An ‘Oil Slicker’ leads the march to an organisation that helped Big Oil conquer COP. Photo: Gareth Morris
This issue: Big Oil vs COP | XR DRC Rebel Tour | Indigenous Protest in Argentina
In the same way that drug dealers shouldn’t run rehab centres, Big Oil executives shouldn’t run climate change negotiations.
Except now, they do. COP, the UN summit where global representatives never quite manage to solve the climate crisis, will be held later this year in the United Arab Emirates, a petrostate with nearly the worst carbon emissions per capita in the world.
Stranger than the choice of host nation is the choice of COP28’s President - the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). The oil company isn’t just sharing its boss with COP - there’s mounting evidence that ADNOC is overseeing its entire operation. It has also announced plans to double oil and gas production by 2027.
It’s the latest and most damning example of Big Oil’s capture of the UN climate negotiation process, and it can come as little surprise that the latest event in that process, the Bonn Climate Change Conference, resulted in yet more stalemates.
Rebels hold a rally of art and performance to launch a campaign that will mobilise resistance to oil extraction in DRC.
The UN has responded to the COP28 controversy by asking the (likely record amount of) oil lobbyists who are attending to identify themselves. But asking pickpockets to wear name-badges won’t stop you losing your wallet.
Rebels had a more robust response. As climate negotiations were failing in Bonn, they visited the offices of IPIECA in London, an organisation that has represented Big Oil at every UN climate change meeting, is wholly funded by Big Oil, and is a key cog in the machine that has ground global action on climate change to a halt.
You can find out more about this rebel visit, and how police spies tried to ruin it, in Action Highlights. There, you can also read about how rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo are building resistance against a new round of oil extraction, and how XR Hungary and XR Serbia synchronised protests against an oil pipeline between their two countries.
XR Misiones supports the Indigenous protests in Jujuy, Argentina, where the state plans to seize land for lithium mining. Solidarity has been shown worldwide.
Finally, Solidarity Corner returns to show support for our protesting comrades in Jujuby, Argentina, who are facing brutal police repression for standing up to corrupt laws designed to turn their ancestral lands into lithium mines.
We live in a world where fossil fuel extraction is increasing, carbon emissions are rising, global temperatures are skyrocketing, and ecosystems are unravelling. Trusting Big Oil to put anything before their own profits is not just stupid - it’s enabling genocide.
In its current guise, COP and the negotiations around it are not just corrupted, they are a criminal charade, and institutions like the IPIECA have been key in bringing about this depressing dystopia. This issue may feature the first rebel action targeting their offices, but you can be sure it’s not the last.
The XR Global Newsletter is brought to you by XR Global Support, a worldwide network of rebels who help our movement grow. We need money to continue this crucial work.
- Action Highlights: XR UK Unmask Big Oil Lobbyists, XR DRC Build Oil Resistance, XR Hungary & XR Serbia vs. “Friendship” Pipeline
- Action Round Up: Canada, UK, Peru, Germany, Italy, Holland, South Africa, New Zealand, Ecuador, Australia, Uganda, USA, Denmark, France
- Solidarity Corner: Protesters in Jujuy, Argentina
- Book of the Month: Reflections on Earth Trusteeship
- Must Reads, Sees, Listens: Big Oil Runs COP, Rwanda Rebel Story, How to Blow Up The Box Office, Interview w. Charles Curtin
- Announcements: Adriatic Climate Camp 2023, XR GS Adopts Demand 0
Get Big Oil Out Of COP28
12 JUNE | London, UK
A rebel coalition including activists from Debt For Climate, Global Justice Now, and Debt Justice held a rally outside the offices of the IPIECA, the organisation used by Big Oil corporations to influence and ultimately sabotage COP climate negotiations.
The rebels had planned to enter the IPIECA and deliver a letter, written by members of the US Congress and European Parliament, which calls on the leaders of the US, EU, and UN to limit oil companies’ influence over COP and replace the COP28 president, who is CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, a key member and funder of the IPIECA.
But the police had infiltrated the rebels’ communication channels and warned the IPIECA. When the activists arrived, they found the building locked up and empty, with a guard at the door.
The activist alliance chant outside the offices of the IPIECA.
Undeterred, the rebels put on a disruptive display, calling out the IPIECA for its gross greenwashing, and demanding that COP28 be freed from Big Oil influence. There were stirring speeches and an imposing display by the XR Oil Slickers.
The IPICEA (International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association) was set up in 1974 as the main link between the UN and the fossil fuel industry, and it has attended every UN climate change meeting ever held.
