Climate protestors Extinction Rebellion have taken to Aberdeen University demand it stops supporting new oil fields and abandon research into the industry.
Protestors, some whom arrived in the city on a special bus yesterday, protested at the entrance of the university’s main library.
About 15 students put posters up at the venue, including ones that read “UoA [University of Aberdeen] Tell The Truth” and “I don’t want to melt.”
Meanwhile, speeches were given explaining their reasons why they think the university should not be promoting the oil and gas industry, as well as a “die in”, where protestors lay on the ground.
The protesters hung banners up in the library. Image: Extinction Rebellion.
The group, which also included members of Just Oil, are “demanding” that the university:
- Publicly retract the endorsement of the Rosebank oil and gas field development.
- Stop endorsing the approval and drilling of new oil and gas fields.
- Stop all research activity into oil and gas at any point in the production process, including expansion and “business as usual” activities.
- Stop accepting funding from oil and gas companies.
‘We need to start making tangible changes here and now’
Fourth year Aberdeen University politics and international relations student, Lee Matthews, who is a member of Just Oil and worked with Extinction Rebellion to organise the event.
He said: “We want to basically explain to the university that their continued endorsement of new oil and gas projects is simply unacceptable and that as students, we will not tolerate it.
“The point of today is to very peacefully, but as disruptively as possible, make that message known.
“I would like to encourage students from the University of Aberdeen to start thinking critically about the university’s role in the climate crisis, they are a powerful institution and they should be making the changes that we need to see now.
“It’s not enough to have 20 years from now, we need to start making tangible changes here and now.”
‘Biggest threat that humanity has ever faced’
Also attending the protest was Pete, a public health worker from Aberdeen who did not want to reveal his last name.
He said he was there because climate change is the “biggest threat that humanity has ever faced”.
He added: “It’s a climate emergency and we feel that businesses and organisations aren’t doing enough to really communicate the the dire situation that we’re in.
“We need organisations like the University of Aberdeen to really be leading the decarbonisation of our economy and not endorsing new oil and gas.
“What we’re finding is that the Centre for Energy Transition is actively still researching into new oil and gas exploration and continuation of business as usual activity. We’re demanding this stops and they they stop funding oil and gas and they start fully funding renewables and zero carbon technology.”
Aberdeen University: Committed to a sustainable future
A spokeswoman for Aberdeen University said: “The University supports the right to peaceful protest as well as freedom of expression.
“As a university, we are committed through our Aberdeen 2040 strategy to working responsibly for the sustainable future of our planet and to addressing the climate emergency and the energy transition, while recognising the need to ensure that energy supplies are secure, affordable and environmentally sustainable.
“Through our interdisciplinary approach to research, we are pursuing activities that reflect the need for a broad approach to energy transition. Work is taking place across the university to advance research in key areas including renewable generation, the hydrogen economy, biomass, carbon capture and utilisation, and decommissioning.”