BP HQ shut down by Greenpeace on eve of the company’s AGM
Greenpeace volunteers have today shut down BP’s HQ. The organisation is demanding that BP immediately ends all exploration for new oil and gas and switches to investing only in renewable energy. If BP does not do that, says Greenpeace, it should wind down its operations entirely and go out of business.
Greenpeace volunteers arrived at the HQ in St James’ Square, central London, at 3am this morning. They have encased themselves in specially designed, toughened containers weighing several tonnes each, blockading all the HQ’s main entrances and preventing staff from entering the building. A team of climbers are now abseiling from the top of the company’s HQ and blocking out each window with huge letters spelling out the words ‘CLIMATE EMERGENCY’ across the entire facade of the building.
The containers display photos from photographer Gideon Mendel’s Drowning World project which explores the impacts of the climate emergency on people from around the world.
The shutdown comes on the eve of BP’s AGM. The volunteers have established a climate emergency camp on the site, with enough food and water to keep the HQ closed for at least the whole of this AGM week.
Paul Morozzo, Greenpeace activist and container occupant, said:
“We’re shutting down BP’s HQ because business as usual is just not an option. BP is fuelling a climate emergency that threatens millions of lives and the future of the living world. The science is clear – we must stop searching for new oil and gas if we want a liveable planet. BP must clean up or clear out.”
BP has bowed to pressure from shareholders by backing a motion at tomorrow’s AGM asking the company to demonstrate how it is aligned with the Paris climate agreement. But BP plans to expand its oil and gas production at a time when it needs to be dramatically reduced.
Greenpeace argues the business models of companies like BP are in direct opposition to efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change:
- Despite scientists warning that existing oil and gas reserves already exceed what we can safely burn, BP is seeking to expand its operations in the Gulf of Mexico while welcoming President Trump’s move to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drillers;
- BP is outspending other oil majors on efforts to lobby against climate action. In March an investigation by Unearthed revealed BP successfully lobbied the Trump administration to weaken regulations that would have prevented the release of millions of tonnes of the potent greenhouse gas methane;
- BP capital expenditure remains heavily skewed towards fossil fuel, in 2018 spent around $16 billion adding to oil and gas reserves, with $500 million – just over 3% – being spent on alternatives to fossil fuels. As BP’s CEO Bob Dudley admitted to the Washington Post: “If someone said, ‘Here’s $10bn to invest in renewables,’ we wouldn’t know how to do it”.
Paul Morozzo continued:
“For too long, BP and the oil industry have paid lip service to climate action while lying and lobbying against it behind the scenes and spending billions scouring the world for more oil and gas. The reality is that BP’s whole business plan is a heavy bet against our hopes to avoid a climate catastrophe and must change.”
Paul Morozzo added:
“People around the world are demanding radical action to stop a climate breakdown and secure a better future. It’s clear there simply is no place for companies like BP in that future. At their AGM tomorrow BP’s Bob Dudley has a choice – he can immediately end oil exploration and start switching to 100% renewables or wind down the company.”
Greenpeace UK Press Office – firstname.lastname@example.org or 020 7865 8255.
On the ground: 07538 343431