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Updated: 1 hour 11 min ago

“Money making racket” in training courses blocks oil workers moving to renewables

2 hours 22 min ago
  • Survey of offshore workers reveals training costs averaging over £1,800 per year.
  • Success of the UK’s transition to renewables currently depends on workers’ ability to pay to duplicate existing training certificates. 
  • The UK government’s transition deal protects industry profits but fails workers.
  • Unions and climate campaigners call for government-regulated “offshore passport” as  part of a just transition to green energy.

WORKERS across the oil, gas, wind and decommissioning industries strongly support the idea of an “offshore passport” that would allow them to easily transfer their skills and experience between sectors, a survey shows.

Respondents to a poll reported they are currently forced to pay out thousands of pounds of their own money for training courses before being hired, with no guarantee of work, and are routinely having to repeat training they have already done. 

These barriers require workers to fork out for training to move to jobs in wind, despite already holding relevant qualifications. Campaigners warn that the government must act to remove these hurdles to ensure the UK delivers on its targets to introduce 40GW of offshore wind by 2030.

“…There’s lots of people worrying about how they’re going to pay the mortgage…”

Jack*, 39, a father-of-two from Fife, has worked in the industry for 12 years. In the past two years he’s spent £3,000 on training costs with no help from employers. He said: “Shelling out all this money does cause stress, and it does have an impact on your family and your living costs. “There’s lots of people worrying about how they’re going to pay the mortgage. I know people who’ve packed it in altogether because working offshore is just too expensive.

“I have thought about working in renewables, but that’d be thousands of pounds you’d have to pay to work in both industries. It’d just be too much, it costs an absolute fortune just to stay in one sector.” 

Alasdair*, aged 60, from the Highlands has 30 years’ experience working offshore as a rigger and scaffolder. “It’s like people are being forced to buy their jobs…It’s a money making racket as far as I’m concerned. Having a system where you don’t have to duplicate training would make much more sense. The training is basically exactly the same for both industries.”

Time for politicians to listen to workers

Ryan Morrison, Just Transition Campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “The skills and experience of offshore workers are vital to enable a rapid shift to renewable energy, but workers cannot be expected to fork out thousands from their own pocket to duplicate qualifications they already have.

“Promises of green jobs mean little when this unregulated training regime holds back the opportunity to move between sectors. It is time for politicians to listen to these workers by creating a regulated offshore training passport to ensure a just transition for offshore workers.”

Greenpeace UK activists place posters calling on the Energy Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan to stop new licences for oil and gas extraction in UK waters, retrain oil workers and back a smooth transition to renewables. © Luca Marino / Greenpeace

Overwhelming support for an ‘offshore passport’

A survey of more than 600 offshore workers, by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Platform and Greenpeace, supported by RMT and Unite Scotland, found that 94% of workers were in favour of introducing standardised training for working offshore. 

On average, workers surveyed had spent £1,824 per year on training. Workers are often required to repeat existing training when starting a contract with a new employer; starting a new contract with the same employer; and when moving to jobs in other offshore sectors. Almost two thirds (62%) said that when taking a contract with a different employer they were asked to duplicate their existing qualifications that were still in date.

Gabrielle Jeliazkov, Just Transition Campaigner for Platform, said: “This unregulated outsourcing of training is a major barrier to a just transition to renewable energy. We know the energy transition will impact thousands of workers and the government needs to make a plan to support them.

“Successive governments have failed to keep the oil sector in check and allowed for the increasing casualisation of the workforce, with costs now borne by individuals rather than employers. Workers are telling us what they need, the government must listen.”

Three quarters of respondents to the survey were contractors, rather than employees, which is indicative of the trend towards offshore work becoming more casualised. Survey findings suggested this is resulting in workers increasingly having to pay for work training out of their own pocket.

Almost two thirds of respondents said employers had paid none of their training costs in the past two years, a rise of 20% compared to pre-2015.

Barriers need to be removed

Trade union RMT welcomed the survey and General Secretary, Mick Lynch said; “As a matter of urgency the ‘Energy’ industry must take control from the countless ‘standards’ bodies that are setting the agenda based on commercial imperatives rather than what the industry and its workforce actually needs. 

