning's actions, he said they are worried about his future.

"But not because I’m going to get a criminal record, because of what's coming down the line," he explained.

source: News Feed
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