The London Leap project is releasing a short report called “Participatory policies for a fairer and greener London”.

London LEAP - Participatory policies for a fairer and greener London

This report has been collaboratively produced through our work with Leap participants over the past 18 months, and with Harpreet Kaur Paul who has been crucial in helping bring together the incredible visions and political analysis of our Leap participants.

The report offers policy recommendations that the Mayor of London and the London Assembly could adopt to achieve a just and equitable transition to a zero-carbon London by 2030. The report also captures the profound visions of a future London that many community organisers in London have been cultivating through their work with local residents.

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A report published by Platform, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Friends of the Earth England Wales and Northern Ireland, analyses local government investments in coal, oil and gas. You can read more about our divest work by visiting: https://www.divest.org.uk/

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This report builds on a survey of 1,383 offshore oil and gas workers to reveal the impact of Covid-19 on their lives, their views on life in the industry and their hopes and solutions for the energy transition. In addition to an analysis of the survey results, there are eight case studies from the workers themselves. Case studies and written survey responses show an exhaustion with precarity in oil and gas and a huge appetite for alternative industries, including offshore wind and other renewables.

Published by Platform, Friends of the Earth Scotland, and Greenpeace.

Read the report (pdf)

 

Key survey results include:

  • 81% of offshore workers would consider leaving the industry 
  • 43% had been made redundant or furloughed since March 2020 
  • 91% of respondents had not heard of the term ‘just transition’
  • Given the option of retraining to work elsewhere in the energy sector, more than half would be interested in renewables and offshore wind.
  • Over 50% of workers deemed government support at all levels “nowhere near enough”
  • Current job security satisfaction was rated 1.9 out of 5, with 58% of respondents also identifying job security as their top priority in considering changing industries

 

Workers have endured decades of chaos and upheaval as the oil markets boom and bust, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic. As the UK must transition to renewable energy, there is a danger things could get even worse for these workers, and the government must make sure they are not left behind. 

One worker, Frank*, who has been in the industry for 40 years, said: Morale is low, certainly in Aberdeen where 75% of the people are contractors… I know guys who have had two or three pay cuts over six months, no negotiations, nothing.”

Another states that, “It seems the oil companies have got away with everything but the workforce gets hammered… The way the industry is treating their workers, especially those in a situation similar to mine is an absolute disgrace and should not be allowed to happen.”

Workers in the oil and gas sector are well-informed and keen to express their views on conditions within the industry and how to build a future run on renewable energy, but their knowledge and expertise is untapped. Workers are willing to retrain and move to new sectors. They are open to change and job security is their biggest concern. They want secure and well paid work that makes use of their skills and experience.

A common theme from survey respondents was offering opportunities and financial support for retraining. 

One person said: “Offer training to allow skills to be transferred from oil & gas to renewables sectors. Invest heavily in renewables. Encourage children, students, graduates away from an unsustainable oil and gas sector and into renewables. As Scotland has huge wind/wave/hydro resources she must become a front runner in the global renewables sector.”

And another stated: “Retrain while keeping a liveable wage. Last time there was a slump in oil prices there was opportunity to retrain but it was near impossible to navigate the red tape to get access to the training.”

As a consequence of the survey findings, Platform, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Greenpeace make three recommendations for government. You can find the recommendations in full in the report

  1. The skills and experiences of oil and gas workers are essential in delivering an equitable and rapid transition to renewable energy. This requires engaging a representative section of the workforce in participatory policy-making, where workers are able to help determine policy, in addition to engagement with trade unions. The rhetoric of a just transition means nothing if impacted workers are not at the heart of shaping policies that affect their livelihoods and communities. It is the only means to ensure no harm to communities currently dependent on high-carbon industries.
  2. Improve job security and working conditions for workers in the oil and gas sector, to boost morale, improve quality of life, and mitigate the risk of workers leaving the energy sector altogether.
  3. Address barriers to entry and conditions within the renewables industry, including creating sufficient job opportunities, to harness the skills of oil and gas workers and enable an equitable and rapid energy transition.

