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SOUTH EAST UK
SOUTH EAST UK

South East climate activists pour and spray fake oil at London offices linked to the fossil fuel economy

Mass action across London targeting web of organisations propping up the fossil fuel economy

·        Thirteen sites hit, including those of BP, JP Morgan, the Institute of Economic Affairs, BAE Systems and the Church Of England 

·        Protestors call for organisations to CUT THE TIES with the fossil fuel economy

Extinction Rebellion South East activists are taking part in a mass action in London today (21 November) which has seen protestors spray fake oil at the headquarters of multiple organisations to highlight their part in the global web of oil companies, law firms, banks, PR agencies, Think Tanks, and state institutions that are perpetuating the fossil fuel economy.

The South East protestors, along with other XR activists from across the UK, descended on multiple sites simultaneously at 11am. 

Some offices were sprayed with fake oil, whilst at other locations protestors glued themselves to the building, hung banners at height and left handprints in fake oil and blood while activist band XR Rhythms marched to support the actions

The mass action aims to highlight the links between this web of fossil fuel enablers and to call on these organisations to CUT THE TIES to the fossil fuel industry.

Sites targeted by the protestors included BP’s London offices at St James Square, where activists sprayed fake oil across the doors, walls and windows of the building. Others waved banners accusing BP of putting  “BIG PROFITS”, “BEFORE PEOPLE”, “BEFORE PLANET”

Protestors also took action at the offices of weapons manufacturer BAE Systems; investment bank JP Morgan; Arch Insurance; law firm Eversheds Sutherland and PR company Hill & Knowlton Strategies; the Church of England and climate denial think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs.

Other companies targeted today include petro-chemical producer Ineos; oil investment funders Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, big oil service provider Schlumberger; and the International Maritime Organisation.

The city wide protests involve a coalition of campaign groups including XR South East, XR Youth, XR East of England, XR South West, Christian Climate Action, Ocean Rebellion, Writers Rebel, Plastics Rebellion, Doctors for XR, HS2 Rebellion, Sky Rebellion and XR Cymru.

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Deb Elliot, a business manager from Reigate, Surrey, who took part in the BP protest, said: “Despite indisputable scientific evidence that the fossil fuel economy has created a climate crisis which is threatening the very life of the planet, BP continues to operate unhindered, supported by a web of collaborators such as law firm Eversheds Sutherland and oilfield services provider Schlumberger. 

“We are asking these companies, which are all complicit in the continuing destruction of the planet, to CUT THE TIES to the fossil fuel industry.”

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Supporting the protest outside Schlumberger’s offices at Buckingham Gate, Dr Ines Smyth, 73, a humanitarian worker from Oxford, said:  “I am supporting the protest at Schlumberger out of concern that among those contributing to the climate crisis are the ones who hide away, out of the public gaze, behind the big oil companies to which they provide their services. 

“Powerful companies like Schlumberger, which contribute most to climate chaos, are those which are in the best position to contribute to a fair transition by using their expertise and technology."

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Dr Lindsay Parkin, a climate emergency educator and father of two from Brighton, protested outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), said:  “Inside BEIS new arrangements are being drawn up to provide more than 100 new licences for the exploration and extraction of oil and gas in the North Sea – meaning renewed and accelerating fossil fuel extraction way beyond 2030 and way beyond all our Paris commitments.

“We will continue to point this out as loudly and as often as possible in the reasonable

hope and expectation that a government whose primary responsibility is to

protect the lives of its citizens will begin to do that, rather than pursue a

catastrophic policy of supine, oil appeasing, climate cowardice.”

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Marion Malcher, a project manager from Woking, who supported the action outside BP’s HQ, added:
“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.”

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The Rev Helen Burnett, who took part Christian Climate Action’s protest against BAE Systems in Carlton Gardens, added: “Between 2015 and 2020 BAE sold £15bn worth of arms and services to Saudi Arabia as well as operating an extensive training and support programme for the Saudi military, a military outfit that supports and defends a regime determined to catastrophically increase its oil production during the next ten years. 

“So as the planet spirals into climate breakdown BAE actively supplies and supports those whose policies wreak havoc on the lives of the most vulnerable people in our world.”

“Wherever we live, we need to cut the ties between these massive corporations and the oil industry which had over 600 lobbyists at the recent COP27 negotiations.”

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Sarah Hart, a sales manager from Farnborough who protested outside Eversheds Sutherland at Wood Street, London, said:

“Eversheds Sutherland, are used by ecocidal companies like Exxon and HS2. They’re using the courts to criminalise and silence peaceful protestors. We’re here to tell them to CUT THE TIES to the fossil fuel industry”

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Jackie Macey, a teacher from Dorking, took part in the Ocean Rebellion protest outside the International Maritime Organisation, said:

“We are calling out the failings of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) which regulates shipping. It has failed to regulate the burning of Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO) at sea even though it’s so toxic its use is banned on land.  

