Image shows a speaker addressing a crowd in front of a banner reading "Paid to Pollute".

Paid to Pollute, a community organization fighting against climate change, held a rally on December 7 in support of three claimants who took the UK Government to court for giving money to oil companies.  

The focus of the rally was not just on the case but on who is affected by climate change and what comes after the case.  

“It is not endless fiscal growth that we should be aiming for, but instead collective care for our planet, and each other, starting with those most affected. We must divest not only from fossil fuels, and I want to stress this, but from the violent extractive philosophies all together that are running this world at the moment,” said Kavian Kulasabanathan, one of the hosts of the podcast Race and Health 

“This is the only way we can move towards a world of collective healthy flourishing and liberation, which is what we want.”   

Image shows protestors standing at the rally. One of them holds a sign that reads "See you in court".The rally cited success stories in the struggle against climate change, including Shell pulling out of the Cambo oil field development west of Shetland.  

Lauren MacDonald, a representative from #StopCambo, said: “It came as a result of the amazing people of the Stop Cambo campaign and as a result of the massive public pressure that we’ve managed to build over the last several months… So, I want to invite everyone just now to genuinely believe that we can achieve more wins, and we can bring down the fossil fuel industry.” 

Despite pulling out from Cambo, Shell is still interested in working in the UK, going as far as moving its headquarters to London. This triggered another protest that happened today, December 10 Friday, in the morning.  

Shell is not alone. According to #StopCambo, “The UK government is being urged by fossil fuel companies to approve 18 new oil and gas projects over the coming years.” 

It is also not the only oil company that the UK government has subsidized. According to a Paid to Pollute press release, the UK government has provided £13.6 billion in subsidies to the oil and gas industry since the Paris Agreement in 2015 

Some of those oil companies, and the amount they received, include: 

  1. Exxon Mobil: £117 million 
  2. Shell: £110 million 
  3. Repsol Sinopec Resources: £58 million 
  4. CNR International: £42 million 
  5. BP: £39 million 

Those payments are the reason the UK government is being sued. Jeremy Cox, the claimant representing Extinction Rebellion said: “We’re taking the oil and gas authority… to court for the way that in their strategy they have defined the word economic, and maximized the economic recovery of oil and gas. They’ve defined it without taking tax into account, …it’s potentially just on behalf of the oil companies that it is economic and we will pay the rest.” 

This means that the Oil and Gas Authority is not considering the taxpayer’s money being used to pay companies to produce oil and gas, and claiming it is economical because it is maximizing the UK’s economic recovery making the UK taxpayers be “on the hook for £18.3 billion pounds of costs that can be claimed by oil & gas companies over the next few decades thanks to the UK’s tax regime.” 

The court case wrapped up after one day, despite being scheduled for twoPaid to Pollute and the claimants are waiting for the judge’s decision, which may take months.