Rig Rebellion 2.0: Baillie Gifford update

Extinction Rebellion Scotland end peaceful protest Edinburgh-based fund manager Baillie Gifford, who have increased MSP pension fund investment in Shell, after eleven hours

  • Extinction Rebellion Scotland end successful peaceful protest after 11 hours
  • MSPs and Baillie Gifford must ‘put their money where their mouth is’ and drop pension fund investment in Shell
  • “To continue to up investments in fossil fuels while MSPs, activists and common sense call for the opposite, is not only ludicrous but dangerous.

This morning at 7.30am, activists from Extinction Rebellion Scotland blocked two entrances be locking themselves together and established a hard picket at another entrance to the Edinburgh offices of Baillie Gifford.

Baillie Gifford is the Edinburgh-based fund manager which manages Holyrood’s pension fund and has increased MSPs investment in Shell by 19% in the face of the climate and ecological crisis driven by fossil fuels.

Around 60 activists gathered outside the central Edinburgh offices to support the lock-ons, with a heavy police presence. They spent the day talking to passersby and holding banners which read ‘MSPs Pensions Invested in Ecocide’ and ‘Baillie Gifford Profits From Extinction’. 

Some of the protestors were physically locked together to prevent removal, two with arms in a barrel. The peaceful protest continued for eleven hours and ended when the building had closed for the day. 

This action was taken to demand that MSPs and Baillie Gifford start taking the climate crisis seriously and stop investing in fossil fuels. The Government may have declared a ‘climate emergency’, but the continued investment and support of oil & gas makes this declaration meaningless. Shell is set to increase production by 35% over the next 10 years.

Elinor, one of the activists who were locked on commented; “I work on a divestment campaign with a project to get MSPs to divest from a fossil fuel portfolio. Today I wanted to target Baillie Gifford because I am tired of going through MSPs and getting no response. I wanted to go directly to the company that is increasing investments in fossil fuels in a time of climate breakdown. We disrupted the business day, we brought attention to this disingenuous investment. I did this today because this is the right thing to do, it’s the only thing to do.”

In response to our protest, Baillie Gifford issued a statement claiming they “believe in being part of this conversation and supporting companies on this journey towards a sustainable future.” 

An Extinction Rebellion Scotland spokesperson responded to their statement with this;

“A conversation has two sides. If Baillie Gifford really want to be part of this conversation, they better actually start listening. To continue to up investments in fossil fuels while MSPs, activists and common sense call for the opposite, is not only ludicrous but dangerous. Pension fund investment in oil, gas and coal is funding the expansion of the fossil fuel industry, leading us into catastrophic climate change. What we really need to be investing every penny into is a just transition led by workers and communities.” 

Meg Peyton Jones, 24, biology PhD student commented;

“Financial systems are at the heart of the climate crisis unfolding around us. MSPs and Baillie Gifford are being disingenuous – both claim to care deeply about climate change and its impacts, whilst quietly profiting from the destruction of our planet – but the same is true of almost all big investments. As Mark Carney, outgoing head of the Bank of England, said according to leading pension fund analysis “is that if you add up the policies of all of companies out there, they are consistent with warming of 3.7-3.8C”. As long as resource exploitation is so loosely regulated, lucrative and out of the public eye, we don’t have a hope of slowing climate change.”

Scientists say the risks associated with an increase of 4C include a nine metre rise in sea levels – affecting up to 760 million people – searing heatwaves and droughts, and serious food supply problems.

Extinction Rebellion Scotland have three demands for the Scottish Government;

1. Tell the truth about the fossil fuel industry’s role in driving the climate crisis.

2. Act now to stop supporting the industry, wrap it up and begin a just transition away from it. 

3. Trust ourselves in a legally binding citizens assembly; we want workers, communities and the people of Scotland to make the decisions on how this is done.
No more vested interests, no more executives out for their own profit at the table, no more lobbyists or shady think tanks. 

Rig Rebellion 2.0 began last week when three women scaled a rig leased to Shell in Dundee Harbour, delaying it from leaving. It was due to leave for the North Sea to begin brand new drilling for the fossil fuel liquified natural gas. Rig Rebellion 1 took place in March last year when activists disrupted and delayed the Scottish Oil Club’s annual dinner at the National Museum of Scotland. 

More actions will be taking place this week around Scotland. 

About Extinction Rebellion Scotland

Extinction Rebellion Scotland is a non-violent direct-action movement formed to take urgent action in the face of climate emergency and ecological catastrophe, as part of the global justice movement.

Our demands, issued as a Declaration of Rebellion to the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government on 24 November 2018, are as follows:

  1. That the Scottish government tell the truth about the climate and wider ecological emergency, acknowledge and reverse any policies that help drive the climate crisis, and commit to enabling a rapid and just transition to a sustainable and fair society.
  2. That the Scottish government enact legally binding policy measures to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025, including by replacing a system based on accelerating consumption with one based on ensuring the well-being of all.
  3. The creation of a Scottish Climate Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as part of creating a democracy fit for purpose and a society that cares for all.

Read more about Extinction Rebellion: https://rebellion.earth