Extinction Rebellion actions at fossil fuel enablers across London

From 11am on Monday November 21st, Extinction Rebellion and other aligned groups took nonviolent action at thirteen sites across central London, targeting the offices of companies and organisations which have links to the fossil fuel industry. The groups sent a universal message that it’s time to ‘cut the ties’ with fossil fuels.  

Actions took place at BP, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, BAE Systems, Church House, Ineos, Eversheds Sutherland, Schlumberger, the International Maritime Organisation, the Institute of Economic Affairs, JP Morgan, Arch Insurance, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. 

The actions follow the conclusion of COP27 in Egypt, which was widely criticised for the heavy presence of representatives of oil and gas companies. Hill+Knowlton Strategies, one of the companies targeted today, has worked for fossil fuel companies ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco and recently managed communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference at Sharm El Sheikh.

Extinction Rebellion spokesperson, Sarah Hart, said: “Behind incomprehensible government decisions to double down on fossil fuel development, sign off new oil exploration licenses and allow the big energy companies to rake in record profits, lies a network of companies and organisations that are profiting from this destructive path. 

“While the rest of us worry about the cost of turning the heating on our government is prioritising the profits of the very companies that are jeopardising our climate and environment. But everyday people are way ahead of politicians. They want to be able to heat their homes and they want a future for their children. 

“So today, Extinction Rebellion are sending the message that it’s time to cut the ties with fossil fuels or lose the social license to operate in the UK.”

DETAILS OF THE ACTIONS: 

XR Cymru at Hill+Knowlton Strategies offices, Clerkenwell Green
XR Cymru splattered fake oil over the offices of public relations consultancy Hill+Knowlton Strategies. Hill+Knowlton has worked for fossil fuel companies ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron and Saudi Aramco and recently managed communications for Egypt’s presidency of the UN climate conference at Sharm El Sheikh.

IEA Writers Rebel. Photo: Extinction Rebellion.

Writers Rebel at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Lord North Street
Writers Rebel poured fake oil on the front steps of free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs. The institute, located just meters from the Houses of Parliament, has received money from fossil fuel companies, regularly publishes materials questioning the consensus on climate science and has huge influence on politicians.

21st Nov 2022. J P Morgan offices, 60 Victoria Embankment, London, UK. Three Doctors for XR arrested after pasting posters and gluing themselves to the outside windows.Photo: Extinction Rebellion.

Doctors for XR at JP Morgan, Victoria Embankment 
Doctors for XR glued themselves to the windows at the London HQ of JP Morgan and pasted images to the front facade of the building depicting scenes of climate breakdown both here in the UK and overseas. JP Morgan are the world’s biggest fossil fuel financiers.

Christian Climate Action at BAE Systems offices, Carlton Gardens
Christian Climate Action left handprints of fake blood and oil on the offices of Britain’s leading arms manufacturer BAE Systems. BAE Systems supply weaponry to conflicts which increase the vulnerability of people living on the front lines of climate change. The arms giant also provides military and technical support to Saudia Arabia, enabling the regime’s oil production.

Christian Climate Action. Photo: Extinction Rebellion Holly

Christian Climate Action at Church House, Great Smith Street
Christian Climate Action also took action outside Church House in Westminster to highlight the Church of England’s failing strategy to stay invested in fossil fuels and influence the industry as shareholders.

A spokesperson for Christian Climate Action, said: “The Church should be showing moral leadership in rejecting profiting from investments in companies that continue to fuel climate suffering.”

Plastics Rebellion at Ineos offices, Hans Crescent
Plastics Rebellion sprayed fake oil outside the offices of Ineos, one of the world’s largest petrochemical producers and a significant player in the oil and gas market. Many of the plastics produced in the UK start their life at the INEOS Grangemouth refinery.

HS2 Rebellion at Eversheds Sutherland, Wood Street
HS2 Rebellion sprayed the offices of multinational law firm Eversheds Sutherland with fake oil. As solicitors for HS2 and Esso, Eversheds Sutherland have been forerunners in criminalising nonviolent environmental protest through the use of injunctions.

