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World News

Clergy help block oil sites in protest at fossil fuels

by Donna Birrell

Members of the clergy and Christians have been blocking ten major oil facilities across the UK. They’re calling on the UK Government to end all new fossil fuel investments immediately.  

A number of Christians joined supporters of Extinction Rebellion and Just Stop Oil at sites ranging from London and Southampton to Birmingham and Tamworth.

Scores of people sat in the road to block oil tankers from leaving each site, while others climbed on top of oil tankers. 

“Oil is killing us, it's time to stop our dependence on it,” Rev Mark Coleman, a former vicar of Rochdale said.

“Ordinary people in our parishes are suffering the most from this cost-of-living crisis, while tyrants are making a killing. Literally. Now is the time for the government to signal its change of direction by refusing to develop new oil fields. It's a real no-brainer, so what are we waiting for?”

Rev Helen Burnett from Christian Climate Action and Extinction Rebellion, also added: “Compared to the horrific bloodshed in Ukraine, the fight for 1.5˚C may seem abstract, but it is, in reality, all too real.

“It is the fight for all those on the frontline of the climate crisis, in particular our children and our young people and the majority of the world’s population in the Global South. It is the fight for a peaceful and organised international community, it is the fight for the story of humanity and the fight for all those whom we love.”

Rev Canon Jonathan Herbert, member of Hilfield Friary and Chaplain to Gypsies and Travellers in Salisbury Diocese, said: “I’m taking part in civil disobedience with JUST STOP OIL as part of a long tradition of Christians engaging in non-violent direct action. In Baptism Christians are called to renounce evil; challenging this country’s foolish dependence on fossil fuels is a way of renouncing an evil that is destroying our planet and God’s people.”

The protests come as Britain is experiencing the largest hike in the cost of energy in decades due to record global gas prices.

Britain has committed to reaching a net-zero goal for carbon emissions by 2050. But following the crisis in Ukraine, the government is stepping up domestic production of oil and gas and is due to phase out imports of Russian oil by the end of 2022.

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