“This is a classic case of the ‘tail wagging the dog’ and it’s the workers on the frontline picking up the cost of an inefficient, exploitative system which is failing to drive meaningful improvements in health and safety terms or skills.”

John Boland, Regional Officer for Unite the Union, said: “Our members have made it clear to us that training costs and duplication of training are a major issue for them, particularly since the downturn, caused by Covid and the fall in oil and gas prices. 

“Many of our members have been made redundant, and are having to pay thousands of pounds to have their training and medical certificates updated, so they can get work. 

 “Unite have been raising the issues highlighted in this survey, about the barriers for offshore workers transitioning into new renewable jobs, for several years. 

“The current situation is that our oil and gas members are going to have to pay for additional duplicated training to work in renewables, like wind, and thus it creates barriers that need to be removed if we are going to see a just transition from oil and gas into renewables.

 “All we are being asked for, is the ability for workers to be able to move freely between offshore and onshore energy sectors, standardisation of certification across the energy sector, and the removal of duplication of training.”

Falling oil demand impacts on workers

Last year the oil and gas sector was hit hard by the dual effects of lockdowns and a crash in demand [1], and in a separate survey 43% of offshore workers said they had been furloughed or made redundant in the first six months of the pandemic [2]. 

Oil majors such as BP and Shell made thousands of redundancies and acknowledged they anticipated that the pandemic would accelerate government shifts away from fossil fuels in a bid to reach net zero [3]. 

In March, the UK government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), unveiled its much awaited North Sea Transition Deal which claimed it would “protect jobs in green energy transition” [4].

But while the Deal dishes out significant sums to industry, it offers no immediate benefits for workers, merely promising that industry will create “an integrated people and skills plan” by March 2022 [5]. It makes no mention of recent job losses, or of the trend towards casualised  work having chipped away at workers’ rights over the last several years. The widespread enforced switch to self-employed contracts (known as IR35) since the industry downturn in 2014 has led to a surge in the number of workers with reduced employment support and poorer working conditions.

Activists call on the Energy Minister to cancel future oil and gas licences in UK waters.

© Luca Marino / Greenpeace

Government’s North Sea Transition Deal leaves workers unable to move jobs

Mel Evans, head of Greenpeace UK’s oil campaign, said: “Offshore workers are key workers who power our energy sector and Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has promised a green energy transition. 

“But his North Sea Transition Deal will achieve no such transition if workers are unable to move to green jobs. 

“We urge politicians to listen to workers, and start by introducing government-regulated offshore passports to help workers smoothly move into the green jobs that the government has promised.”

Campaigners argue that so far no notable steps have been taken by any of the industry or government bodies which might have a role in the energy transition, including the Energy Skills Alliance; The All Energy Apprenticeship; The Green Jobs Taskforce; The Engineering Construction Industry Training Board; nor the training certification bodies themselves: the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation or the Global Wind Organisation. 

And as part of BEIS, campaigners argue that the Oil and Gas Authority has failed to assume a role as regulator of the industry to ensure employment, safety and environmental standards are properly adhered to by operators.

The UK and Scottish Governments must act

Together, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Platform, Greenpeace, RMT and Unite Scotland are calling for:

  • The implementation of an Offshore Training Passport which will allow workers to move freely between offshore and onshore energy sectors (ie renewables, oil and gas, and decommissioning) with a standardisation of certification across roles and sectors, and clarity that a certificate in date does not need to be repeated. This should be accessible to all workers, including ad hoc contractors.
  • The UK Government, BEIS in particular, and the Scottish Government, the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport, the Minister for Just Transition, Employment and Fair Work, in particular, must lead this process and work directly with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to set standards for working conditions. 
  • A training fund for the offshore passport should be established as part of the North Sea Transition Deal to directly support workers rather than companies, which can be accessed by individual, self-employed and contract workers rather than only through employers.
  • The Scottish Government to explore how the National Transition Training Fund and Green Jobs Workforce Academy can help address these issues.
  • Industry backing of an Offshore Training Passport to ensure full compliance across the sector. 

