Climate activists demand Labour halts Rosebank and scraps fossil fuel subsidies

Tom Belger
Emma Thompson. Photo: Rupert Rivett /

Almost 100 climate activists, experts and campaigners from around the world have written to Labour leader Keir Starmer, demanding the party shows “global leadership” on tackling the climate crisis if it wins power.

An open letter has just been published welcoming Labour’s plans, but demanding it go further with a “vision for an international Green New Deal”. This includes stopping in-progress oil and gas fields like Rosebank, scrapping poorer countries’ debts,  providing tens of billions in climate finance and scrapping all fossil fuel production and consumption subsidies.

It has been co-ordinated by Green New Deal Rising, and signed by figures including actor Dame Emma Thompson and writer George Monbiot. Signatories also include campaigners from Labour for a Green New Deal, Green New Deal Rising, Greenpeace UK, Power Shift Africa, Fridays for Future, Global Justice Now, Compass, Stop Rosebank, the New Economics Foundation, Jubilee Scotland, Positive Money, UK Women’s Budget Group,  Fuel Poverty Action, Acorn,  Emmaus, and professors from a range of universities.

Other signatories from across the globe include Vanessa Nakate, founder of Youth for Future Afridca, Luisa-Marie Nebauer, a Fridays for Future Germany activist, and  leaders of climate groups in Jamaica, Norway, Denmark, India, Venezuela and South Africa.

“The Labour Party, if elected next year, will take power halfway through a critical decade. We write to you in the hope that you will take the opportunity of a lifetime to bring the UK into a position of global climate leadership,” the letter reads.

The letter, to Starmer and Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy, calls for Labour to contribute its “fair share” of global climate finance given the UK’s “centuries of dirty fossil fuel use and colonial power”, as well as its current position as a major economy with a strong financial sector. It says some have estimated Britain’s fair share would be £46 billion, but claims it is contributing far less in reality.

Bilateral debt with the Global South should be cancelled, and the UK should lobby for others to follow suit, it argues.

It calls expansion of new oil and gas licences “alarming” given experts say these must not happen to limit climate change. It urges Labour to follow its pledge to end new exploration with “pledging to stop in-progress oil and gas fields, like Rosebank, and to scrap all fossil fuel production and consumption subsidies”. The latter could free up £12 billion a year, it claims.

The letter also backs a 95 per cent tax on “excess profits of companies involved in dirty fuel exploration, production and pipeline transport” in the UK.

“History has shown us that the only thing that stands in the way of a better future is a bold vision and the bravery to do the right thing,” it adds.

Hannah Martin, a signatory and co-executive director at Green New Deal Rising, said: “The UK’s current failure to step up and deliver the necessary climate finance will be viewed as a historic betrayal.”

Labour did not respond to request for comment, but it recently distributed a National Policy Forum document, summarising current party stances. It includes proposals to:

  • Ramp up to spending £28 billion a year in public capital investment as part of its “Green Prosperity Plan”.
  • Pledge to deliver clean electricity by 2030.
  • More than double onshore wind capacity, triple solar capacity and quadruple offshore wind capacity.
  • Create a new generation of community energy owners, and back new nuclear plants and planning barriers to renewable energy projects.
  • Create GB Energy, a publicly owned “champion in clean power generation”.


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