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Source: Greenpeace –

  • Greenpeace activists stage socially distanced protest at BP’s London headquarters
  • Chief executive of BP Bernard Looney says ‘net-zero’ but takes no action to get there.
  • Campaigners urge in open letter to Bernard Looney: “You owe shareholders answers”.

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Greenpeace activists staged a socially distanced protest outside BP’s Annual General Meeting today, which is being broadcast from the company’s London headquarters. 

Three protesters, brandishing a banner stating: “BP: Time to go renewable”, set up in front of BP’s office in London’s St James’s Square. 

Mel Evans, senior climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: “BP’s boss Bernard Looney promised to re-imagine BP but shareholders have been let down with empty statements and precious little action. 

“Mr Looney says he is committed to ‘net-zero’ while also promising that BP will be in the oil and gas business for ‘a very long time’. He cannot have it both ways. The only way BP can address its climate impact is to stop drilling for new oil and gas and switch to renewables. Otherwise investors can expect more turmoil to come.”

Security guards outside the building confirmed that Mr Looney is at the headquarters for the broadcast. Police arrived on the scene and were happy for protesters to stay. 

The Greenpeace protest comes after a cohort of green groups, including WWF, RSPB, and Global Witness sent an open letter to Mr Looney, stating that he owes shareholders answers.

The letter, which had eight signatories, set out five questions for Mr Looney: 

  1. What do these mixed messages mean for investors, workers, and for the climate target to halve carbon emissions this decade?
  2. When will BP stop exploring for new oil and gas? 
  3. Will BP retire its North Sea assets and support investment and jobs in offshore wind and decommissioning oil rigs? 
  4. Will BP reduce its absolute emissions, rather than pursuing a greenwashed ‘net zero’ plan based on unfeasible offsets and carbon storage technologies which you yourself accept “don’t exist”? 
  5. Will you protect BP’s future by shifting capital expenditure to invest heavily in renewables? 

BP’s AGM takes place during one of the most volatile periods in the oil industry’s history. Oil demand collapsed almost 30% in April,  and is projected to fall almost 20% in May, The knock on effect on prices has seen Brent Crude slump from around $65 / barrel in January to around $30 / barrel. Mr Looney recently told the FT: “It’s gotten more likely [oil will] be less in demand… Could it be peak oil? Possibly.”

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

Contact the Greenpeace press office on: press.uk@greenpeace.org or 020 7865 8255

Mr Looney,

Today you face BP investors – via webcast – at the company’s AGM during one of the most volatile periods in the oil industry’s history. 

Just weeks before you took the helm in February, Oil and Gas Authority chairman  Tim Eggar warned the industry’s social licence to operate is under serious threat, pointing to the youth-led climate movement. The covid-19 pandemic has seen an unprecedented oil demand slump, with BP’s profits down 66% and its share price hitting a 24-year low. As we move towards a ‘new normal’ it must meet the needs of the climate emergency. 

In your first speech you promised “We get it”, while pledging BP will be in oil and gas for a “very long time”. Just last week, you claimed to be  “more convinced than ever” that BP must embrace the energy transition, while lobbyists representing BP pressured Norway to ignore proposals to restrict offshore Arctic drilling. A company jointly-owned by BP already holds Arctic oil concessions that threaten a highly biodiverse marine area – the disputed Norwegian marginal ice zone. 

Today, you owe your shareholders answers. What do these mixed messages mean for investors, workers, and for the climate target to halve carbon emissions this decade? When will BP stop exploring for new oil and gas? Will BP retire its North Sea assets and support investment and jobs in offshore wind and decommissioning oil rigs? Will BP reduce its absolute emissions, rather than pursuing a greenwashed ‘net zero’ plan based on unfeasible offsets and carbon storage technologies which you yourself accept “don’t exist”? Will you protect BP’s future by shifting capital expenditure to invest heavily in renewables? 

Investments do not do well in an economy collapsing due to catastrophic climate change. BP must take decisive action now.  

Signed,

Richard George, head of Greenpeace UK’s oil campaign

Gareth Redmond-King, Head of Climate Change, WWF UK

Sarah Whitebread, Head of External Affairs, RSPB

Ken Penton, UK Climate Campaigner, Global Witness

Gabrielle Jeliazkov, Lead Campaigner – Just Transition in the North Sea Campaign, Platform London

Ryan Morrison, Just Transition Campaigner, Friends of the Earth Scotland

Chris Garrard, Co-director of Culture Unstained

Simon Rawson, Director of Corporate Engagement, ShareAction

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