With its diverse staff and job titles like ‘Climate Change Manager’, the organisation presents itself as a centre for sustainability and climate action. But the depressing truth is that it’s directed by former Big Oil executives, it’s 100% funded by Big Oil companies, and it’s helped Big Oil capture the COP process.
Speeches + Oil Slickers + Drummers = Good times.
636 delegates at COP27 were lobbyists from the oil and gas industries, an increase of 25% over COP26, where fossil fuel lobbyists already outnumbered any national delegation. This year, COP28 is essentially being run by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.
A recent study by One Earth calculated that Big Oil owes at least $209bn per year to communities most damaged by the extreme weather caused by their pollution (and exacerbated by their lies). Instead, Global South countries pay billions of dollars in debt repayments to the countries responsible for the climate emergency.
XR DRC say Pétrole Non Merci!
1 - 23 JUNE | Moanda, Democratic Republic Congo
Rebels launch the Pétrole Non Merci campaign at Kituku market in Goma, DRC
Rebels across the DRC are uniting to say, “Pétrole Non Merci”! (Petrol No Thank You!)
This national campaign was initiated by XR University of Goma, who have led efforts ranging from the mobilisation of local communities to the protection of the Virunga National Park via the Fossil Free Virunga campaign, and who have now travelled more than 6,000 km across the DRC to mobilise against the expansion of Big Oil.
The Pétrole Non Merci campaign opposes the proposed sale of 27 oil blocks and 3 gas blocks, most of which overlap protected areas like Virunga Park, mangroves on the coast, and peat bogs in the Congo Basin. Anglo-French oil company Perenco recently bid to buy the new blocks and will export the oil using the EACOP pipeline.
The rebel campaign is two-pronged. One part involves mobilising communities where the new oil blocks are located to build local power and hold officials accountable. Rebels are explaining the many disadvantages of the fossil fuel industry on these communities and how they can stand up for their rights using non-violent means.
XR University of Goma travel 6,000 km to Moanda for the formation of XR Moanda.
The second part involves linking up with communities like Moanda, on the west coast of the DRC, who have been exploited and abused by Perenco for decades. A Goma rebel who travelled there said, “the people of Moanda agreed to accompany us in this battle so that together we block the road to the fossil industries, starting with Perenco, which our political leaders try to falsely show as a positive example of oil exploitation.”
So far, XR University of Goma have held exchanges that resulted in the formation of XR Rutshuru, XR Moanda, and XR Bunia. Along the way, they are organising public actions using art, music, and performance – such as the dazzling demonstration in the Kituku market of Goma which took place after the Kalehe flood in May.
The travelling rebels plan to continue to take action throughout the DRC, with coordinated popular uprisings saying NO to the leaders who still want to defraud humanity for personal gain.
True Friendship: Stopping Climate Hell
20 JUNE | Budapest, Hungary & Belgrade, Serbia
Budapest: Rebels protest outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The signs say ‘MOL profits from the climate crisis’ and ‘Clean energy for Hungary!’. MOL is the Hungarian oil company building the pipeline.
XR Hungary and XR Serbia came together to protest the planned construction of a new 128 km-long oil pipeline between the two countries. Presented officially as a mark of 'friendship' between the neighbouring nations, the Friendship pipeline would allow Serbia to circumvent EU sanctions on importing Russian oil.
This move doesn’t just risk disapproval from the EU; a project of this magnitude will influence energy policy for decades to come, boosting the fossil fuel industry at a time when every country should be investing in alternatives.
Meanwhile, the rebel groups, who met originally at a climate camp in Croatia, forged a truer friendship by conducting coordinated protests outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Budapest and the Ministry of Mining and Energy in Belgrade.
Belgrade: The parallel protest in front of the Ministry of Mining and Energy, with a sign saying ‘Friendship for climate hell’.
XR Hungary was founded in 2019 but suffered a sustained fall in activity after the pandemic. Recent actions have been focused on outreach and raising awareness amongst the Hungarian public, with the aim being to build on its small but dedicated community of rebels.
The police were still so unfamiliar with the group that they struggled to copy the Extinction Rebellion name from the banner, but this is bound to change soon; a new, top-secret action is in the works for the very near future, so stay tuned for more news from Budapest!
Action Round Up
4 JUNE | Canada/UK: Two rebels face deportation for peaceful protest. In the UK, a rebel is facing deportation to Germany after being sentenced to 2 years, 7 months for scaling a bridge as part of a Just Stop Oil protest. In Canada, a rebel faces deportation to Pakistan for his involvement in actions with XR and Save Old Growth. Find their petitions in the links above and sign them!
