On the climate protest in London last weekend (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Campaigners against environmental collapse joined 40 protests in Britain last weekend as part of a global fight to end the use of fossil fuels.

They raged against the Tories’ attempt to “max out” North Sea oil and gas reserves despite warnings that there can be no new drilling if the world is to stay within ­habitable climate limits.

The British government is giving out hundreds of new North Sea licences. It has also voiced its support for the proposed development of the huge Rosebank oil field off the Scottish coast.

Britain is the second ­largest oil and gas producer in Europe. It is part of a tiny club of governments that are ramping up production while claiming to be leading on climate action.

Demonstrations took place in towns and cities including London, Edinburgh, Manchester and Plymouth.

In London protesters gathered behind a banner saying, “Cut the ties to fossil fuels”. Reflecting a mood of militancy, some chanted, “Change your diet for the ­climate—eat the rich”.

RMT union activist Mel Mullings spoke about the connections between climate justice, racial justice and workers organising.

Last weekend saw over 400 demonstrations ­worldwide from Cape Town to Tokyo, Karachi to New York—the city that was host to the United Nations Climate Ambition Summit this week.

The United Nations (UN) secretary ­general António Guterres was expected to call for countries to stop approving new oil and gas production. Rishi Sunak was unlikely to attend.

The world is falling short of action needed to avoid serious climate disruption from rising temperatures, a major new report has warned.

A “global stocktake” ­compiled by the UN ahead of the Cop28 climate summit later this year says ­greenhouse gas emissions need to be cut far faster to have any hope of keeping the global average temperature rises to no more than 1.5C.

The period between June and August has been the warmest since records began and 2023 has been marked by huge wildfires, extreme ­rainfall, and dwindling sea ice in Antarctica.

Record low Antarctic Sea ice in recent years may be a sign the region has entered a “new regime” of low sea ice coverage driven by warming, research suggests.

The study, conducted by Australian scientists, describes a “breakdown” in the link between sea ice and the atmosphere over Antarctica.

“While for many years Antarctic Sea ice increased despite increasing global temperatures, it appears that we may now be seeing the inevitable decline, long projected by climate models,” the study found.

The UN report says pledges made by countries to cut CO2 emissions are still 20.3 to 23.9 gigatonnes higher than they need to be consistent with a rise of 1.5C above pre-industrial levels in 2030.

Ani Dasgupta, the head of the World Resources Institute, said, “The UN’s polite prose glosses over what is a truly damning report card for global climate efforts.

“The future of our planet depends on whether national leaders use this stark assessment as a catalyst for bold transformation.”

That will happen only if there is workers’ revolt against the system that is driving us to disaster. And that needs a militant mass movement linking together climate chaos and other working class issues.

It’s not a fair Cop

All the Cop international climate gatherings have covered‑up for the fossil fuel industries and endorsed capitalist priorities. This year’s drops much of the pretence of concern for the climate by gathering in Dubai, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a leading oil producer. It meets from 30 November.

The UAE’s appointments to its advisory board for the event include the chair of an Indian gas company, the former head of China’s national oil company, the ex-boss of Britain’s BP oil firm and the CEO of an Emirati oil and gas producer. The UAE also has a consistent record of assaults on human rights.

For solidarity actions in defence of UAE’s activists around Cop28, go to tinyurl.com/Cop28solidarity

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