When will the IMO wake up to its environmental responsibility?  The best they can offer are voluntary agreements to companies focused on profit, these will never work, the time for asking nicely has long since passed.”  

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Editors Notes

DETAILS OF THE ACTIONS

XR South East at BP HQ, St James’ Square
Activists sprayed fake oil at BP’s HQ in St James Square to protest against its obscene £7.1 billion profits which it has amassed as families struggle to cope with rocketing energy costs. BP makes no secret of its strategy to continue to invest in extracting fossil fuels in the face of rapidly increasing climate breakdown and despite UN General Secretary Antonio Gutterres warning that the policy is “delusional”.

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.

Christian Climate Action at BAE Systems offices, Carlton Gardens

Christian Climate Action left hand prints in fake blood and oil at the offices of Britain’s leading arms manufacturer BAE Systems who supply weapons 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.
A spokesperson said: "Through oil you have blood on your hands."

Christian Climate Action at Church House, Great Smith Street

Christian Climate Action also protested at 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 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, London.

Plastics Rebellion sprayed 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 reminded multinational law firm Eversheds Sutherland of their ties with big oil by spraying their offices with fake oil.  As solicitors for HS2 and ExxonMobil (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

Fake oil was poured over a globe to expose Schlumberger/SLB's complicity in ecocide. As the world's largest oilfield services provider, they 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 performed outside the offices of the International Maritime Organisation Illustrating the International Maritime Organisation'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. Highlighting the UN body’s refusal to regulate shipping emissions.

Writers Rebel at the Institute of Economic Affairs, Lord North Street

Writers Rebel spoke and stood in silence at the offices of free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs. The institute, located just metres 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.

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. 

Money Rebellion at Arch Insurance, Great Tower Street
Money Rebellion poured fake oil at the offices of Arch Insurance. Arch Insurance had refused to rule out insuring fossil fuel giant Total’s East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), a project that will jeopardise important ecosystems, fuel climate change and pose significant risks to millions of people.

Sky Rebellion at Ontario Teachers Pension Plan, Portman Square

Sky Rebellion protested at the London offices of the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan. The Canadian based pension fund invests in infrastructure projects including the controversial expansion of Bristol Airport which it owns.

XR South West at BEIS
XR South West sprayed fake oil at 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 all our Paris commitments.

XR Rhythms

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!” 


Further information on the organisations targeted today.

More than 400 scientists call on Hill+Knowlton to drop fossil-fuel clients: https://www.prweek.com/article/1804197/400-scientists-call-hill+knowlton-drop-fossil-fuel-clients

Risking the Future: Climate Change, Environmental Destruction, and Conflict in Yemen: https://civiliansinconflict.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/CIVIC_Report_Yemen_ClimateCrisis_ProtectionofCivilians.pdf

BAE Systems sold £15bn worth of arms to Saudis during Yemen assault: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/14/bae-systems-sold-15bn-arms-to-saudis-during-yemen-assault

Climate Change: The Church of England: https://www.churchofengland.org/about/leadership-and-governance/church-commissioners-england/how-we-invest/responsible-investment

Revealed: top UK thinktank spent decades undermining climate science: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/10/thinktank-climate-science-institute-economic-affairs

How vested interests tried to turn the world against climate science:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/10/vested-interests-public-against-climate-science-fossil-fuel-lobby

The Greenwashing Files: INEOS: https://www.clientearth.org/projects/the-greenwashing-files/ineos/#about

Tweet from Matthew Lesh, Head of Public Policy at the Institute of Economic Affairs:  https://twitter.com/GeorgeMonbiot/status/1575484547416068097

High Court Order regarding Harvil Road: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/high-court-order-regarding-harvil-road

Activists Banned From Disrupting New ExxonMobil (Esso) Oil Pipeline: https://www.law360.com/articles/1542379/activists-banned-from-disrupting-new-esso-oil-pipeline

Banking on Climate Chaos, 2022: https://www.bankingonclimatechaos.org/

Teachers across Atlantic don't want their money spent on Bristol Airport expansion: https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/local-news/teachers-across-atlantic-dont-want-5023231

London endorses global Treaty calling for an end to the fossil fuel age and a just energy transition: https://fossilfueltreaty.org/london

BP
https://www.cnbc.com/2022/10/31/well-continue-to-invest-in-hydrocarbons-bp-ceo.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-63560279

Schlumberger
https://xrcambridge.org/schlumberger/schlumberger-ecocide

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Press resources

Extinction Rebellion (AKA XR) is a non-violent direct action protest group with the goal of preventing further mass extinction and damage to the climate. The group has three main demands.

1. Tell the truth - Government must tell the truth by declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working with other institutions to communicate the urgency for change.

2. Act Now - Government must act now to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.

3. Go Beyond Politics - Government must create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.

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