7 JUNE | Amazon, Peru: Indigenous activists use canoes, spears, and Molotov cocktails to capture two PetroTal oil tankers and kidnap 14 crew members. The clash came after local government annulled an agreement to use a cut of oil profits to fund social development in the area. The crew and vessels were unharmed and released a week later, after a meeting between the Indigenous activists and local authorities.
7 - 15 JUNE | Bonn, Germany: Activists at the Bonn Climate Conference drop a banner as the COP28 President (and Big Oil executive) arrives. A coalition including activists from Debt For Climate, Last Generation, Scientist Rebellion, and XR set up a climate-camp outside the conference during its final three days. MAPA activists spoke to the international press about debt cancellation, Loss & Damage, Degrowth, and how COP has been captured by the fossil fuel industry.
10 JUNE | Bologna, Italy: Hundreds of activists, including rebels, block a section of ring road to denounce the cementing-over of the region by local authorities. They turned the motorway into a space for art, music, and theatre, and called on their leaders to start a regional Citizens’ Assembly and to stop using public money to fund climate collapse.
11 JUNE | Rotterdam, Holland: 60 rebels and Scientist Rebellion activists delay the departure of a cruise ship from the Port of Rotterdam. They called on city authorities to ban all cruise ships. The average cruise produces twice the CO2 as a holiday by plane, and the shipping industry is yet to produce a roadmap to sustainability.
12 JUNE | Johannesburg, South Africa: Hundreds of activists, including rebels, rally outside the corporate HQ of Standard Bank during its AGM. A few made it inside, with one activist handing the CEO an award for human rights violations. Two more activists were forcibly evicted from the foyer. The South African bank supports the ecocidal oil pipeline EACOP as well as other fossil fuel projects across Africa.
14 JUNE | Dunedin, New Zealand: A 64-year-old woman who wrote a fake email telling delegates to a fossil fuel conference that it had been postponed could face up to 10 years in prison. She was found guilty of fraud and will be sentenced in September.
15 JUNE | Ecuador: Scientist Rebellion activists march with indigenous groups and community organisations who are demanding protections from the threat of mining. Marches were held all over Ecuador, which will hold elections in August. Presidential candidates were urged to free the country from mining.
18 - 23 JUNE | Australia: Blockade Australia activists simultaneously shut down three major coal ports, using tripods, monopoles, climbing gear, armlocks, and glue to repeatedly blockade the Newcastle Coal Port, the Port of Melbourne, and the Port of Brisbane. 8 activists were arrested and 3 were held in jail for a week. Find out more about their amazing campaign here.
27 JUNE | Kampala, Uganda: 22 students marched peacefully to the Ugandan parliament to deliver a petition calling on the government and Total Energy to drop EACOP. The students were blocked by the police, had their banners confiscated, and one was illegally detained. He reappeared 3 days later, having been tortured and brutalised by unknown attackers. In solidarity, 27 Just Stop Oil activists sat outside the London HQ of Total Energy in the UK. They were arrested and given (illegal) bail conditions banning them from any protest without prior police approval.
27 JUNE | New York, USA: Rebels joined a solidarity action for two Declare Emergency activists facing up to 10 years in prison and a $500,000 fine after their peaceful protest at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, youth activists with the new group, Climate Defiance, shut down a fundraiser for a New York Senator who takes bribes to wave through oil pipelines. Climate Defiance is just three months old, but has already disrupted events held by 5 US Senators and 2 Presidential Advisors for their complicity in ecocide.
30 JUNE | Roskilde, Denmark: 45 rebel activists & scientists disrupt Roskilde airport, where private jet flights have quadrupled since 2020. Those on the runway were arrested and charged according to a repressive criminal law that could lead to 6 years in jail. Meanwhile, the super-rich enjoy their criminal luxury.
1 JULY | Lyon, France: Rebels occupy a local golf course to denounce the hoarding and waste of water by the richest for leisure activities while drought plagues the rest of the country.
Solidarity Corner: Protesters in Jujuy, Argentina
Protesters in Jujuy are brutalised by riot police, rubber bullets, and tear gas.
Transitioning to greener technologies is a key part of overcoming the climate crisis, but this new technology is often produced using the same exploitative, racist, ecocidal systems of the fossil fuel era.
Argentina holds a fifth of the world's lithium reserves, crucial for the batteries that will store the renewable energy of the future. Demand for the metal is skyrocketing, and most of it is found under the high-altitude wetlands of Jujuy, a largely indigenous province where most people don’t have legal title to their own land.