XR East of England and XR Youth at Schlumberger offices in London, Buckingham Gate
XR East of England and XR Youth poured fake oil over a globe at the offices of the world’s largest oilfields services provider Schlumberger to expose their complicity in ecocide. As the world’s largest oilfield services provider, Schlumberger enable fossil fuel extraction, operating in 120 countries around the world, with over 36,000 patents dedicated to extracting every last drop of oil and gas from the ground.

Ocean Rebellion at the International Maritime Organisation, Albert Embankment 
Ocean Rebellion held protests outside the offices of the International Maritime Organisation where performances illustrated the UN shipping body’s refusal to regulate shipping emissions. A heavy plume of smog filled the air and an oil slick appeared on the ground with dead birds caught in it.

Money Rebellion at Arch Insurance, Great Tower Street
Money Rebellion poured fake oil at the offices of Arch Insurance. Arch Insurance are understood to be in negotiations with fossil fuel giant Total regarding the insurance of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), a project that will jeopardise important ecosystems, fuel climate change and pose significant risks to millions of people. Money Rebellion is there to say ‘Arch must rule out EACOP’.

Sky Rebellion at Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan, Portman Square
Sky Rebellion poured fake oil in front of the London offices of Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan. The Canadian based pension fund invests in infrastructure projects including the controversial expansion of Bristol Airport which it owns.

XR South East at BP. Photo: Extinction Rebellion

XR South East at BP HQ, St James’ Square
XR South East used fire extinguishers to spray fake on oil BP headquarters in central London. 

A spokesperson for XR South East, said: “The addiction to fossil fuels must end. The huge fossil fuel corporations like BP and those who aid and abet them KNOW what we face. BP hides the dirty secrets that lie behind its latest big profit of £7,100,000,000. Enough is enough. Today we are exposing the ties between the collaborators and we will piece together the web of lies with our actions.”

XR South West at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Victoria Street
XR South West sprayed fake oil on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to protest against its plans to issue more than 100 new licences for exploration and extraction of oil and gas in the North Sea – meaning renewed and accelerating extraction way beyond 2030 and way beyond the UK’s Paris Agreement commitments.

XR Rhythms (marching between the locations listed above)
In June, London endorsed the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, so XR Rhythms is marching through London to highlight the web of fossil fuel enablers still working in our city. We want to drum out fossil fuel investments and celebrate the future transition to a more sustainable economy!

[from an Extinction Rebellion press release.]

Continue ReadingExtinction Rebellion actions at fossil fuel enablers across London

BP reports staggering profits

Image credit: Mike Mozart – Creative Commons

Left Foot FORWARD: BP reports staggering profits as oil and gas prices surge

Oil and gas giant BP has reported profits of £7.1bn between July an September 2022. The staggering bumper profits come as oil and gas prices remain high following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

BP’s profits, which are double that of the same period last year, have been slammed by environmental groups and the left, who have highlighted both the climate and cost of living crises – the latter being largely driven by energy prices. There have also been renewed calls for increasing the windfall tax on fossil fuel companies.

The reports of BP’s mega-profits come just days after Shell reported similar figures. Shell made £8.2bn between July and September 2022 and did not pay anything in the oil and gas windfall tax. That’s because of a loophole in the windfall tax which gives tax breaks to companies for investing in more fossil fuel extraction. BP has said it will pay $800m in windfall tax this year.

Continue ReadingBP reports staggering profits

Open Letter to Liz Truss on ‘Anti Growth’ – XR co-founder, Gail Bradbrook

Dear Liz Truss,

In your recent speech at the Conservative party conference you mentioned growth 29 times; said “I will not allow the anti-growth coalition to hold us back” and named Extinction Rebellion as part of this coalition.

Thank you for opening up this critical conversation. We appreciate the opportunity to share our understanding and we hope many others will join us for a grown up conversation in these urgent times. 

