By Sophie Squire
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More oil rigs for rich, crisis for the rest

This article is over 1 years, 9 months old
New fossil fuel projects are being approved despite evidence of climate catastrophe being all around us
Issue 2813
Joe Biden, US president, is signing a document on his desk in the white house

Joe Biden wants to sign off on more oil rigs, fueling climate crisis  (Picture: The White House)

As climate catastrophe claims some of its latest victims, world leaders continue their plot to keep fossil fuel ­capitalism ticking along. US president Joe Biden signalled his support for a massive new oil drilling project in Alaska last week.

The ConocoPhillips project was first approved during the presidency of Donald Trump. It was enthusiastically backed by Biden, but then blocked by a judge who said that the impact had not been adequately assessed.

To force the project through, the Biden administration issued new analysis on the project site last Friday.

The Department of the Interior said that the new oil field would produce over 180,000 barrels of crude oil a day. This would lead to 278 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions being emitted in its lifetime.

Biden tried to defend the opening of more fossil fuel infrastructure. He said that, because gasoline prices are rising, the bosses need to keep drilling.

The deadly price of Biden’s actions were underlined when a glacier dramatically collapsed on 3 July, killing 11 people. A large chunk of the Marmolada glacier, east of Bolzano in the Dolomite mountains, broke off.

It caused an avalanche of snow, ice, rock and debris, which hit hikers on the mountain. It is a sign of things to come. Rapidly melting glaciers in the European Alps will have terrible consequences for the millions that live there, with deadly floods and droughts becoming more common.

This is because gradual ice melt  from glaciers forms much of the freshwater supply. In the last 20 years, Italy has lost 25 percent of its water to shrinking glaciers.

The drought is causing crops to fail and has even put electricity supplies in danger as the country relies on hydropower for over 40 percent of its energy needs.

Yet among the drive to planetary destruction at the top of society and the human cost at the bottom, there is a sense of resistance to climate catastrophe. Activists from Just Stop Oil blocked the tracks of the British Grand Prix last Monday. 

Other activists have continued a campaign of glueing themselves to famous and expensive paintings to demand the government stop all new oil projects. Hundreds of activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) occupied the Aberpergwm mine near Glynneath in west Wales on Sunday.

XR members climbed to the top of the coal mine and blocked it so it couldn’t be used. In January, the British coal authority granted a license for the Aberpergwn coal mine to extract 42 million tonnes of coal.

Sean, who was part of the blockade, said, “The government has declared a climate emergency. It’s time they started acting like it’s an emergency.”

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