Extinction Rebellion Scotland protest BP AGM in Aberdeen

  • Activists from Extinction Rebellion Scotland hold People’s Assembly in Aberdeen city centre and protest a BP petrol station in Fort William in response to the BP Annual General Meeting

At 3.30pm on Tuesday 21st May 2019, Extinction Rebellion will stage non-violent action in response to BP’s Annual General Meeting in the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. We are inviting ordinary people to take part in a People’s Assembly outside Marischal College. The assembly will begin with a welcome and introduction. We will then hear a series of short talks before forming smaller facilitated groups to share feelings and to deliberate on ideas for change in Aberdeen, the North East and Scotland. These will then be shared with the rest of the assembly before concluding at 4.30pm. This is a family friendly event. Extinction Rebellion Aberdeen welcome everyone and every part of everyone.

In Fort William, we would also like to invite the public to join us in a peaceful demonstration outside the BP petrol station on North Road at 11am to protest the environmental impact of the company’s activities.

BP continues to actively inhibit progress toward carbon emission objectives set out in the IPCC Report of 2018. The Gulf oil disaster of 2010, for which they were responsible, has become emblematic of human mistreatment of our planet. Their operations contributed net CO2 emissions of 51.2m tonnes in 2015 alone. Of their £15-16bn budget last year they invested only £0.5bn in renewables.

The exploitation of Scotland’s North Sea oil reserves is an unnecessary stress on the planet’s finite resources that is causing irreversible environmental effects on a global scale. These include rising sea temperatures, rising sea levels, and climatic instability. All of these effects have been identified by independent scientific bodies.

As Oil Change International’s Sea Change Report found earlier this week, ‘carbon dioxide emissions from the oil, gas and coal in already-operating fields and mines globally will push the world far beyond 1.5°C of warming and will exhaust a 2°C carbon budget.’ The opening of any new reserves in Scotland, as anywhere else, would gravely exacerbate what is already an immediate crisis on a global scale.

BP has invested heavily in a lobbying campaign to suppress legislation that attempts to reduce global heating, in accordance with their aims to expand their gas and oil operations.

The OCI Sea Change Report found that ‘given the right policies, job creation in clean energy industries will exceed affected oil and gas jobs more than threefold’.

John Bolland, 61, former oil worker, Aberdeen: “I am here today because the compelling weight of scientific evidence demonstrates that we are running out of time. Personally, I worked in the oil & gas industry for over 30 years and earned a living from it. I accept I share the blame. We have known for years that the impact of fossil fuel extraction was damaging the planet and our children’s future. But, it’s too easy to put off the big and necessary changes. Beyond Petroleum…what happened to that?! And too easy to think you can change things from the inside. We can’t change this gradually from the inside. It has to stop and it has to stop now. So this is the new beginning. For our children and grandchildren. Their parents here, myself included, have driven the planet too close to catastrophic tipping points. People in this AGM, probably people I used to work with and for, are playing Russian roulette with their lives… and with most of the chambers loaded.”

Amy Marshall, 38, artist, Fort William: “I am utterly terrified about the unfolding climate disaster and ecological collapse. The destruction of wildlife and the wonders of nature is on a scale of magnitude that is almost too awful to grasp. The natural systems that sequester carbon are being destroyed, or are themselves under threat from rising temperatures, and may cease to function. Hearing of those who have already lost their lives or their precious children to wildfires or cyclones fills me with sorrow and despair, and makes me cling to my own two small children, fearful for our future. Governments and society seem incapable of changing quickly enough to halt our extinction. The only shred of hope I have is in Extinction Rebellion, and the idea that we can radically change our system of government. We could have a better democracy, where Citizen’s Assemblies make decisions on climate change, free from oil interests. That is why I am out here today, dressed for a funeral: to highlight the true cost of oil, what we are losing, and the danger of leaving decisions up to politicians who are in thrall to the oil industry.”

Paul Mather, 43, geography teacher, Aberdeen: “Our climate is breaking down around us. The warnings given by the scientific community have been stark and clear. We must act now, decisively and with immense urgency to stop extracting and burning fossil fuels. As a company which profits from a product that threatens our very existence, BP is in a pivotal position to help us protect ourselves. There is a moral imperative for BP to keep its fossil fuel assets in the ground.”

Andrew Squire, 64, architect, Fort William: “I’m part of the BP protest primarily because I have two young grandchildren and I am terrified for their future and that of their generation, if the environment continues to be wrecked by massively wealthy corporations in their endless quest for greater profits.”

BP have consistently demonstrated that their culpability exceeds mere negligence. Extinction Rebellion demands that the British Government hold them and others like them to account for their actions, and prohibit further exploration of natural gas and oil reserves.

Extinction Rebellion Scotland will continue to campaign for a rapid and just transition to renewable energy sources to reduce CO2 emissions to net zero in the UK by 2025. Meeting this objective requires an end to further use of harmful energy sources such as offshore oil and gas.