However, we believe that top-down support will not be sufficient. Organising together is vital to assert workers’ voices at the core of the energy transition and control over their working conditions. It is the very power-relation between workers and employers that needs to change.

To support this shift in power balance towards increased workers’ control, a just transition requires the resurgence of rank and file trade union organising. The environmental movement also has a responsibility to take into account the effect its demands have on workers and to build solidarity with the labour movement.

Our call to action: There is no just transition if it is not worker-led. Following the completion of this survey, Platform, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Greenpeace will be running a participatory consultation of oil and gas workers across the UK. Workshops will enable energy workers to draft policy demands for a transition that works for them, and a renewables industry they want to work in. We welcome any energy workers, union branches, local communities, environmental groups or other stakeholders to get involved.

 

Read the report (pdf)

Report authors: Gabrielle Jeliazkov, Platform, Ryan Morrison, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Mel Evans, Greenpeace

Report contributors: Laurie Mompelat, Ben Lennon

Acknowledgements: Conducting and writing the survey and report would have been impossible without the input and guidance from the eight workers who acted as case studies, Jake Molloy, Robert Noyes, Neil Rothnie, Sakina Sheikh, and James Marriott. Most importantly, we thank all the offshore workers who gave their thoughts and time to this project.

 

This report is a collaboration between People & Planet, 350.org and Platform. Click here for the report.

Executive summary:

The financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis, on top of a crash in oil prices, has shown us ever more clearly that economies based on fossil fuels are vulnerable in an emergency. We have to respond to the immediate health and economic crisis we face, but we must also take this moment to make sure that we build the resilience we need to handle other crises in the future. Despite this urgent need to move away from fragile, fossil fuel-based economies, drilling for oil in the arctic and in deep water, extracting oil from tar sands, and fracking shale rock for gas continues to cause damage to lives, livelihoods and habitats. These expensive extraction projects can’t go ahead without outside investment and thirty-five global banks have proven to be willing partners, having together invested £2 trillion*[$2.7 trillion] in the fossil fuel industry’s continued growth since 2016. Without these funds, the climate destroying activities of corporations like BP and Shell are not possible. UK banks Barclays and HSBC are the worst offenders in Europe.

 

Read the briefing (pdf)Leer en castellano (pdf)

As US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in June 2018, the aim of US foreign energy policy in Argentina was to help the country become “more like Texas” by bringing US business to work on unlocking Patagonia’s shale oil and gas reserves. 

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry meets with Argentina Minister of Energy & Mines, Juan Jose Aranguren on April 27, 2017 at the Department of Energy. Credit: DOE photographer Ken Shipp

The US State Energy Information Agency ranked Argentina’s shale gas and shale oil resources in second and fourth place globally respectively. These reserves, concentrated in and around the Vaca Muerta shale formation in Northern Patagonia, represent an estimated 50 billion tons of carbon trapped in the ground (almost 1.5 times the annual global CO2 emissions from the energy sector), as well as a direct threat to Patagonia’s freshwater supplies and agricultural industry. Since the discovery of shale oil and shale gas in Vaca Muerta, the region has seen a rapid influx of interest from international actors, from Big Oil companies to multilateral development banks.

This briefing outlines the role played by the US government and various US public agencies in promoting fracking in Argentina, focusing primarily on the 2017-2019 period: from public finance loans worth hundreds of millions of dollars, and to offering Argentinian business and local officials recommendations on how to work with and regulate the industry.

Read the briefing (pdf)Leer en castellano (pdf)

Leer el informe (pdf) – o – Read the briefing in English (pdf)

En junio de 2018, el Secretario de Energía, Rick Perry, dijo que el objetivo de la política exterior de Estados Unidos en Argentina era ayudar al país a “parecer más a Texas”, llevando empresas estadounidenses a trabajar en la extracción de las reservas de petróleo y gas de esquisto de la Patagonia.