We know that members of your party understand our concerns, and are also worried about your economic ideology. When we met Michael Gove in 2019 he said:

“We have had an economic model for generations which has been extractive and exploitative, and in the same way as we’ve created debt fuelled economic growth that creates a burden for the next generation, so our approach towards natural resources has had to change and we’re wrestling as a government with how to do that, how to move towards a more circular economy. And also how to re think different parts of our economy, and again we may disagree over the imperative or the importance placed on growth, but certainly how we can achieve a greater degree of human flourishing and at the same time be more respectful to the limited resources that the earth has and critically also recognise that its not simply about drawing down resources, the earth is a system, our environment is a system of which we are a part and if we do violence to it then we are doing violence to ourselves, we are hacking at the tree of life.”  

There are many forms of growth that are beneficial. Specific sectors of our economy badly need to grow, for example homegrown sources of renewable energy. A sector that would do so much better if this supposed free market was not distorted by the vast subsidies the UK gives to fossil fuels.

However, the data is clear, growth for growth’s sake, without limits, without purpose, is destroying life on earth. When unfettered growth happens in a human body we call it cancer. Economic growth is only beneficial up to a certain point, beyond which it is harmful to people and planet. Economic growth is lucrative to those who are already wealthy (who unsurprisingly then insist on keeping it as the focus). Trickle down economics has failed us for a long time, everyone knows it’s just an out of date idea, not a realistic method that improves the lives of the general public. When we are measuring GDP we would best consider it a measure of the Gross Destruction of the Planet by the Greedy Death Project! 

Do you not agree when Margaret Thatcher said “We should always remember that free markets are a means to an end. They would defeat their object if by their output they did more damage to the quality of life through pollution than the well-being they achieve by the production of goods and services”

Extinction Rebellion are calling for a Well Being economy, which has a clear and measured purpose to maximise wellness and minimise harm; at home and across the world. There is no shortage of fantastic ideas about how to achieve that, including ideas to support circular uses of materials whilst staying within planetary and social boundaries. We love imaginative ideas, such as regenerative finance and mission based economics; where there could be a focus of our specific strengths on tackling major challenges together, making use of the innovation and delivery capabilities in business and markets, the organising capacities of our civil service, the intellect of our academics. We are a wealthy country, we could afford to pay for universal basic services and lead the world on tackling the climate and ecological crisis. And Extinction Rebellion champions assemblies of ordinary people, to think together with experts about how to make this vital transition.

Because it doesn’t matter how attached your Government is, Ms. Truss, to a specific form of free market ideology. Physics and ecology are ultimately in charge and the life support systems of the earth are starting to tip. Doubling down on the extraction of fossil fuels commits our children and grandchildren here and globally to lives where food production fails and civilisation  collapses. We charge that members of your Government, who are making decisions now, against the advice of scientists and international bodies, are committing crimes against humanity. 

We see truths shared from many quarters. King Charles has said “We need nothing short of a paradigm shift, one that inspires action at revolutionary levels and pace.” The Chief Executive of Shell Ben Van Beurden recently called for a windfall tax and  Philip Kotler, father of modern  marketing called for Degrowth (the academic term for an economy focussed on Wellbeing) In October 2018 the IPCC said that limiting global warming would require “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. 

People will become increasingly desperate in this country as the consequences of years of terrible choices come home and impact us all. Choices to sell off our assets, to poison our food, air and water; while at the same time we failed to invest in homegrown renewables and insulate homes. We are left with little security and a cost of living scandal. Over 20,000 people in the UK already died unnecessarily this year since April. Those with the least responsibility for these crises are suffering in the millions, battered and uprooted by climate disasters, from the Horn of Africa, to Bangladesh, to Mozambique, to Pakistan.

We see the callousness and the corruption and the refusal to face reality. Those of us who have the capacity and the conscience will do all we can to stop this death machine. There are a growing number of people who just can’t pay the bills that are mounting and others who won’t work for poverty wages, unable to make ends meet despite their hard work (though I understand you, Liz Truss, think British workers “need more graft”). We will strike bill payments in solidarity and strength, and we will not let you frack the British countryside, poison the water and the people.

Yes, we are uniting, because we believe in our shared humanity, we love our country, and this Earth, and we are willing to take responsibility, whether that comes at a cost to us, on behalf of our collective wellbeing. 