ENDS

*Names have been changed to protect anonymity, because workers face being blacklisted by the industry for speaking out.

Spokespeople and case studies are available for interviews.Please contact the Greenpeace press office: [email protected] 

Survey findings showed that:

  • On average workers reported spending £3,648 every two years, equivalent to £1,824 each year. 
  • Respondents to the survey were asked to report where their biennial training expenditure sat within a series of ranges, for example “between £1,000 and £2,000”, or “between £10,000 and £12,000”. The average was calculated using a midpoint for each ranged answer. The top 1% of spenders in this survey reported paying out “£14,000 or more” over the previous two years. For the purpose of calculating overall average expenditure, Greenpeace made the conservative assumption that the highest spenders paid out only £14,000 each, the minimum spend possible within their reported range. 
  • Almost two thirds (62%) said that when taking a contract with a different employer they were asked to duplicate their existing qualifications that were still in date.
  • 62% felt that the training certificates they are required to obtain duplicate the skills already obtained at NVQ, City & Guilds, or equivalent early career qualification.
  • 75% of respondents are contractors reflecting the casualisation of the sector, which leads to poorer working conditions.
  • Almost two thirds of respondents (65%) said employers had paid none of their training costs in the past two years, a rise of 20% compared to pre-2015.
  • 94% of respondents supported the idea of an offshore passport, to license accredited workers to work offshore in any sector through a cross-industry minimum training requirement.

 

References

[1] Coronavirus: Oil price collapses to lowest level for 18 years, BBC, 30 March 2020

 

[2] Offshore: Oil and gas workers’ views on industry conditions and the energy transition, 2020, Friends of the Earth Scotland, Greenpeace, Platform. 

 

[3] BP to cut 10,000 jobs as virus hits demand for oil, BBC, 8 June 2020

Shell to cut up to 9,000 jobs as Covid-19 accelerates green drive, Guardian, 30 September 2020.

BP chief says Covid has deepened commitment to net-zero emissions, Guardian, 17 May 2020.

 

[4] North Sea deal to protect jobs in green energy transition, BEIS, 24 March 2021

 

[5] North Sea Transition Deal, BEIS, March 2021

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Categories: Activist News

5 demands from people in Scotland to Nicola Sturgeon in the run-up to COP26

Fri, 2021-06-18 15:29

In November the UK will host global climate change talks, COP26 and politicians from across the world will descend on Glasgow. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has described the conference as “our best, perhaps our only chance to address” climate change which she says “remains the greatest challenge facing this planet.”

In March, the UK government published its North Sea Transition Deal, where it unveiled plans to keep licensing new oil and gas in Scotland’s North Sea, subject to so-called ‘climate compatibility checks’.  But despite its more ambitious targets for emission reduction compared to the rest of the UK, the Scottish government is yet to object to new oil and gas.

Tens of thousands of Scots are supporting a petition calling for green jobs and energy instead of no new oil and gas, launched by Friends of the Earth Scotland, Greenpeace and Platform. People in Scotland demand that our government lives up to its promises on climate change– that means ending support for new fossil fuels, while protecting Scottish jobs. Here’s how.

1. Publicly call for no new oil & gas

The SNP’s recent climate change plans failed to end support for the oil and gas industry and in 2017 it backed UK plans to continue oil and gas extraction. Yet two thirds of Scots agree it’s time to wind down North Sea oil and gas. Scotland can’t keep relying on the fossil fuels that created this catastrophic climate emergency– and delaying the inevitable will only lead to insecurity for workers who’ve spent decades powering our homes and businesses and delays seizing opportunities to build the green industries of the future.

The world’s leading energy industry group, the IEA, has advised that countries cannot license new oil and gas if we are to meet our internationally agreed climate commitments. Meanwhile, Denmark is not signing off any new oil and gas licences from the North Sea. By leaving new oil and gas licences on the table, Boris Johnson has left the UK looking isolated– and Nicola Sturgeon is yet to distance herself.

The power to decide new oil and gas licences lies with Westminster– but that doesn’t stop Holyrood from speaking out. Instead of supporting Scotland’s oil and gas industry, the Scottish government should push Westminster to change course.