Jujuy's regional government recently raced through constitutional “reforms” which legalised the appropriation of indigenous land for mining, as well as criminalising protest. In response, the people took to the streets, building roadblocks and occupying buildings.
Solidarity vigils were held by rebel groups in cities across Argentina, including in Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata, and Tucumán.
The state reacted with brutal, indiscriminate violence. Riot police used rubber bullets, tear gas, and beatings, injuring hundreds of people (including a 17-year-old boy who lost an eye) and arresting hundreds more. There are reports that the regional courts will issue excessive fines to match the region’s deficit from lost tourism, and imprison those who cannot pay.
The protesters have inspired solidarity from rebels in Argentina, and activists across the world. According to a rebel spokesperson in the region, while environmental groups are supporting the protests, they are being led by the indigenous community. There are not enough police to clear the road blocks, and instead the state is trying to wear the protesters down.
The protesters are tired, but their blockades still stand. They do not intend to back down until the “reforms” are repealed and the governor resigns. We salute them.
Book of the Month
Reflections on Earth Trusteeship, edited by Justin Sobion, Hams van Willenswaard
Reflections on Earth Trusteeship proposes and explores a radical change in global governance—that law and policy be organised around the principle that the Earth is an entity and humans are its trustees, not its owners.
The idea is not new, but rather than simply stating why trusteeship is a good idea, the authors explore the concept through legal, philosophical, and historical lenses, demonstrating that trusteeship is consistent with international law, already enjoys broad support in multiple countries, and is poised to have its historical moment.
The authors are making their case in terms that extremely powerful people can be expected to understand and find legitimate.
The scholarly, legalistic language does make the text a bit hard to read, and the organisational principle of the book is far from clear. At times, it seems like a collection of thematically related material, not a cohesive work.
But Reflections is an ambitious book. If it can accomplish even a fraction of what it sets out to do, we will all be better off.
Must Reads, Sees, Listens
Read this rebel’s journey from Ugandan farm to XR Rwanda in ‘My Climate Story’.
Guardian Podcast: The Oil Company CEO Running COP28 (26 mins)
A Guardian journalist exposes how the United Arab Emirates were sharing a COP28 email server with the state oil company ADNOC, giving the oil company access to every email to and from the conference organising committee. The podcast also profiles ADNOC’s CEO, who is the COP28 President, and the mysterious army of fake social media accounts defending his hosting of the summit.
XR Global Support Blog: My Climate Story
A rebel in Rwanda, raised on a farm by his grandmother in Uganda, traces his journey to climate activism, including a moving account of how his childhood was plagued by death and hunger because of extreme weather.
Novara Media Podcast: How To Blow Up The Box Office (59 mins)
The co-screenwriter and producer of the recent eco-thriller film ‘How To Blow Up A Pipeline’, inspired by the book of the same name, discusses the various ethical issues around making art out of extreme activism, including how giving audiences the catharsis of climate action might reduce activism rather than encourage it.
XR Global Support Blog: An Interview With Charles Curtin
This American ecologist has worked with rural communities for many decades, and in this expansive interview, he reflects on how, as our world warms, indigenous knowledge, localised activism, and circular economies are the keys to the future.
Adriatic Climate Camp 2023: You’re Invited!
23 - 27 AUGUST | Krk Island, Croatia
XR Zagreb is happy to invite you to the 2nd Adriatic Climate Camp at Camp Bor on the island of Krk, Croatia, from 23rd to 27th August 2023!
We will protest against the planned expansion of the LNG terminal on Krk, but the camp will also include workshops, skill-shares, plenary sessions, discussions and much more.
Accommodation and eating expenses will be covered by XR Zagreb, but donations are also welcome.
To apply for the camp, please fill out this form.
XR Global Support: Demand 0 Adopted!
In response to the local groups who have taken similar steps and the communicated support from most groups, XR Global Support has adopted Demand 0 (also known as the 4th Demand):
“We demand a just transition prioritising vulnerable communities, indigenous sovereignty, reparations for environmental injustice, legal rights for thriving ecosystems, prevention of ecocide, and a liveable planet for all.”
This new demand only applies to XR Global Support and not XR Local Groups, who may decide to take this step in their own time and in their own way.
15 JUNE | Boston, USA: 8 rebels are arrested after baring their backsides at state legislators. Written across their pert buttocks was the message "STOP PASSING GAS". The media exposure was unlike anything XR Boston has ever seen.
Thank you for reading, rebel. If you have any questions or feedback, we want to hear from you. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This newsletter is brought to you by XR Global Support, a worldwide network of rebels who help our movement grow. We need money to continue this crucial work.