Highlights of the fossil-free movement in 2023
2023 was the year that the campaign for fossil fuel divestment took the streets with groups from all corners of the UK rallying for local leaders to ‘Divest from Crisis, Invest in Our Future’.
Haddington fought a tug of war, a vigil was held in the Scottish Borders, Edinburgh performed a new theatre piece, Argyll & Bute posted art cards to their councillors and Glasgow took over George Square with giant ‘DIVEST’ letters.
Across the UK there were dragons, oily demons and giant wind turbines at marches, stalls and sing-a-thons. It was an amazing display of strength and creativity from a campaign network which has pushed billions of pounds out of fossil fuel companies.
The connection from our money to the global fossil fuel crisis was made clearer than ever this year with the release of the new Pensions Pipeline tool by Platform which allows anyone to create a map of fossil fuel projects connected to their local council. The tool is helping build the case for divestment, but also building bridges from Scotland to struggles for justice at the fenceline of fossil fuel projects abroad.
We took this momentum into the halls of the Scottish and UK Parliaments with new campaigns designed to free our political systems from the polluting influence of big oil.
In London, activists launched their campaign with an investigation showing how big oil lobbying of Westminster had fatally undermined the Windfall Tax. New First Minister Humza Yousaf came under fire after revelations that the Scottish Government had held hundreds of meetings with oil companies in recent years, following information released as part of an ongoing Friends of the Earth Scotland investigation. Activists have been spotting MSPs meeting with lobbyists at party conferences, award ceremonies and industry events, helping put these meetings under scrutiny for the first time ever.
The climate movement is making inroads to clean up our politics. You’ve been writing to your MPs asking them to sign the ‘No Fossil Funding’ pledge, refusing oil money for political campaigning, and as a result we have 12 MPs signed up. At the Scottish Parliament, Friends of the Earth Scotland has been gathering support for proposals to clean up lobbying in the Scottish Parliament where support for fossil free is growing. The fossil fuel industry has built strong defences to stop a just transition from taking place, but our power is growing and we are taking apart their defences brick by brick.