2. Give oil and gas workers a say in planning how to phase out fossil fuels

Rig workers deserve a seat at the table after spending their lives doing risky, insecure work– and the last thing they deserve is to be left high and dry like miners and shipbuilders were in the 1980s. Workers can help shape how we move away from fossil fuels in a way that is fair for them, their families and communities.

Recently Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Platform surveyed oil workers and found the vast majority would consider moving into another energy sector. Oil and gas workers have the skills and experience needed for other offshore energy sectors, like offshore and floating wind– but they’re not being supported.

Many rig workers we spoke to feel let down by both Scottish and Westminster governments and  they want to be heard. One said “I want to have fairly secure employment for the remainder of my working life and that’s just not going to be viable in the oil and gas industry. “To be in an industry that’s growing, versus one that’s declining, that’s really what it’s all about to me.

3. Create a government funded plan for retraining available to all

Nicola Sturgeon created a commission to look into creating a just transition from fossil fuels to green energy. But despite some positive developments, there’s still no long-term Scottish government plan to retrain workers so they can get good green jobs.  The Just Transition Commission’s initial report says “opportunities for retraining…should be identified” but it gives no specifics and none have since materialised from Nicola Sturgeon’s government.

Holyrood, with the support of the UK government, needs to provide funds to anyone currently or previously employed in the oil and gas industry to retrain for renewable energy. While the Scottish government has recently provided £62 million for energy companies in the wake of the pandemic and in the face of falling oil prices, they have yet to earmark money to retrain the workers who power the industry and our country.

4. Create guaranteed unionised, green jobs with secure contracts for offshore workers

The volatility of oil markets has left many without work. By September 2020 nearly 43% of offshore workers surveyed had been furloughed or made redundant since the start of the pandemic. The RMT union, representing offshore energy workers, have highlighted that tens of thousands of jobs are currently at risk because of ‘oil price wars and the pandemic.’

If the Scottish government puts long term plans in place to invest in green energy projects they can create more secure jobs for workers and create a more secure future for Scotland. Wind power is set to create tens of thousands of new UK jobs and become the cheapest form of energy. Plans are already in place for the “world’s largest” floating wind project off the coast of Aberdeenshire, in Aberdeen currently more than 10% of jobs are in oil and gas. While projects like these are promising, Scotland needs a long term industrial plan involving a wide range of green energy and infrastructure funded with government money.

5. Show Boris Johnson the way on climate change

Boris Johnson says the UK is leading on climate change and is hosting two global summits this year– the G7 and COP26 global climate talks. But while the UK government claims to be a climate leader in the run up, many of its policies are taking us in the opposite direction. 

Scotland has shown climate leadership by committing to reduce its carbon emissions at a faster pace than the rest of the UK and increasing its renewable energy power supply to a greater extent. But not enough has been done to meet its ambitious climate targets. As it discusses a formal cooperation deal with the Scottish Greens, now is the time to go big.

Scotland needs to transform key sectors and make progress on electricity generation, energy storage and transport. These demands are backed by trade unions such as Scottish Trade Union Congress, Communication Workers Union Scotland, Public and Commercial Services Union Scotland, Unite Scotland and Unison Scotland.

As the eyes of the world turn to Glasgow in November, we’re calling on Nicola Sturgeon to show the UK government– and the world– how to properly protect both climate and communities. As The Daily Record says the transition to green energy “is a golden opportunity for Scotland”– one not to be missed.

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Categories: Activist News

Five questions for Tesco about its role in forest destruction

Fri, 2021-06-18 14:49

Vast areas of the Brazilian Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal are slashed and burned every year to make way for cattle ranches, or to grow soya for animal feed that’s fed to industrially produced British chickens and pigs.

As the UK’s biggest supermarket, Tesco sells more industrially produced meat than any other. From buying meat from companies owned by forest destroyers, to using more soya in its meat and dairy supply chain when compared to other leading supermarkets, Tesco is making big profits from products linked to forest destruction.

With such huge buying power, Tesco could be a leader in stripping deforestation from supply chains. Instead, it seems to be putting more effort into greenwashing.