A key aspect of civil disobedience is a belief in the need to talk. I would welcome a dialogue with yourself or colleagues – please be in touch!

Sincerely,

Gail Bradbrook

Dr. Gail Bradbrook, Co-Founder Extinction Rebellion

Notes for Editors

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/23/uk-has-biggest-fossil-fuel-subsidies-in-the-eu-finds-commission
  2.  A systematic review of the evidence on decoupling of GDP, resource use and GHG emissions, part I: bibliometric and conceptual mapping https://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/159385/; Tim Parrique https://unevenearth.org/2020/06/decoupling/ Limits to Growth review https://www.vice.com/en/article/z3xw3x/new-research-vindicates-1972-mit-prediction-that-society-will-collapse-soon 
  3.  When countries have low GDP, economic growth brings a high marginal benefit. But, for developed countries with high GDP, the marginal benefit of economic growth is lower. There is a diminishing marginal utility of extra income and at higher levels, the problems of growth may outweigh the benefits. https://www.economicshelp.org/macroeconomics/economic-growth/benefits-growth/ 
  4.  The academic term is Degrowth – eg see Jason Hickel Less is More, https://weall.org/ etc
  5.  Circular Economy eg https://ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/topics/circular-economy-introduction/overview
  6.  Doughnut Economics https://doughnuteconomics.org/about-doughnut-economics
  7. Eg https://thefinanser.com/2022/10/what-is-regenerative-finance-refi-part-one 
  8.  Mariana Mazzucato https://ec.europa.eu/research-and-innovation/en/horizon-magazine/missions-could-make-europe-cool-again-prof-mariana-mazzucato 
  9.  UBS eg https://universalbasicservices.org/; Calls for UK to not drop its commitments : https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/oct/03/cop27-host-egypt-warns-uk-not-backtrack-climate-agenda
  10. https://theconversation.com/climate-tipping-points-could-lock-in-unstoppable-changes-to-the-planet-how-close-are-they-191043
  11. https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/oct/04/shell-chief-tax-energy-firms-ben-van-beurden-gas-electricity
  12. Philip Kotler, father of modern marketing, supports degrowth: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/ben-tolhurst_degrowth-the-case-for-constraining-consumption-activity-6982821869351510016-jRQb?utm_source=share&utm_medium=member_ios
  13. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2335991-there-are-thousands-more-uk-deaths-than-usual-and-we-dont-know-why/
Continue ReadingOpen Letter to Liz Truss on ‘Anti Growth’ – XR co-founder, Gail Bradbrook

Climate protest news 13 April 2022 / 2

Extinction Rebellion goes door-knocking for new recruits

Extinction Rebellion climate change activists have been door-knocking across London to attract new members.

The group says it is carrying out three days of “deep-canvassing”, approaching people in their homes to “listen to their concerns” about climate change.

Residents are being invited to local talks, to learn about the campaign and how to get involved.

Extinction Rebellion (XR) says the “outreach” exercises are part of a “week of action” in the capital.

XR says despite polls suggesting a high level of concern about climate change, “rarely do people have the opportunity to share their thoughts and fears about the world”.

Protestors enter Shell HQ in London to tell workers to ‘jump ship’

Climate protestors have stormed a Shell (LON: SHEL) office to tell its workers to leave the oil giant, according to reports.

Climate protestors have stormed a Shell (LON: SHEL) office to tell its workers to leave the oil giant, according to reports.

Extinction Rebellion UK has Tweeted to say that campaigners are currently inside the supermajor’s London headquarters.

Videos have also appeared online of demonstrators gluing themselves to the reception desk at the Shell base and demanding “to talk to HR”.

Widespread protests have taken place in London today as XR and Just Stop Oil activists call for an “immediate end” to oil and gas.

I went on TV to explain Just Stop Oil – and it became a parody of Don’t Look Up

Miranda Whelehan

I wanted to sound the alarm about oil exploration and the climate crisis, but Good Morning Britain just didn’t want to hear

Civil resistance is really not about protests or marches, it is about responding to a situation beyond our worst nightmares. At Cop26, the people who run things effectively confirmed that they were going to let billions of the poorest people on this planet die in order to keep business as usual going.

