The scene of the spray.
Extinction Rebellion targeted Eversheds Sutherland's London office this week to protest the firm's work obtaining injunctions against activists on behalf of Esso and HS2.
The climate protestors sprayed the entrance to the firm's London office with fake oil, on the basis that "Eversheds Sutherland have been forerunners in criminalising nonviolent environmental protest through the use of injunctions".
Extinction Rebellion referred to a High Court order where Eversheds Sutherland had acted for the government and HS2 to obtain an order preventing protestors from trespassing at Harvil Road, where they had camped out in trees due to be cut down for the railway's development. Eversheds also acted for Esso when activists were banned from disrupting a new pipeline belonging to the oil giant.
As well as hitting Eversheds' office on Wood Street, the climate protestors took action against 12 other organisations in London with links to the oil industry, including the offices of JP Morgan, BAE Systems, and the International Maritime Organisation.
“Behind incomprehensible government decisions to double down on fossil fuel development, sign off new oil exploration licenses and allow the big energy companies to rake in record profits, lies a network of companies and organisations that are profiting from this destructive path," said Sarah Hart of Extinction Rebellion.
“While the rest of us worry about the cost of turning the heating on our government is prioritising the profits of the very companies that are jeopardising our climate and environment. But everyday people are way ahead of politicians. They want to be able to heat their homes and they want a future for their children."
Hart added that Extinction Rebellion was "sending the message that it’s time to cut the ties with fossil fuels or lose the social license to operate in the UK".
Eversheds Sutherland declined to comment. It is not alone in drawing the ire of protestors for various causes - other firms have faced the threat of student boycotts, the waiving of placards, and, in at least one instance, the most unsavoury of protests.
Attacking the premises of your opponent's lawyers in an effort to intimidate them into withdrawing representation is always a good look.
Certainly no parallels with nascent fascist movements there.
The cognitive dissonance is astonishing:
"People are stuggling to heat their homes! We demand that the government stop looking for new sources of energy!"
“... the rest of us worry about the cost of turning the heating..." and "...they want to be able to heat their homes..." so "...it’s time to cut the ties with fossil fuels".
Yes. That all makes total sense.
Cut off the fuel supply so that poor little old ladies can heat their homes. All adds up.
And don't forget, if you think that plan might be open to some argument then you will "lose the social license to operate in the UK". End of.
By which you may understand that a crowd of clones of Rick from The Young Ones will shout slogans at you, barricade you from going about your daily business, and vandalise your premises. Which is all 'peaceful' activity.
It's little wonder that this stuff has such widespread public support really. It can't fail to move sympathy for the underlying cause in the wrong direction.
I used to work for Eversheds. It always used to strike me as odd when looking at the intranet that they would trumpet the fact that they were a green firm by reducing waste or recycling and right next to that would be an even bigger article about a big client win for the oil and gas industry.
"What do we want?!"
"No more British oil excavation!"
"What do we want instead?!"
"To buy oil from the Russians and from barbaric theocratic regimes in the Middle East while vaguely demanding a switch to less reliable and more expensive renewable options but without proposing any specific plan for that transition ourselves!"
"When do we want it?!"
"... and will we be watching the World Cup after this demo?!"
"No! The Qatari regime is abhorrent! I want the UK's only connection with it to be paying it billions a year for oil and gas rather than obtaining supplies of the same from British sources. Ineffective partial boycott of a four week sporting junket now!"
Wankers of the World unite.
social license (sic)
Honestly, I'm depressed reading the ignorance of the comments on this article. The world is on a path to ruin if we don't transition away from fossil fuel asap. Looking for new sources of fossil fuel (whether from British sources or anywhere else) because people are struggling to heat their homes this winter will not only make no bloody difference to people this winter, it will absolutely screw the planet and future generations. The technology exists to make renewables a viable alternative at the scale we need. What is missing is the leadership and will power to make it happen.
XR and Just Stop Oil have the right idea - call out organisations everywhere where they are failing to live up to the values they claim to espouse. Left to their own devices, leaders in business, law and politics would comfortably carry on as usual, leaving the world to burn for our children and grandchildren.
@ Anon 12:02. Thanks to Just Stop Oil i'm thinking of rebuying shares into Oil companies again. Not the best time to buy shares but it's a nice way to stick 2 fingers up at them
"I'm depressed reading the ignorance of the comments on this article."
Never fear, once you get past your freshman year you'll learn that people who disagree with you aren't automatically 'ignorant' and are in fact often just approaching the topic with a different perspective or (get this) more information than you are.
"Looking for new sources of fossil fuel (whether from British sources or anywhere else) because people are struggling to heat their homes this winter will not only make no bloody difference to people this winter, it will absolutely screw the planet and future generations"
It's true that new excavation will not ease supply this winter, but you will be amazed to learn that some of us think in timeframes longer than 60 second TikTok videos and are thinking about the next winter, and the next winter after that.
Because, unless you have a workable plan to transition to the UK to 100% renewables in the next twelve months, we are going to need oil and gas for heating next winter too (we will also need hydrocarbons for manufacturing huge numbers of essential products and materials, including those used to build renewable energy infrastructure).
That being so, there are two options. We could drill oil and gas here in the UK, with the happy side effect of creating jobs here. Or, we could go with your plan and Just Buy Saudi (you can have that name for free if you like) in which we burn the precise same amount of fossil fuels, but with the added downside of paying billions to tyrannical regimes and continuing to rely on them for energy security.
Unsurprisingly, with fuel supplies as precarious and expensive as they are, the 'Just Buy Saudi' plan is getting less popular by the day.
"The technology exists to make renewables a viable alternative at the scale we need."