El Secretario de Energía de los EEUU, Rick Perry se reune con el Ministro de Energía de Argentina, Juan José Aranguren en 2017. Por Ken Shipp, DOE

Ser como Texas. Portada del informeLa Agencia de Información Energética de Estados Unidos clasificó los recursos de gas y petróleo de esquisto de Argentina en el segundo y cuarto puesto a nivel mundial, respectivamente. El mayor potencial se concentra en la formación de esquisto de Vaca Muerta y otras también ubicadas en el norte de la Patagonia. La extracción de tales recursos supone la combustión de unos 50.000 millones de toneladas de carbono (casi 1,5 veces las emisiones globales anuales de CO2 del sector energético), así como una amenaza directa para las reservas de agua dulce y la industria agrícola de esa región. Desde la puesta en valor de petróleo y gas de esquisto en Vaca Muerta, la región ha experimentado un rápido aumento del interés por parte de diferentes actores internacionales, desde grandes compañías petroleras a bancos multilaterales de desarrollo.

Este informe describe el papel jugado por el gobierno estadounidense y algunas de sus agencias públicas en la promoción del fracking en Argentina, centrándose principalmente en el periodo 2017-19: desde préstamos otorgados por agencias de financiación públicas por valor de cientos de millones de dólares hasta ofertas de asesoramiento a empresas y autoridades argentinas sobre cómo trabajar y regular la explotación.

Leer el informe (pdf) – o – Read the briefing in English (pdf)

 


This report reveals why UK must stop drilling new oil and gas fields in the North Sea in order to meet Paris climate commitments – and how the transition away from fossil fuels can create decent jobs and revive UK industry. 

Published by Platform, Oil Change International, and Friends of the Earth Scotland. Supported by Common Weal, Greener Jobs Alliance, and Global Witness.

Read the full report (pdf).

  • The UK’s 5.5 billion barrels of oil and gas in already operating oil and gas fields will exceed the Paris climate goals – whereas industry and government aim to extract 20 billion barrels.
  • Recent subsidies to oil and gas extraction will add twice as much carbon to the atmosphere as the phase-out of coal power saves.
  • Given the right policies, job creation in clean industries will overtake the number of oil and gas workers affected more than threefold.

The authors call on the UK and Scottish governments to work with affected communities and trade unions on a Just Transition plan to create new decent jobs in clean industries, alongside a managed phase-out of oil and gas extraction.

Read the full report (pdf).

Take action – sign our open letter.

We’re campaigning to prevent a £1 billion UK government credit line from supporting fracking in Argentina – this primer explains why.

 

🌍🔥😡 £1 billion in taxpayer finance – for what?! 😡🔥🌍

The UK government pledges billions of pounds every year in finance for UK businesses abroad through UK Export Finance (UKEF). In 2017 UKEF announced a new £1 billion credit line for UK businesses working in Argentina, with then minister Greg Hands stressing that “the UK’s expertise in areas like infrastructure, green energy and healthcare” were the targets for support.

But who’s invited to pitch for this money? Oil & gas firms, of course.

Treasurer Philip Hammond invited BP and Shell to a meeting in Buenos Aires to promote the government credit line. No renewables firms were at this meeting.

The £1 billion finance has not been fully allocated yet. We have a window of opportunity to make sure they do not go to dangerous fossil fuels and fracking.

Mural against fracking in Centenario, Neuquén, Argentina

Mural against fracking in Centenario, Neuquén, Argentina

The threat of fracking in Patagonia

BP and Shell are poised to begin fracking on a massive scale in the highlands of Patagonia.

Argentina’s reserves of shale gas are estimated at 47.9 giga tons. This could be a whopping 15 percent of the remaining global carbon budget (the limit past which we must not burn fossil fuels to have a 50% chance of avoiding 2*C warming).

Much of the shale gas lies under the lands of the Indigenous Mapuche nation. Communities are protesting the violation of their right to Free, Prior, Informed Consent to drilling on their land, and some are blockading drilling rigs on their land. Fruit farmers’ associations have denounced pollution affecting their crops and livelihoods.