Well, to that we say no. We will not continue as generations have before and allow our actions today to have devastating consequences on those tomorrow. It is time to break that cycle and stand up for what is right. “If governments are serious about the climate crisis, there can be no new investments in oil, gas and coal, from now – from this year.” That is a direct quote from Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency. He said that last year. Time has quite literally run out. It only takes one quick search on the internet to see what is happening. Somalia. Madagascar. Yemen. Australia. Canada. The climate crisis is destroying lives already and will continue to unless we make a commitment to stop oil now.

Kwasi Kwarteng declares ‘we won’t switch off oil and gas production’ after protesters glue themselves to building

The Business Secretary has insisted the Government will not switch off domestic oil and gas production as climate change activists targeted his department in an act of “civil disobedience”.

But in a message to the activists posted on social media, the Business Secretary said: “You cannot – and we won’t – switch off domestic oil and gas production.

“Doing so would put energy security, jobs and industries at risk – and would simply increase foreign imports, not reduce demand.”

The group said the demonstration was part of a week of “civil disobedience” by XR in London.

“The action is planned to continue until the UK Government agrees to implement Extinction Rebellion’s immediate demand: to end all new fossil fuel infrastructure immediately,” it said.

Comment by dizzy: I understand that XR and Just stop oil are demanding an end to any expansion to oil and gas and not stopping domestic production as Kwarteng is claiming.

Continue ReadingClimate protest news 13 April 2022 / 2

Climate protest news 13 April 2022 / 1

Extinction Rebellion protest – live: Activists glue themselves to government buildings in week of mass action

Activists have glued themselves to UK government buildings in protest against new oil and gas as Extinction Rebellion continued its week of mass action in London.

XR said scientists – dressed in white lab coats – were taking part in the demonstration on Wednesday, even sticking scientific papers to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on Wednesday.

Edinburgh climate activists ‘blockade’ government office in Shell gas field protest

Campaigners from groups including Stop Cambo and Extinction Rebellion Scotland have staged a sit down protest outside the Market Street building as part of a wave of action against the Jackdaw field

Activists have demanded plans for a new North Sea gas field are rejected in a sit-down protest outside a prominent Edinburgh government office.

Campaigners from the Stop Cambo movement gathered outside the Market Street building on Wednesday afternoon as part of a protest against Shell’s proposed Jackdaw field off the coast of Aberdeenshire.

The energy giant resubmitted an application for the location last week – despite having initial plans turned down by regulators in October – amid encouragement from the UK authorities for firms to ramp up oil and gas production in an effort to reduce energy reliance on Russia.

Just Stop Oil protesters arrested after gluing hands to road on twelfth day of action

JSO image

Just Stop Oil protesters have been arrested on their twelfth day of action as they glued their hands to roads and climbed on top of oil tankers in Essex.

The group launched a demonstration on an oil refinery in Purfleet, Essex

Images shared by Just Stop Oil show protesters on top of tankers in Purfleet with the message: “ We are in civil resistance. This morning we occupied a tanker on the roads near Purfleet terminal to stop the flow of oil”.

JSO image
Continue ReadingClimate protest news 13 April 2022 / 1

To tackle the cost of living crisis, we must end the Great British Rip Off

A major culprit of the ‘cost of living’ crisis is hiding in plain sight: an extractive economy that redistributes wealth upwards

Last week the UK energy regulator, Ofgem, announced that the energy price cap will rise by 54% in April, pushing up bills for millions of households by £693 per year. On the same day, fossil fuel company Shell reported that its annual profits had quadrupled, largely due to the very same soaring gas prices that are responsible for fuelling recent spikes in inflation.

In other words: not everyone is feeling the pinch of the ‘cost of living’ crisis. As household budgets are squeezed even further, fossil fuel company shareholders are laughing all the way to the bank.

Energy is far from the only sector where one person’s pain is another’s gain. In recent decades, many of our most essential services have become engines of extractive redistribution – taking wealth away from workers and funnelling it upwards to asset owners.

