Yachts are now the target of Extinction Rebellion

  • Post last modified:May 29, 2024
  • Reading time:9 mins read

On Sunday 26 May activists from Extinction Rebellion and Scientist Rebellion sprayed black biodegradable paint on several mega-yachts in the Marina Port Vell in protest of the eco-social and climate crisis. Other activists stormed the port facilities with a banner “fossil subsidies + luxury tourism = climate crisis + drought”, and marched along the docks:

The activists wanted to put the spotlight on mega-yachts because on a global scale the richest 1% of people on the planet still pollute more than the poorest 50%:

An activist from Scientist Rebellion said:

Mega-yachts are one of the most obvious examples of an unsustainable lifestyle. Billionaires are primarily responsible for the eco-social crisis, as they maintain an unjust and unequal economic system that is responsible for the current climate crisis.

Extinction Rebellion: it’s not just about the yachts

In the Catalan context, on the other hand, the three years of unprecedented drought that have pushed the agricultural sector to the brink of bankruptcy, stopped hydroelectric plants, raised food and energy prices, which are clear warnings that insisting on burning fossil fuels is criminal and short-sighted.

The action is part of the Stop EU Fossil Subsidies campaign, promoted by European environmental organisations calling for an end to fossil fuel subsidies. This campaign targets governments and parties running in the European elections demanding an end to fossil subsidies.

Another activist from Scientist Rebellion said:

States fund polluting fuel, the main driver of climate change. These subsidies are tantamount to financing extinction and bringing us closer to collapse.

By 2023, at least €405.1bn in subsidies have been allocated to the fossil industry in the EU, both direct (direct transfers, tax exemptions) and indirect (in the form of environmental damage without any financial compensation). For reference, this is ten times more than the amount spent on climate policies (less than €40bn per year).

That means that large corporations receive tax breaks amounting to more than a thousand euros per EU taxpayer per year. Mega-yacht owners are beneficiaries of these subsidies, as they are exempt from paying taxes on the emissions they produce, according to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.

A week of action

The action at the Marina Port Vell in Barcelona is the beginning of a week of mobilisation for the end of fossil fuel subsidies that Extinction Rebellion is organising in Madrid until next Sunday 2 June:

yachts Extinction Rebellionyachts Extinction Rebellion

Climate justice activists have gathered in the capital, where, throughout the week, different activities related to the European campaign will take place. The mobilisation will culminate on Sunday 2 June with a non-violent mass direct action.

Extinction Rebellion said:

We demand the end of subsidies as a first step towards the end of the fossil era, a condition to overcome the ongoing eco-social crisis.

Extinction Rebellion believes that the resources currently allocated to fossil fuel subsidies should be redirected towards policies to reverse the eco-social crisis.

Specifically, the organisation considers that these policies should be focused on three main axes: agroecological transition, alleviating energy poverty, and green energy transition.

A spokesperson said:

We are aware that some of these subsidies are vital to maintain key sectors such as agriculture. However, if we continue to burn fossil fuels, in a few years we will be left without agriculture or work in the countryside. That is why we are calling for urgent activation of courageous policies that attack the root of the issue, and we believe that agroecology is the only way forward for our country’s rural areas.

The same Marina Port Vell was the scene of a similar protest last September, when activists of the same organisations sprayed “Kaos”, the mega-yacht of the Walmart family.

Featured image and additional images via Scientist Rebellion

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