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Friends of The Earth Interview at Derby M17 Protests

Climate Change Action Now! | 17.03.2005 20:33 | G8 2005 | Ecology | Globalisation | Sheffield

Short interview transcript with FOE member at the Derby M17 G8 protests:

"Africa Needs Water Not Oil"
"Africa Needs Water Not Oil"

Interview transcript with woman from East Midlands Friends of the Earth.

*Question: Why are you here today?

We're trying to take this opportunity with the G8 Environment and Development Ministers meeting just outside Derby to send a direct message to those ministers, particularly about the rhetoric that's being used in terms of climate change, and actually trying to encourage them to take action rather than just talk about the issue - and also to stop pumping our tax-payers money into new oil developments and actually look at real solutions to climate change. Unfortunately, we're in the centre of Derby and they're five miles away - but hopefully our message will get across.

*Question: you've got some barrels here, some barrels that say climate change on them. What was the idea behind that?

We asked people to bring along their messages to the ministers. And to represent the fact that we think Africa needs water not oil. We've asked people to put their messages on bottles of water, and we were hoping maybe at some point later in the day we'd be able to deliver these bottles to the ministers. We're going to have to negotiate that, but that's what we'd really like to do because we can't be seen by them at the moment. At least we'd like the messages to be read by them.

*Question: You said that you were asking for real change from the government... Tony Blair has said that he doesn't understand why anyone would be protesting in relation to the G8, because on the agenda is climate change and Africa and so on. This has been getting a lot of press attention. Is there anything you could say about why you are here today protesting?

We would say that yes, there's a recognition now that climate change is important, in terms of its impact on African development. However, we don't think that the G8 industrialised nations are actually taking the issue seriously enough. They're not taking responsibility for the fact that we, as the richest nations on the planet, are causing the most problems in terms of climate change. We want to see a serious commitment from all governments in the G8 countries to cut their C02 and climate-changing emissions and not just talk about it, but actually take action.

Climate Change Action Now!


Hide the following 3 comments


17.03.2005 20:53

>>Unfortunately, we're in the centre of Derby and they're five miles away - but hopefully our message will get across.

afraid of itself, afraid of the democratic right to protest, britain is shamed. there can be no call on pride.

- -

Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, says:

18.03.2005 13:09

Tony Juniper, director of Friends of the Earth, said: "While we welcome the first ever meeting of environment and development ministers to discuss critical issues like climate change and Africa we deeply regret the fact they feel they have to hide behind security shields and police cordons to avoid the very people they are supposed to represent. It is hardly surprising that if they only talk to each other and not to the people whose problems they are supposed to be solving they do not achieve very much.",,1440522,00.html


FOE Press Releases: UK Development Aid Fuels Climate Change and Poverty

18.03.2005 13:12

G8 Ministers Told Water Not Oil Must Be Priority

Mar 17 2005

Environmental campaigners will send a message from central Derby to G8 environment and development ministers that Africa needs water, not oil, today (Thursday 17th March), after police blocked plans for a peaceful walk to the exclusive hotel where the ministerial meeting is being held.

Friends of the Earth local group members from across the East Midlands had planned to join with student activists from People & Planet for a peaceful "Walk for Water" to deliver an oil barrel filled with water bottles to the G8 meeting. But a police crackdown, approved by the Home Secretary Charles Clarke, has excluded protesters from within two miles of Breadsall Priory hotel where G8 meeting takes place [1].

Friends of the Earth East Midlands Campaign Coordinator Callie Lister said:

"We are disappointed not to be able to take our protest to the G8 ministers meeting itself, but we hope that our message will still get through. People in Africa need clean water, not oil. Climate change poses a major threat to development in Africa and yet the G8 nations are pumping development money into oil."

The impacts of climate change will mean the proportion of the world's population living in countries of significant water stress will increase from approximately 34% to 63% - some six billion people, the same number of people that are currently living on Earth [2].

Anna Scott from Sheffield University People & Planet group said

"Water shortages are already affecting millions of people in developing countries and climate change is only going to makes things worse. Developing countries are least to blame for climate change but their lack of resources and infrastructure means they will bear the brunt of its consequences. World leaders must take massive action on climate change and they must take it now."

[] Home Secretary Charles Clarke approved four exclusion zones for protesters and a ban on marches through the city centre from noon today until noon on Saturday. A limited rally in Derby market place has been permitted by police.



UK Development Aid Fuels Climate Change and Poverty

Mar 17 2005

UK aid money is creating an "oil curse" for developing economies, according to a new report, launched today (Thursday) as G8 environment ministers meet in Derby to discuss the impact of climate change on Africa [1]. Pumping Poverty finds that government aid is being spent on supporting energy projects which benefit UK and US oil companies, but which do little to help the countries where they are based.

Published by Friends of the Earth, Plan B and Platform Research, the research shows that the Department for International Development's (DFID's) policies on oil development are incoherent; fail the very people they are designed to help and compromise the department's mandate for poverty alleviation, undermining the aims of the Millennium Development Goals, and further undermining UK efforts to fight climate change.

Specifically the report highlights the "oil curse" which often accompanies the discovery of oil in a developing country. At a local level, oil production can have an adverse effect on local communities, with pollution affecting water supplies, farm land and air quality. Nationally, the discovery of oil can harm the economy, with investment in oil undermining other sectors, disrupting growth and potentially weakening democracy [2].

The report points to DFID's continued support for fossil fuels through direct grants and the approval of loans through the World Bank and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to massive oil projects, such as the Chad-Cameroon pipeline. The World Bank has provided more than $5 billion in funding for oil projects since 1992 while EBRD has provided loans of over $1 billion.

The use of development aid to support such projects distorts the energy market in favour of oil and provides essential leverage for private finance. The report argues that in order to prevent catastrophic climate change such hidden subsidies need to end.

The report also questions the conflicting role of DFID's role as a partner in maintaining UK energy security, which leads to the use of development aid to support the goals of the UK's oil industry and is explicitly aimed at enhancing the UK economy rather than maximising poverty alleviation in developing countries. African oil is expected to increase over coming years.

Friends of the Earth Oil Campaigner Nick Rau said:

"The Department for International Development was set up to alleviate poverty, yet our research shows that it is providing crucial support for oil and gas projects which boost oil company profits, but do little for the communities they are supposed to help. Oil is a curse not a blessing for too many countries in the developing world."

Lorne Stockman, co-author of the report said:

"DFID needs to take a close look at the role of energy in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Oil development has failed the poor and will further undermine development through climate change. Tinkering at the margins will not solve the problem. DFID must take the lead, in line with the UK Government's professed leadership in addressing climate change, and cease support for oil while aggressively supporting alternatives that suit the needs of the poor. Renewable energy technologies, that put the production of clean and locally sourced energy into the hands of the poor is the way forward and DFID should be wholeheartedly supporting them."

[1] Friends of the Earth, Plan B and Platform will present the findings of Pumping Poverty at the Civil Society Outreach G8 meeting of Environment and Development Ministers in Derby on Thursday 17th March 2005. A full copy of the report is available at: (PDF†)

The executive summary is available here: (PDF†)

[2] A briefing detailing oil projects in Africa is available from the press office at Friends of the Earth.