Fracking for shale gas in Patagonia also means a host of other new infrastructure: silica mines, waste sites, pipelines, LNG terminals, raising concerns from neighbourhoods across Argentina.

What are UK companies doing there?

BP (via its arm Pan American Energy Group) is the largest private oil company working in Argentina,responsible for a quarter of the country’s crude oil output. Pan American operates five licences in the Vaca Muerta field and holds a non-operating interest in two more blocks.

  • Pan-American’s flagship shale gas licence Lindero Atravesado overlaps with lake Mari Menuco, a freshwater reservoir providing potable water to the provincial capital Neuquen (c. 620,000 inhabitants), and Vista Alegre, a municipality that has passed a local ban on fracking, currently contested by the provincial government in court.

Shell operates four licence blocks in the Vaca Muerta province, including:

  • Sierras Blancas, where it also runs a hydrocarbons treatment plant, and Cruz de Lorena, both directly affecting the agricultural municipality San Patricio del Chañar as well as a community of farming Creole families who don’t have legal access to indigenous rights protection.
  • Águila Mora, where the fracking wells are directly next to the borders of a Natural Protected Area Auca Mahuida.

It also participates in 3 more blocks including Bajada de Añelo (affecting the land of Indigenous mapuche community Campo Maripe that has protested the lack of prior informed consent).

“Clean gas”?

Big Oil companies and G20 governments alike are promoting fossil gas as a solution to climate change: a “bridge fuel” that can replace the more polluting coal on the way to a low-carbon economy. But this is a myth. The world’s carbon budget does not have room for any new fossil fuels, including gas. When companies invest in new gas infrastructure, they do so with the expectation of extracting gas 40 to 50 years down the line – when the world needs to have stopped burning fossil fuels altogether. And viable renewable alternatives exist – but don’t have the high-profile political support that fossil gas does.

What now?

We call on UKEF to stop awarding new funding for fossil fuel projects, beginning with the new Argentina credit line. The funds have not been allocated yet – now is the time to make sure they do not go to fracking Patagonia.

BP does not carry out fracking in the UK for fear of “the wrong kind of attention”. We need to make sure BP, alongside other Big Oil companies, appreciates that fracking in Patagonia carries just as big of a reputational risk.

Go to platformlondon.org/ukef/ to tell UKEF to stop backing fossil fuels.

Follow:

  • @PlatformLondon
  • @DivestLondon
  • @argsolidarityca

 

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Platform and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

A False Promise of Prosperity: An analysis of UK Prosperity Fund support to the oil and gas industryAn analysis of UK Prosperity Fund support to the oil and gas industry

Based on official Foreign Office data, this briefing reveals that the UK’s Foreign Office spent funds from the Official Development Aid budget to promote shale gas drilling in China, as well as supporting expansion of oil and gas industries in Brazil, Mexico, India, and Myanmar.

Read full briefing (pdf)

Take action

  • UK Foreign Office disbursed over £2 million in Official Development Aid budget to oil and gas projects between 2016-2018.
  • The Prosperity Fund financed 16 fossil fuel projects, including expanding oil and gas sector capacity in Brazil, Mexico, China, Myanmar, and India. These projects represent approximately 29.2% of the Prosperity Fund’s overall energy spend.
  • Two Prosperity Fund projects explore exporting UK expertise in shale gas regulation to China, at a time when the UK’s own regulatory controls on fracking are under intense criticism. One of these two projects is also inaccurately classified in Foreign Office data as “Power generation / renewable sources”.

 

This funding undermines the UK’s commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and its commitment as a G20 member to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

The Prosperity Fund must stop financing oil and gas projects and invest only in near zero emissions projects.

The UK government should consider how spending from the Prosperity Fund and broader ODA spending can support a rapid managed decline of fossil fuel extraction and consumption, and a just transition for workers and communities that depend on high-carbon industry.

Read full briefing (pdf)

Take action

This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of Platform and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.

Platform and Friends of the Earth reveal how UK Local Government Pension Funds are failing to protect themselves from the financial risks of climate change.

Link to full Climate Risk report click here

Risky Business Report

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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