Protests abound as COP26 continues in Glasgow

3 November 2021 

A number of protests addressing indigenous rights, UK oil developments and greenwashing were held across Glasgow today as international climate negotiations continue to take place in the city. 

The COP26 conference officially kicked off on Monday and will focus on the Paris rulebook for its two week duration.

Members of the Indigenous Environmental Network held a demonstration this morning against carbon offsetting, which they argue does not truly offset fossil fuel production, allows for greenhouse gas emissions to climb upwards, and facilitates the continuation of environmental justice. 

Carbon offsetting is a process whereby actions like tree-planting are done to compensate for the creation of emissions elsewhere. Forestation projects are commonly put forward as such projects, which environmental NGOs warn are increasingly designated to indigenous land. 

The network ran a full-page ad in the Financial Times declaring that carbon offsetting was tearing indigenous communities apart and later said the practice was a “false climate solution that’s tearing apart the land, lives and livelihoods of indigenous communities around the world.” 

Dozens of climate protesters gathered at Buchanan Street Steps at midday to mark the 46th anniversary of the Queen turning on the first oil pipeline in the United Kingdom. 

A participant dressed as the monarch read aloud a statement before turning off a prop tap and noted that, “today the pipeline now transports 550,000 barrels of oil per day.” 

“One is absolutely sure that 46 years is quite long enough, and so here on this beautiful day in Glasgow, one is proud to finally turn the tap off on fossil fuels and declare an end to oil and gas production in my North Sea,” she said in costume before approaching the tap.

A climate protester dressed as the British monarch reads aloud from a speech on Buchanan Street photo: Kayle Crosson

Demonstrators also held a banner urging the Government to “Stop Cambo”, an oil field which the UK government is set to approve later this year. 

The #StopCambo movement fears that the oil field is “just the beginning” as the British Government is being encouraged by fossil fuel companies to approve 18 new oil and gas projects over the coming years, according to campaigners. 

Just hours later at the very same spot members of Extinction Rebellion gathered to host a greenwashing march.

A term used frequently by the climate movement, it refers to the use of deceptive spin in marketing and public relations to make an action appear sustainable. 

“We’ve seen a lot of greenwashing during COP26. It doesn’t give you a lot of confidence…the whole COP is dripping with this stuff. There are good intentions in and out but the danger is greenwashing will stop those good intentions,” one demonstrator told The Green News. 

A member of the “Greehwash busters” on Buchanan street in Glasgow photo: Kayle Crosson
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Kayle Crosson