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Extinction Rebellion activists have stopped railway and road traffic to Neste oil refinery in Kilpilahti, Porvoo. A number of activists have locked themselves to railway engines and and train tracks, and road access to the refinery has been blocked in two intersections. All road traffic has been stopped since Tuesday 6 pm. The demonstration is a continuation of the protest arranged at Fortum’s head office on Tuesday morning. Both demonstrations call for the state-owned energy companies to stop using Russian fossil fuels.

Extinction Rebellion Finland calls for Neste and other state-owned companies to cut their dependency on Russian fossil fuels immediately. Finland’s current levels of consumption are built on a foundation of inexpensive Russian fossil energy, yet enabling and participating in Russian fossil fuel trade funds Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. Putin’s attack in Ukraine has revealed Europe’s dependency on Russian coal, oil and gas.

Since the beginning of Russia’s agression in Ukraine, Russia’s war machine has been supported by 59 billion euros through energy trade. At the end of April, the value of fossil fuel shipments to Finland alone stood at 370 milion euros. It is also crucial that the use of Russian fossil fuels is not phased out in Finland by increasing the use of peat and more logging, or by purchasing fossil fuels from other authoritarian and violent regimes.

Overconsumption of energy funds Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine. Finnish energy companies have no right to continue supporting the war. Instead, excess consumption of energy must end.

“Neste’s website is full of beautiful words on responsibility, sustainability and human rights, while in reality the company accelerates climate change and funds Russia’s military aggression. Are the directors of Neste really concerned about human rights and responsibility, or are they just using the words to polish the company’s public image and boost sales? How can a corporation that focuses on refining fossil fuels establish a sustainable foundation for its operations?”, Extinction Rebellion Finland activist Nanna Pulkkinen, locked to the railway tracks, asks.

Neste has stated that crude oil from Russia will be replaced by crude oil from other sources by July. Norwegian Brent Crude has been mentioned as one possible substitute. However, the company remains silent about the fact that on the global spot market for crude oil, where Neste also purchases its oil products, sources of crude oil include Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the United States – fossil fuel producers that continue or support military action in Jemen – where, according to the United Nations, the worst humanitarian crisis in the world is currently underway.

“Purchasing crude oil from the global market is only a means of circumventing the conflict that currently attracts the most attention – Russian’s aggression in Ukraine. However, continuing the use of any fossil fuels means funding war, violence and environmental destruction”, Extinction Rebellion Finland demonstrator Tellu Loikkanen states. 

Our use of energy must be reduced

Ending our dependency on fossil fuels will not be possible if our current overconsumption of energy and natural resources continues. Finland’s energy consumption per capita is the second-highest in the EU, while our material consumption level is clearly the highest. It is clear that Russian fossil fuels cannot be replaced by any ethical solutions if the current consumption levels are maintained. The consumption of energy must be reduced substantially on the national level.

It must also be taken into account that the consumption of energy is not distributed equally between everyone. The industry accounts for almost 50% of Finland’s total consumption of energy, while on the individual level affluent consumers with high standards of living consume the most. These differences must be taken into account in the shift away from a culture of excess consumption into a society that emphasises fairness and respects human rights.

Finland’s fossil energy subsidies are the highest among European countries. This has to change. Supporting the fossil fuel industry and a culture of overconsumption have reached the end of the road. Our question to the directors of the companies – and to everyone who hears us – is: Is it really still appropriate to maintain a culture of overconsumption built on a foundation of a fossil fuel industry in a situation where it contributes directly to the finances of authoritarian regimes that tread on human rights in all parts of the world? Does the Government of Finland care that its state-owned companies accelerate the environmental crisis and help maintain a world order based on repression? 

Overconsumption Rebellion calls for an end to excess consumption

The current demonstration is part of Extinction Rebellion Finland’s Overconsumption Rebellion, a series of demonstrations across Finland that runs from 6 to 21 May. Overconsumption Rebellion calls for Finland’s consumption-based emissions to be included in Finland’s emission reduction targets and for a reduction of Finland’s consumption of energy and natural resources to a level that is sustainable.

This year, Finland’s Overshoot Day was 31 March. In other words, Finland had consumed its calculated share of the world’s annual resources for 2022 by that day. Regardless of this, the Government of Finland has no binding targets for curbing consumption-based climate emissions or the overconsumption of natural resources. Extinction Rebellion Finland calls for this to change in its May campaign.

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