Cape Town - Maintaining the Water Day theme of COP27 on Monday, activists from Extinction Rebellion (XR) Cape Town staged a protest in the form of “sea theatre” (as opposed to street theatre) at the Glencairn tidal pool to highlight the threat that rising sea levels pose to coastal communities.
The activists were dressed to the nines, sipping champagne and eating cake at a table in the centre of the pool to illustrate how big oil, big gas and governments lavishly make deals to expand oil and gas, drilling while ignoring the literal water lapping at their ankles as a result, representing sea level rise as well as the other devastating impacts of the climate crisis.
Monday’s theme at COP27 focused on how climate change affected water and so to resonate with the COP27 theme, the XR team based themselves and their performance in water.
XR Cape Town spokesperson Jacqui Tooke said: “We want to draw attention to the fact that the wealthy global north and greedy fossil fuel industry are not only responsible for the majority of carbon emissions which have caused climate chaos, but they continue to make ‘dirty deals’ for further fossil fuel exploration knowing that the science is clear – that we need to leave fossil fuels in the ground, transition to renewable energy and halve emissions by 2030 for us to have any chance of a liveable future.”
This comes after the Provisional State of the Global Climate in 2022 report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) which found that the past eight years were on track to be the warmest on record.
“The tell-tale signs and impacts of climate change are becoming more dramatic. The rate of sea level rise has doubled since 1993. It has risen by nearly 10mm since January 2020 to a new record high this year. The past two and a half years alone account for 10 percent of the overall rise in sea level since satellite measurements started nearly 30 years ago,” the report states.
XR was concerned about how the Global South and poorer countries, least responsible for carbon emissions, were now the most vulnerable to the sea level rise and the many other devastating impacts of climate change.
“Many coastal communities and small island states are under threat of being washed away. Yet despite this, we see the fossil fuel industry pushing a strong agenda to explore for new oil and gas,” Tooke said.