EIGHTEEN-year-old Dylan Hamilton wasn’t even born when the first COP was held and he’s frustrated that progress on stopping climate change since then has been glacial.

It’s why he became an activist with Fridays for Future when he was a young teenager, joining pupils around the world in protest about the lack of action.

“I stopped going to school on Fridays when I was 14,” said Hamilton, who is studying politics and environmental studies at the Open University.

He thinks the UK is now in a worse position regarding efforts to reduce harmful emissions than before last year’s COP26 in Glasgow because of the UK Government’s approval of 100 new oil and gas exploration licences.

“There’s been a huge shift towards a narrative that we need more drilling in the North Sea to alleviate the energy crisis when they know as well as I do that it won’t fix the problem,” Hamilton said.

The National: Fridays for Future activist Dylan Hamilton Fridays for Future activist Dylan Hamilton

“We need to phase out fossil fuels as quickly as we can. That doesn’t mean overnight but it does mean as quickly as possible. We need a just transition as quickly as possible to make sure no workers are left behind and they are reskilled so that can work in the renewables industry. We need to turn off the taps.”

Hamilton points out that most of the fossil fuel left in the fields is oil for export and which continues to make multinational companies “massive” profits.

“I think we have to be clear that there is not a shortage – there is an affordability crisis that is driven by people who want to make profits,” said Hamilton.

He added: “COPs are quite difficult for me to fathom as the first one took place nine years before I was born and we are still in this situation.

“There is a lot of anger and frustration but things can still change if action is taken.

“If anything tangible comes from this COP, I hope it is a clear target of what we actually need countries to do to reduce their emissions.”

Hamilton also wants the issue of loss and damages to be taken more seriously.

“Countries in the global south are already suffering consequences from a crisis they did not create so we have a responsibility to fund their adaptation and whatever they have lost,” he said. “That is especially true for the UK because we have the sixth highest cumulative emissions through history so this crisis is hugely on our shoulders.”

Hamilton is one of the activists featured in The Oil Machine documentary which is screening now in cinemas across the country, with more information available at https://www.theoilmachine.org/