Tesco ran social media adverts and has amended its website claiming that it supports Greenpeace’s call to stop deforestation. It also claims that by the end of 2021 it will have hit its ‘target of zero deforestation for soy animal feed through certification’.

It may look like Tesco cares but, since signing up a decade ago to cut deforestation from its supply chain by 2020, we’ve seen very little action. Here are five ways you can challenge Tesco to tell the truth about deforestation:

1. Ask Tesco if it’s still buying meat from forest destroyers

Tesco makes great play of the fact that it no longer buys Brazilian beef, but what it doesn’t address is the fact it is still buying chicken and pork from Moy Park and Pilgrim’s Pride. These are UK subsidiaries of the Brazilian meat giant JBS, a company notorious for its role in forest destruction. JBS recently announced it would continue trading with Brazilian farms that had cleared forest to produce meat until 2035.

2. Ask Tesco if the pork and chicken it sells is fed on soya from deforested land

We know it is, because an investigation by Greenpeace Unearthed, The Guardian and ITV News, traced soya from deforested land in the Brazilian Cerrado – the world’s most wildlife-rich savannah – directly to chicken on Tesco’s shelves.

Tesco uses half a million tonnes of soya every year: that’s around one sixth of the UK’s total soya imports. It told us 99% of that soya is used to feed the meat and dairy it sells and it has no idea exactly where that soya comes from. To get around this, Tesco is attempting to use ‘certified soya’. But, this will never result in a reduction of deforestation to the extent and speed needed to stop wildlife loss, end the genocide against Indigenous peoples and tackle climate breakdown.

3. Ask Tesco how soya certification really works

In 2010, Tesco committed to ‘zero net deforestation through certification by 2020’ and claims to have met this target. But what does it actually mean?

Certification can mean a variety of things, from complete segregation and traceability of sustainably grown soya (the best option) down to companies buying credits to ‘offset’ their soya use (the worst). Credit schemes claim to provide funding to farmers growing soya sustainably, but the actual soya in companies’ supply chains can still come from anywhere – including illegally deforested land. Currently nearly all of Tesco’s soya is bought under some kind of credit scheme, with only small amounts segregated and properly accounted for.

A recent Greenpeace report Destruction Certified concluded that, often, all certification schemes do is provide cover for destructive businesses to continue business as usual.

4. Ask Tesco what it means by ‘verified zero deforestation areas’

Tesco’s stated aim is to source all of its soya from ‘verified zero deforestation areas’ by 2025. But what this actually means is unclear and raises more questions than it answers.

For example: what is the definition of an area? Since what date will the area have been deforestation-free? Will supply from these areas be fully segregated? Will Tesco still accept soya grown on a deforestation-free area by a farmer still selling soya grown on deforested land, or where the trader still buys soya from other deforested areas? Who will ensure the area is truly deforestation-free?

Tesco’s entire strategy relies on commitments made by companies like Cargill that the soya in their meat and dairy supply chain comes from. But so far, these big soya traders have taken little, if any, concrete action to tackle the problem. They have even withdrawn support for a moratorium in the Cerrado similar to the moratorium that has significantly reduced deforestation for soya in the Amazon.

With Brazil’s government seemingly hellbent on weakening protection for forests even further and encouraging agricultural expansion at all costs, it looks increasingly likely that no purchase of soya from Brazil will be untainted by forest destruction somewhere along the supply chain. Even now, the Brazilian Congress is working hard to push through new legislation that will further damage precious forests, severely threaten Indigeneous peoples and have climate impacts that will affect people across the world.

5. Ask Tesco if it can end deforestation in its supply chain without reducing meat sales

More than three quarters of the world’s agricultural land is used to produce meat and dairy products – including that used to grow crops for animal feed. Despite this, only 18% of the world’s calories and 37% of its protein is produced by this system. It’s very inefficient, and there simply isn’t enough land for it to be sustainable on our finite planet.

