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UPDATE: Greta Thunberg was arrested by the Metropolitan Police whilst protesting with Fossil Free London outside the Intercontinental Hotel, around 1pm on Tuesday.
Nuri Syed Corser, an organiser with Fossil Free London, said: Arrests like these will not deter us. Our right to protest is our own, it is not given to us by the Government.”
Hundreds of climate protestors were joined by Greta Thunberg as they gathered in London to disrupt the Energy Intelligence Forum – a rebrand of the ‘Oil and Money Conference’ today. The summit is a three day gathering of the world’s major fossil fuel companies and politicians including UK Energy Minister Graham Stuart.
Led by Fossil Free London, protesters including Thunberg and environmentalist Chris Packham took to the streets outside the Intercontinental Hotel, where the Energy Intelligence Forum is being held, blocking all doors to the conference.
The action is part of a series of disruptions to this week’s Energy Intelligence Forum designed to protest against the climate records and political influence of the fossil fuel companies and banks attending, including Shell, Total, BP, Exxon, JP Morgan and The Bank of America.
Activists from France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, and Norway have travelled to take part in the protest.
Greta Thunberg addressed the crowds at a press conference outside the glitzy venue. Responding to a question from Byline Times about her verdict on PM Rishi Sunak, she said his delaying of green targets is “unfortunately not unique to him nor the UK.”
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“We are seeing this all over the world, that people in power and elected officials are failing. [They] are failing humanity as a whole, and continuing to sacrifice people in the name of greed and destruction.
“But we must remember that we were as far away from what is needed as we could possibly get. And now we are even further away from that.”
Asked if she thinks the situation is getting worse under politicians like Sunak, she added: “We can only look at the numbers, so yes.”
Controversial COP28 president Sultan Al-Jaber, who is also CEO of the UAE’s Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC Group), was due to speak at the Energy Intelligence Forum, alongside the CEOs of prominent oil companies. He was announced a key speaker in April and was on the website last month – but withdrew as an attendee shortly before the event. Climate campaigners believe it was linked to the planned protests.
Nuri Syed Corser, an organiser with Fossil Free London, said: “We’ve all seen the floods and wildfires. We all know the climate crisis is a threat to our safety and our future. We know we must stop burning oil and gas.
“But the super-rich oil bosses in this hotel are hijacking our politics to keep us hooked on their dirty fuel. They are spending millions lobbying our politicians to water down climate policies. They have even installed an oil baron as president of the COP28 global climate talks. That’s why so many people are here: to call out this corruption and get oily money out of our politics.”
The world’s major fossil fuel companies have been registering record-breaking profits as the energy and cost of living crisis gripped countries across the globe. In the UK, households have struggled with dramatic rises in food and energy costs, leaving around one in five people in the UK living in poverty.
In 2022, the Conservative party received £3.5m from individuals and entities linked to climate denial, fossil fuels and high-pollution industries, while Shell and BP both signed major deals with Infosys, an IT firm founded by Sunak’s father in law.
The Government and the North Sea Transition Authority are in the process of giving out more than 100 production licences for new oil and gas in the North Sea.
Rosebank, the UK’s biggest undeveloped oil and gas field, was given the green light by the UK government last month. The Government has stated it does not expect greater UK production to lower energy prices. The licence approval comes as September this year was recorded as the hottest September since records began. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has now warned “the area of global boiling has arrived”.
Greta Thunberg Speech in Full
“Behind these closed doors at the Oil and Money conference, spineless politicians are making deals and compromises with lobbyists from destructive industries, the fossil fuel industry.
“People all over the world are suffering and dying from the consequences of the climate crisis. We allow these industries to meet with our politicians and have privileged access to.
“The world is drowning in fossil fuels, hopes and dreams and lives are being washed away by greenwashing and lies. It has been clear for decades that the fossil fuel industries were well aware of the consequences of their business models.
“And yet, they have done nothing. Quite the opposite, they are actively delaying, destroying, and denying the cause of the climate crisis, and spreading [lies] about their own engagement in it. They have actually created loopholes to allow their businesses to go on at the expense of the planet.
“We’re choking on their fumes. We’re suffering from the increased heat and we are fearing for the future and the present.
“We cannot trust these politicians. And we cannot trust the processes of the COPs, because the fossil fuel industries are tightening their grip around their processes, and dictating their outcomes. And we know that this has been the case for decades.
“It is not a coincidence that we are speeding in the wrong direction. The people in power are knowingly leading us to the end of a precipice. They know very well the invaluable things they are sacrificing in order for them to continue squeezing out profits from a dying planet.
“We cannot let this continue. The elites of the Oil and Money conference: they have no intention of transitioning. Their plan is to continue this destructive search for profits.
“That is why we have to take action to stop this and to kick oil money out of politics. We have no other option but to put our bodies outside this conference, and to physically disrupt. And we have to do that every time. We have to continue showing them that they are not going to get away with this.
“This is only the beginning of this fight. And we are going to stay and we’re going to come back time and time again until we see real action.
“We cannot rely on politicians and the people in power to save us. They have proven time and time again that they always prioritise the fossil fuel industry, and destructive industries above people and their own citizens.
“So we have to reclaim the power and that is what we’re doing today. We have to kick oily money out.”
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