Monday 18 September 2023

March calls for halt to fossil fuels and just transition

 ATUC Exec member and Aberdeenshire UNISON Green Champion, Steve Gray joined climate campaigners who marched through Edinburgh on Saturday 16 Sept to demand the UK and Scottish Governments develop a plan for a fair and fast transition away from fossil fuels. 

The march was one of 650 actions taking place around the world with millions of people involved this weekend ahead of a UN Climate Ambition Summit of world leaders in New York next week. 

Steve said, "It was very encouraging to hear and see so many campaigners speaking out with empathy and energy in support of the workers in the fossil fuel industries who need the Government support for a just transition now. Also to see the Save Saint Fitticks Park Campaign at the front of the march."

The protestors demanded action to phase out oil and gas in the UK including a halt to controversial projects like the Rosebank oil field and a new gas-fired power station in Peterhead, Aberdeenshire. 

They called for a fair and fast transition for the workers and the communities most affected by the move away from fossil fuels and these people should be at the heart of planning this transition to ensure it meets their needs.  

Speaking on behalf of ATUC, Steve told marchers that the increasingly climate induced severe storms are causing tragic deaths and disruptions. He spoke of the Stonehaven rail disaster which tragically claimed three lives, “and showed the devastating impacts of a changing climate, demonstrating that there is a clear need to make our communities Climate Emergency resilient.

“It’s up to all of us to make this happen,” said Steve, highlighting the need for investment in public services.

“When banks and fossil fuel companies spend money it’s described as investment. When the public sector funds retrofitting, community renewables, buses, parks healthcare and schools it’s always described as spending never Investing.

“The Scottish and UK Governments need to describe funding our public services as investments not spending,” urged Steve highlighting that the ATUC and its allies in the STUC support investing in a climate resilient just transition for the Fossil Fuel workers and their home communities.

See Steve’s full speech below.