Perhaps the largest expense for many households is housing costs. For much of the past half-century, housing has served two conflicting functions in the economy. On the one hand, housing is a basic need – providing shelter, security and warmth. From this perspective, it is desirable for house prices and rents to stay low to ensure that housing is affordable. On the other hand, housing has become one of the primary vehicles for accumulating wealth. From this perspective, it is desirable for house prices and rents to increase, enabling those who own property to grow their wealth over time. These two roles are in direct conflict with each other: housing can not simultaneously be affordable and lucrative as an investment at the same time, as much as politicians like to pretend otherwise. In recent decades, government policy has sought to promote the latter role at the direct expense of the former – with dire consequences for the millions of households that are locked out of homeownership.

While economists and politicians hail a booming housing market as a sign of wealth creation, in reality it’s one of the most powerful forms of wealth redistribution. When the price of a house goes up, the total productive capacity of the economy is unchanged, because nothing new has been produced: it merely constitutes an increase in the value of an existing asset. While this increases the net wealth of individual homeowners and landlords, for everyone else it often means facing higher rents in the rental market, and having to save for a deposit and pay more interest on larger mortgages. The reality is that the housing ladder is rather like a zero-sum game: the wealth enjoyed by some is mirrored by the deprivation and exclusion of others.

There can be no doubt that the ‘cost of living crisis’ is a real concern. But it is not new, and it is not simply the result of rising gas prices. For decades, British households have been squeezed by a pincer movement of persistently low incomes on the one hand, and extractive business models on the other. Unless urgent action is taken on both fronts, another ‘lost decade’ looks all but inevitable.

Continue ReadingTo tackle the cost of living crisis, we must end the Great British Rip Off

COP26 News review day 8

Obama implores world leaders to ‘step up now’ to avert climate disaster

Barack Obama has called on world leaders to “step up and step up now” to avert climate breakdown, singling out China and Russia for being foremost among countries that are failing to cut planet-heating emissions quickly enough.

Obama said that while progress has been made at the Glasgow climate talks, including significant pledges made by countries to reduce methane emissions and to end deforestation, “we are nowhere near where we need to be at” in cutting emissions and that “most nations have failed to be as ambitious as they need to be”.

HSBC led big banks’ charge against climate change action

HSBC coordinated efforts to try and water down action on climate change in the banking sector by seeking to delay a key deadline and scrap mandatory science-based targets for a major net-zero alliance, the Bureau can reveal.

Revealed: 1,000 fossil fuel and big business reps at COP26

Nearly 1,000 representatives from the fossil fuel industry, big business and nuclear power companies have registered to attend the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow, according to an analysis by The Ferret.

They include executives from Shell, BP, Equinor, Chevron, Total, Gazprom and other major oil and gas companies, as well as multinational corporations such as McDonald’s, Bayer, Walmart, HSBC, PepsiCo, Nestlé and Microsoft.

There are also delegations from the coal industry, tobacco companies and pesticide manufacturers. Eleven people from two climate sceptic think-tanks have registered for the summit.

Wera Hobhouse MP: Tory fossil fuel funding is delaying an end date for fossil fuels

‘As long as we have a Government dominated by vested interests, the UK will make no progress on climate action.’

Wera Hobhouse is the Liberal Democrats’ justice spokesperson and MP for Bath.

To reach net zero, we need an end date for the use of fossil fuels. Yet, the Government is taking us backwards on tackling climate change. Any wonder when they are bankrolled by fossil fuel interests and climate sceptics? As long as we have a Government dominated by vested interests, the UK will make no progress on climate action. 

Earlier this week, an investigation revealed that the Conservative party and its MPs received £1.3m in gifts and donations from climate sceptics and fossil fuel interests since the election in 2019. 

How the UK Government is funnelling billions into fossil fuel projects abroad

While spinning itself as a ‘leader’ in fighting climate change, the UK is funnelling billions into climate wrecking fossil fuel projects overseas

Continue ReadingCOP26 News review day 8