If we’re to feed a growing population, end loss of wildlife and halt climate change, the scientific consensus is that we need to reduce global meat consumption by around 50% by 2050. Brits eat twice as much meat and almost three times as much dairy as the global average, so that means reducing our meat consumption much, by some 70% by 2030. Consciously reducing meat in favour of more plant based meals, going vegetarian, or transitioning to a vegan diet are all significant steps.

No certification scheme can solve these existential problems and Tesco knows that. Offering a wider variety of plant based foods is a start but unless it comes with an overall reduction in meat sales, it means little and will make no difference to deforestation.

What should you ask Tesco to do?

Two things. Firstly, drop forest destroyers. Any supermarket serious about commitments to end deforestation must stop buying from forest destroying companies like JBS. Trading with JBS, which is directly implicated in deforestation, not only stains Tesco’s reputation but provides finance and cover for JBS to continue its destructive practices.

Secondly, get out of factory farming. Tesco can’t sell meat at the volume it currently does without being involved in deforestation so it must replace half the meat it sells with healthy, affordable plant-based alternatives by 2025. Only when all supermarkets do these two things will customers be able to shop with confidence knowing that the food they are buying – meat, dairy or plant based – truly is deforestation-free.

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Categories: Activist News

Is protecting 30% of our oceans enough to save them?

Mon, 2021-06-14 06:00

There’s something romantic about our oceans – so much mystery and wonder. They’ve been the inspiration for countless novels, poems and paintings for centuries.

But until recently the oceans were perceived to be so gigantic, so mighty that a little old species like us (humans) could never drastically impact or change them.

It’s now obvious that this is anything but the truth. Never in human history have our oceans faced such a perfect storm of different threats. Industrial fishing, oil drilling, plastic pollution, deep sea mining and the climate crisis to name a few. As a result the oceans are being pushed to breaking point.

‘30 by 30’ – a rescue plan for the oceans

The good news is that it’s not too late to save them. For the last couple of years Greenpeace has been campaigning to get at least 30% of the world’s oceans protected by 2030. This is the minimum amount of protection experts say is required this decade to allow our oceans to properly recover.

But is protecting 30% of the oceans really enough to save them? It’s a valid question and one that we’ve been asked a lot by our supporters.

Our oceans are vulnerable

Right now less than 3% of the oceans are properly protected, which means any harmful industrial activity is banned. Straight away you can see that this leaves the overwhelming majority of our oceans extremely vulnerable to destructive industries.

Over 3 billion people in the world rely on the oceans for their diet or livelihoods. And I’m not talking about the huge corporations profiting from the plunder. I’m talking about local communities and small-scale fishers who’ve lived in harmony with the oceans for hundreds of years – taking only what they need without disrupting entire ecosystems.

Our oceans are in a mess because of big business – whose greed is posing a direct threat to the way of life of frontline communities, causing fish populations to collapse and threatening more and more marine animals with extinction.

We all rely on the oceans to survive

It’s not just coastal communities that rely on the oceans – we all need them to survive. Our oceans produce half of the Earth’s oxygen. Healthy oceans are also vital in the fight against the climate crisis – the deep sea is the largest reservoir of stored carbon on Earth. We can’t have a healthy planet without healthy oceans.

The oceans need space to recover

The amazing thing about our oceans is that when they’re left alone and given space they show an incredible ability to bounce back. And the best way to allow them to rejuvenate is to create a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). These are areas where all destructive industrial activity is banned.

Creating a network of MPAs in 30% of our oceans this decade will give them the space they need to recover. But that doesn’t mean nothing else would need to change. We also need to move towards well managed small-scale fishing in the remaining 70%, ending the most destructive industrial activities and treating the whole ocean with more respect.

 

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Categories: Activist News

Swarm of 300 drones descends on Cornwall demanding G7 world leaders ‘ACT NOW’ to protect the planet

Fri, 2021-06-11 08:14

Cornwall, UK, Friday 11 June 2021 – 

The UK’s largest swarm of drones, used to create breathtaking 3D moving images of iconic animals, is seen descending on Cornwall in a groundbreaking new Greenpeace film, demanding that world leaders gathered at the G7 ‘ACT NOW’ to tackle the climate and nature crisis.

