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Opinion: BP's Aberdeen Gallery Donation Can't Hide Its Big Oil Investments

Read time: 4 mins

This is a guest post by Chris Garrard, Co-Director of Culture Unstained, a campaign group raising awareness of fossil fuel company sponsorship of the arts.

Last week wasn’t the best week for the reputation of oil giant BP. Greenpeace activists blockaded BP’s head office in London, shareholders took the company to task at its AGM in Aberdeen and protestors vocally declared the meeting “a crime scene“ as they were roughly dragged out by security. And on Friday, the biggest climate strike yet took place with young people leading protests in more than 1,400 cities across some 110 countries.

But if you caught the news last Thursday, there was a very different story being told about BP, with the oil giant being celebrated as a champion of the arts – with the company paying £1 million for a series of “BP Galleries” to be named after the firm as part of a major redevelopment of the Aberdeen Art Gallery.

Just Transition — Part Five: Seeking a Green Transition

Read time: 12 mins
Maersk drilling rig being towed

Scotland has declared a “climate emergency”, intensifying debates over the future of the North Sea oil and gas industry. Five years on from a ‘catastrophic’ downturn, Chris Silver explores the impact of changing employment conditions in a sector experiencing unprecedented levels of industrial tension.

Thurso-based Mark Boyd is not your average offshore worker, not least because when he’s not out on a vessel working as a hydrographic surveyor, he spends most of his time maintaining his position as Scotland’s professional surfing champion.

Comment: I Want BP to Understand the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is Sacred Ground — They Can't Drill It

Read time: 4 mins
ANWR

Bernadette Demientieff is the Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee, a group pressuring BP to pledge not to drill the community's sacred lands.

Later this month, I’m going to travel halfway around the world from my home in Alaska to Aberdeen, Scotland to speak at BP’s annual shareholder meeting. I plan to share with the oil company’s executives how important the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is to my people and urge them not to pursue destructive oil drilling or exploration in our sacred lands.

Polly Higgins — The Lawyer Taking on Big Oil’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

Read time: 7 mins
Polly Higgins

Polly Higgins is a woman on the hunt. And you get the sense that, after decades of working towards holding powerful polluters to account, her prey may finally be in sight.

When you're looking at any crime, you're looking at who are your suspects,” she tells me in a soft Scottish accent that belies the hard truths she regularly delivers. “Within a corporate context, you're looking at CEOs and directors. Within a state context, it is ministers and Heads of State.”

‘All Rhetoric and No Action’: Oil Giants Spent $1 Billion on Climate Lobbying and Ads Since Paris Pact, Says Report

Read time: 7 mins
climate policy grades for five major oil companies

A new report by a British think tank estimates that since the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world’s five largest listed oil and gas companies spent more than $1 billion lobbying to prevent climate change regulations while also running public relations campaigns aimed at maintaining public support for climate action.

Combined, the companies spend roughly $200 million a year pushing to delay or alter climate and energy rules, particularly in the U.S. — while spending $195 million a year “on branding campaigns that suggest they support an ambitious climate agenda,” according to InfluenceMap, a UK-based non-profit that researches how corporations influence climate policy.

Comment: School Strikers Know it's Time to End Corporate Lobbying that Encourages Climate Inaction

Read time: 2 mins
London school climate strike

By Thomas O'Neill, Research Director of corporate transparency NGO InfluenceMap

If you were sitting on the last lifeboat from the Titanic, making a hole here, removing a panel there, while denying that ships can sink, your fellow passengers would rightly deem your actions deliberately destructive. 

The climate and energy policies which governments must implement if we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent within the next 12 years are our civilisation’s lifeboat to avoid the worst effects of climate change, which threaten the security of all humankind.  

UK's Polluting Foreign Investments Criticised as BP and Exxon Get Domestic Tax Benefits

Read time: 4 mins

The UK is facing intensifying criticism over its continued funding of overseas fossil fuel projects.

At the latest hearing of the government’s enquiry into the UK’s export credit agency (UKEF), experts told MPs that the UK was missing out on an opportunity to push for more international action on climate change by continuing to support dirty energy projects overseas.

BP’s Basra Operations Praised by British Ambassador Prior to Fatal Civil Unrest

Read time: 4 mins
Fire at Rumalia oilfield

Shortly before violent protests broke out in the oil-producing city of Basra in Iraq, British government representatives visited an oilfield partially operated by BP, and praised the company’s “impressive” social and environmental performance. Campaigners have criticised the visits for prioritising BP’s interests over those of local Iraqis.

According to documents seen by DeSmog, released in response to a Freedom of Information request from campaign group Culture Unstained, the British ambassador to Iraq, Jon Wilks, met with BP and Iraq’s Department for International Trade on 9 April 2018. The meeting took place at the Rumaila Oilfield, which is being developed by BP.

Lord Donoughue: New Chair of Climate Science Denying Group Has Vested Interests in Fossil Fuels

Read time: 2 mins

The new chairman of the UK’s principal climate science denier campaign group holds investments in a number of fossil fuel companies, including those building controversial oil and gas pipelines in Canada.

Labour peer Lord Bernard Donoughue was handed the reins of the climate science denying Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) after former Chancellor Nigel Lawson stepped down earlier this month.

BP's First Global Advertising Campaign Since Deepwater Horizon Accused of Being 'Deceptive and Hypocritical'

Read time: 7 mins
Baby featured in a BP ad

Nearly a decade after being held responsible for the largest marine oil spill in history, BP’s first global advertising campaign in ten years has been denounced as “deceptive and hypocritical”.

The global advertising campaign called “we see possibilities everywhere” aims to showcase BP’s efforts to embrace clean energy and includes a series of short videos profiling the British oil giant’s plan to increase its energy production while lowering its emissions.

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