Owen Jones, writing in the Guardian, discusses what measures British politicians can take in order to respond to the XR demands made over the Easter period:
He states that Extinction Rebellion has got the ball rolling but more radical action is needed if changes are to be made. He believes that the focus must now shift to the fossil fuel companies and the banks and states: “As long as they remain under private ownership on a global scale, humanity’s future will be threatened.”
Apparently, ExxonMobil plans to “pump an astonishing 25% more oil and gas in 2025 than it did in 2017″
According to the United Nation’s IPCC, oil and gas production has to fall by 20% by 2030, and 55% by 2050. But Owen Jones states that the economic self-interest and political power of the fossil fuel industry is deliberately sabotaging this goal. He provides evidence of vast sums of money being spent in the US 2016 elections, to lobby for subsidies to continue for the fossil fuel industry.
And the banks do not have clean hands either. Since the 2015 Paris climate agreement, 33 global banks – led by big US financial institutions such as JP Morgan Chase – have provided $1.9tn in finance to the fossil fuel industry. HSBC is funding the expansion of coal plants in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam; while Barclays bank has shelled out $85bn of financing for fossil fuels since 2015 alone.
Owen Jones believes that the banks and the fossil fuel companies must be brought under public ownership, if the Paris targets are to be achieved. Otherwise, “they will continue to place short-term profit for elite investors ahead of the future of the planet and continued existence of humanity.”
He ends his article with the words:
“ What do we value more: an economic system which privileges profit above all other considerations, or the continued existence of human civilisation as we recognise it? A reckoning is coming.”