WATCH: ’This is a crime scene’: Climate activists disrupt BP AGM in Aberdeen

Ben Wray

Extinction Rebellion protestors: “This is a crime scene. 250,000 people a year die due to the climate crisis”

  • Protestors disrupted BP’s AGM, and explained why they believe the company’s actions on the environment to be criminal, before being forcibly removed
  • The 2010 BP deepwater horizon scandal is considered to be one of the worst environmental disasters in history
  • A former oil worker joined the Extinction Rebellion protest: “People in this AGM, probably people I used to work with and for, are playing Russian roulette with their lives”
  • BP’s chairman wrote in the FT on Tuesday to say the company is seeking to transition away from fossil fuels, but provided no details 

CLIMATE ACTIVISTS were forcibly removed from British Petroleum’s AGM in Aberdeen on Tuesday [21 May], after unveiling tape to put round the meeting while shouting “this is a crime scene!”.

Extinction Rebellion protestors made international headlines after shutting down central London last month, and the direct action group’s targeting of energy giant BP comes after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon declared a “climate emergency” at the end of April.

In a series of tweets following the action, Extinction Rebellion Scotland explained the “this is a crime scene” message.

“This is a crime scene. 250,000 people die a year due to the climate crisis. 

“BP is responsible for 1.5 per cent of all global emissions. Decisions made in this room are directly responsible for deaths around the world.

“This is a crime scene. BP has trampled over indigenous rights. The Mapuche in Argentina. Drilling in sacred lands of the Gwich’in in Alaska.

“Displacing communities in Mozambique.

“This is a crime scene. BP invest less than 3 per cent in renewables. 

“But promises to invest $52 billion on new oil and gas in the next decade. 

“There is a climate emergency. Does this sound like a reasonable response?

“This is a crime scene. $30 million dollars a year are spent on greenwash. But we see through your lies. We know you lobbied for rollback on regulations.

“This is a crime scene. BP has lobbied against climate action, obstructing necessary legislation in the pursuit of profit. Hundreds of thousands of people die every year from climate impacts. And people in this room paid for that to worsen.

“BP has caused oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico. In Russia. In the North Sea. 

“This is a crime scene.”

BP CEO Bob Dudley was reported by Bloomberg News as saying he “likes a little Shakespeare” as the protesters were forcibly removed from the AGM.

Extinction Rebellion Scotland responded on its Twitter: “Laugh all you want Bob Dudley, but the real drama will be when the oil industry is made to pay for its crimes against humanity!”

READ MORE: Victory for campaigners as Edinburgh Science Festival cuts funding ties with fossil fuel companies

The BP ‘Deepwater Horizon’ oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 is considered to be the largest environmental disaster in American history. The US Government largely blamed BP for the failure, which it claimed was partly due to cost cutting exercises. BP plead guilty to eleven counts of manslaughter and had to pay a record fine of $4.5 billion. 

The company’s chairman Helge Lund wrote in the Financial Times on Tuesday ahead of the AGM that he believed world energy consumption was on an “unsustainable path”, adding: “With the oil price above $70 a barrel for Brent crude, surely BP wants to keep producing and selling as much as it can for as long as it can? On the contrary.”

“The evolution into broader energy companies would require new carbon-neutral businesses to be created at an unprecedented rate and existing businesses to be transformed,” Lund said.

However, Lund did not explain how the company would change its business model away from fossil fuels. Out of a budget of £15-16 billion in 2018-19, just £0.5 billion was invested into renewables.

READ MORE: ‘What planet are these people on?’: Green MSP slams forecasts for north sea oil extraction until 2050

Commenting, John Bolland, a former oil worker in Aberdeen and Climate protestor at the BP AGM, said: “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. 

READ MORE: ‘Elephant in the room’: Report finds Scotland must choose between North Sea industry collapse or green transition

“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.”

Andrew Squire, an architect from Fort William, also joined the protest.

“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,” Squire said. 

CommonSpace reported last week on a new report published by Friends of the Earth Scotland, which found that Scotland faces a choice between a transition to green energy jobs for north sea oil workers now, or a “deferred collapse” of the industry in years to come. ‘Sea Change’ called on the Scottish Government to end support for continued North Sea fossil fuel extraction and state subsidy for the sector. 

CS FORUM 30 MAY: Climate Change: How do we turn words into actions?