The spectacular drone displays used artificial intelligence software to choreograph the drones movement to form 3D animals and words, interlaced with projections. It was created for Greenpeace as a collaboration between Celestial – the drone display company behind Scotland’s Hogmanay 2021 New Year’s drone show [1] – projectionists Projections On Walls and animators We Are Covert.

A total of 300 illuminated drones were used to create the displays – twice as many as were used for the Hogmanay performances, making it one of the largest drone shows ever produced in the UK. The drone formations were up to 250ft (76m) in height and 400ft (122m) in length.

The film’s music was created by producer and Emmy-nominated composer Hannah Peel, who has scored music for film, theatre and television, including Game of Thrones. She worked with the Ulster Orchestra to create the music for the film.

The two minute film starts with a projected image of a turtle swimming across a dark cliff face of Mullion Cove in Cornwall, while a child narrates, “Once upon a time, world leaders gathered in Cornwall to decide our future”. It then moves on to show projections of other animals, including a jaguar, tuna and bee, which morph, one by one, into ‘animal spirits’ created by hundreds of illuminated drones, moving across the sky.

Children narrate the film with powerful messages of hope, such as, “I hope it’s not too late, I hope the grown-ups in charge wake up” and “I hope they defend the forests for the animals and people living there”, while an increasing number of drone animals race independently across the sky towards Cornwall.

The film reaches a crescendo as the drone animals gather en masse above a cliff in Cornwall, where the G7 is being held, as one child says, “I want our leaders to do their jobs and fight for the planet”. 

In the final sequence of the drone display, as the last child narrating the film says, “hope comes from action, not words”, the drone animals morph once again into the words ‘ACT NOW’.

The film ends with footage from a protest staged by Greenpeace activists at RAF Mildenhall as US President Joe Biden arrived in the UK on Wednesday [2]. As the President was coming in to land on Air Force One, activists unfurled a banner also carrying the ‘ACT NOW’ message.

Greenpeace UK’s senior climate campaigner, Ariana Densham, said:

“This film is a beautiful amalgamation of art, activism and cutting-edge technology but its message is simple. World leaders must act now if we are to tackle the climate and nature crisis. 

“The G7 cannot be another target setting exercise resulting only in wasted time, political chest-thumping and more empty promises that might as well be written in the sand of Carbis Bay Beach.

“We need bold commitments but they must also be urgently delivered. World leaders have the power to tackle the mounting but interconnected crises we face, but only if they act now.”

Greenpeace is using the film and action taken ahead of the G7 to call on the leaders of seven of the largest economies and the EU to raise their ambitions for tackling these crises and take meaningful action in order to halt the devastation that they’re causing.

Campaigners are calling for the G7 nations to spearhead a green global recovery from the pandemic to limit global temperature rises to 1.5° in order to avoid the most devastating impacts of the climate crisis. This includes an immediate ban on all new fossil fuel projects and a strategy for ending fossil fuel use altogether, with proper support for workers and communities to transition to jobs in green industries, like renewables and energy efficiency. The recovery must also create new green jobs, tackle inequality and ensure the Covid vaccine is distributed fairly.

Leaders must make good on, and increase, the promised $100bn per year in climate finance to countries hardest hit by the climate crisis, as well as cancel all debt for the Global South and honour international aid commitments. 

Lastly, Greenpeace is demanding that all leaders commit to strongly protecting at least 30% of land and sea by 2030, respecting the rights of indigenous people and local communities who depend on them, with legally binding targets in domestic and international law to begin to significantly reverse the decline of nature by 2030. This should start now with immediate action to halt deforestation.

ENDS

Contact: 

In Falmouth, Cornwall: Phil Richards, Greenpeace UK press officer, on 07944 244 076  [email protected]

or

Greenpeace UK Press Office: [email protected] or 07500 866 860

Notes to editor:

Watch the film here: – https://youtu.be/QJAJ5-WZnxI

Photo and video collections: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MDHUCNPWT

  1. Celestial Drone Show – Edinburgh New Year 2020 Highlights
  2. Photo of protest by Greenpeace activists as the US President landed in the UK ahead of the G7: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MDHUCM21V

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Categories: Activist News