Extinction Rebellion holds a tax day climate protest at the Federal Reserve in Boston
Extinction Rebellion holds a tax day Climate protest at the Federal Reserve in Boston
Climate Activists demand the Massachusetts and federal government stop using our tax dollars to bail out polluting fossil fuel corporations
BOSTON, MA — Local members of the international grassroots movement, Extinction Rebellion (XR), were joined by activists from Sunrise Boston, a youth-led climate group, to demand that the Massachusetts and federal government stop using our tax dollars to subsidize and bailout fossil fuel companies.
“We chose July 15, tax day, for our action because the U.S. government gives massive subsidies and tax breaks to oil, coal, and natural gas corporations - the very companies that are fueling our destruction and putting life on earth at risk of extinction,” says Matthew Kearney from Extinction Rebellion Boston. “We are demanding that the US government shutdown the subsidies and end the bailouts for the oil, coal, and gas industries and redirect those billions of dollars to communities on the front line of the climate and ecological emergency. We need a rapid transition to clean, renewable sources of energy and ecological sustainability.”
The action highlighted the necessity of a just transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable, sustainable sources of energy that prioritize the most vulnerable people and establish indigenous sovereignty and remediation led by and for Blacks, people of color, Indegenous, and all communities on the front line of the climate and ecological emergency.
The federal government provides massive subsidies to oil, natural gas, and coal companies. Estimates suggest that the U.S. handed over at least $649 billion in subsidies and tax breaks to the fossil fuel industry in 2017.¹ According to EnergyPolicyTracker.org, the U.S. is delivering $58 billion in unconditional bailouts to fossil fuel companies during the COVID-19 pandemic.²
“Oil executives knew decades ago that their industry was disrupting the earth’s climate and causing global temperatures to rise,” said Kearney. “Rather than lead a transition to clean renewable energy sources, they buried their own research, attacked independent climate science, and expanded drilling, all with the benefit of government subsidies.”
According to Rebecca Beitsch from The Hill, “A 2018 EPA study found black Americans are subjected to higher levels of air pollution than whites, while a 2011 study found that communities of color and low-income populations are disproportionately exposed to chemical releases. Others have found that minority and low income communities were more likely to be near hazardous waste sites.” ³
A 25-foot bright pink sailboat with the words “Climate Emergency” and “Just Transition” was parked in front of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. A skit was performed on the boat, with fake “oil” poured over activists to demonstrate how profit for fossil fuels continues to override the health and safety of people and planet.
Participants held signs and large banners as they sang and chanted to draw attention to the urgency of both the climate crisis and environmental injustice that continues to put Blacks, Indigenous, People of Color, and the poor at greater risk because dangerous and polluting infrastructure is offloaded in the communities where they live, play, pray, and work.
“For over 30 years we have known how serious the climate crisis is and the urgent need to curb emissions. Unfortunately, during this time, emissions have risen over 60%. As a result, we face near-term collapse of civilization.⁴ That is why we believe it is time for nonviolent direct action. We know that our action is an inconvenience, but we are afraid for our future and the future of our children,” writes Nadia Colburn, PhD, of Cambridge, MA. “We cannot continue to let the government be lobbied by the fossil fuel industry and give subsidies and tax breaks to the very companies that are endangering the lives of our children.”
Three major reports from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and one from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services were released in 2018 and 2019.⁵ ⁶ These reports paint a dire picture: if we do not transition off fossil fuels almost immediately, we will face global famines, water shortages, increased transmission of disease, worsening wildfires, more frequent and deadly heat waves and weather events, flooding from rising sea levels, and mass climate migrations which expose already vulnerable populations to human rights abuses.
Extinction Rebellion utilizes nonviolent direct action to raise public awareness about the climate crisis and demand that governments, news media, and polluting industries tell the truth about the climate emergency. They demand that Governor Baker, the United States government, and governments around the globe enact legally-binding policies to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025 and take further action to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases in order to protect life on earth and ensure a safe and livable planet for generations to come.
Extinction Rebellion Massachusetts is an autonomous chapter of the international grassroots movement, Extinction Rebellion (XR), which started in London in 2018. The purpose of XR is to tell the truth about how dire the ecological and climate crisis is and spark immediate action in order to prevent complete climate and ecological collapse. We aim to mobilize people around the world to utilize nonviolent direct action to demand that governments take radical action to avert societal collapse caused by widespread climate and ecological disaster, and to protect front-line communities, biodiversity, and the natural world. This movement is non-political, and unites all of humanity behind a singular goal of a just and livable future. Learn more at: xrboston.org
- Environmental and Energy Study Institute, "Fact Sheet: Fossil Fuel Subsidies: A Closer Look at Tax Breaks and Societal Costs"
- EnergyPolicyTracker.org, “Track public money for energy in recovery packages,” US page
- The Hill, "Trump's latest environmental rollback threatens minority communities, experts warn"
- New York Times, “Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns”
- IPCC Report Global Warming of 1.5 ºC, IPCC Report on Climate Change and Land, IPCC Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate
- IPBES 2019 Report
Take action on the climate and ecological crises from the comfort of your home!
A compilation of books, movies, articles, and ways to take action to protect Black lives
Nadia Colburn, PhD and member of Extinction Rebellion Media team, discusses how to talk about the climate and ecological crisis with family and friends.
Sun May 9th @ noon
Tue May 11th @ 4:30 p.m.
Tue May 11th @ 7 p.m.