LETTERS: New oil fields a backward step

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The Independent Online
Sir: Nicholas Schoon ("Rio summit's green pledges to be broken", October 11), reports from an oil industry conference that Britain and Germany are "world leaders in pressing countries to take the global warming threat seriously." Every other major industrial country is expected to fail its Rio commitment to cap carbon dioxide emissions, while Britain and Germany's marginal reductions are a side-effect of industrial restructuring.

This is all good news for oil companies. British Environment Secretary John Gummer attacked the fossil fuel (oil) lobby at the August climate talks. But the British government is actually expanding oil production: it is licensing BP to open vast new oil fields west of Shetland, on the Atlantic frontier.

This is wrong: morally, rationally, politically. Five years on from Rio, governments accept the reality of global warming. By now they should have signalled that fossil fuels will end, by beginning the end of oil.

Wake up John Major, wake up Tony Blair. Stop the drilling, put out the fires, turn off the taps, send back the ships and leave the ocean to the whales. Crank up your carbon taxes, lag your lofts, change your light bulbs, harness the wind and plug in the sun.


Campaign Programme Director, Greenpeace UK

London N1