If it did then your campaign would be something like "Just build X number of This Type of facility, for a ballpark cost of £XXX, within this timeframe - and then we never need oil again".
But it isn't. Because there is no workable plan. Only slogans.
Which is because, with just the slightest research, one recognises that the solutions currently available don't come in the quantity the country needs at a cost it can afford, and can't be established in a timeframe that isn't measured in decades. Which means that those solutions aren't capable of realistically replacing the existing technologies frm which we derive our energy supply in the immediate future.
Which is why you are all so quiet on specifics and are really just campaigning to keep us reliant of Saudi/Qatari/etc imports.
Transition to sustainable energy is vital and important - but there are no magic solutions that make it possible overnight. It's a phased process and fossil fuels will be necessary for decades as we make the transition. The debate is whether you'd rather produce them here, or keep the UK reliant on imports from some of the world's worst regimes.
"Anonymous 25 November 22 12:41" - this contributor gets it.
“We want more investment in public transport!”
“OK, we will build a state of the art railway between London and Birmingham.”
”YOU EVIL ECOCIDAL FASCISTS!!!”
@Anonymous at 12.41.
To clarify (in case you’re suggesting it) we could not drill for and produce all of the power the UK needs in the UK. We would - if it’s oil and gas power we want - always rely on imports until the energy translation has been achieved (in perhaps a century from now).
Until then, why not nuclear?
"To clarify (in case you’re suggesting it) we could not drill for and produce all of the power the UK needs in the UK. We would - if it’s oil and gas power we want - always rely on imports until the energy translation has been achieved (in perhaps a century from now)."
All of that is true, and I think that you and I are probably in agreement - what I'm saying is that while one can't entirely replace imports that doesn't mean that it doesn't make sense to reduce them as much as possible. Less money to tyrants = good. Jobs in UK = good. Energy security = good.
The other point that I'm making is that there seems to be a strange idea amongst Eco-kooks that drilling for oil here in the UK is worse than importing the very same oil from elsewhere. As if the UK might somehow magically be able to burn less oil overall if we buy it all from overseas. And as if we are somehow 'dooming' our children to living in a hellscape by burning North Sea hydrocarbons rather than Iraqi Crude.
It just doesn't make sense - the UK's energy transition strategy won't magically speed up or slow down depending on where the oil comes from. There is an unavoidable need to burn fossil fuels in the near term. So why not use domestic supplies?
"Until then, why not nuclear?"
I'm with you and I'm all for it. Get new nuclear plants built as fast as possible (albeit that is a period of time measured in decades).
Unfortunately you'll find a hemp-clad Eco-kooks chaining themselves to trees on every site you elect to build them. So it may take some time.
And don't forget, they aren't NIMBYs, they're BANANAs.
Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anyone.
Always entertaining to see the so-called environmentalists protesting the (checks notes) electric railway.
The earth doesn’t need saving. It’s been here for ~4 billion years and will continue to exist until the sun expands and engulfs it.
Happy weekend everyone!
I'm with anonymous from 12.02 in that I find the responses in this thread completely depressing - they seem to come from some sort of fantasy that we have decades or (according to one poster a century) to move away from using fossil fuels.
Let's be clear: JSO/XR are not demanding that we stop using FF now/this minute. What they are wanting is a clear and coherent strategy for us to decrease our use of FS drastically (and ultimately to the point of "no use") as soon as possible, not "as soon as is convenient for our political, economic and industrialist stakeholders". What has precipitated alot of the recent protects is the decision to grant a 100 new FF explorations licences (the majority of which will probably not produce anything for 5 years) and at the same time, not putting the same or (god forbid) even more weight behind our renewables potential (noting that onshore wind can come online much faster). It's not the protestors (or BANANAs as someone above so wittily called them) who are blocking expansion of onshore wind, quite the opposite.
Likewise, any coherent strategy would also look at the amount of energy we use vis-a-vis our existing housing stock which is very poor in terms of efficiency standards (compared to our European neighbours) or even just simply requiring any new homes to be built to much higher efficiency standards. But again, there is no strategy here.
If you think our government and main stakeholders are giving the climate emergency the due priority ot deserves and that they are even coming close to doing all they can then I actually the protestors are the grown ups in this situation. it might not suit the stereotype of young trustafarians but that movement contains alot of pensioners, alot of professionals. They are just normal people who lack the ability to ignore the messages they've heard consistently for generations from scientists and now, more recently from a more diverse sector of public figures like the last Governor of the BoE or the current Sec Gen of UN. If someone like the latter is saying we're on "a highway to hell with our foot on the accelerator", if the outcomes are climtate catastrophe, food shortages, mass migration and general geopolitical instability and yet your government is not doing all it can, then protesting at the vested interests who help perpetuate this madness seems a very sensible course of action.
Drilling makes little difference given we shutdown all our storage tbh, we are already exporting as we cannot use all we produce as I understand it. So the fossil fuel strategy is not coherent either.
Shhh, @PlasticFantastic. It's very unhelpful of you to introduce facts into this. The strawman is so much easier to attack.
Tell yourself what you like but a 'clear and coherent strategy' to decrease use of FFs is not XR/JSO's goal.
The front page of JSO's website says:
That the UK government makes a statement that it will immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK (emphasis added)."
Number 2 in the 'demands' section of XR's website says:
Every part of society must act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025 and begin protecting and repairing nature immediately. The whole of society must move into a new precautionary paradigm, where life is sacred and all are in service to ensuring its future"
These are not 'clear and coherent' strategies. These are arbitrary and tunnel-visioned goals from anarchists who believe human life is not important, or perhaps are too stupid to realise that climate change is not the only important issue we must deal with. It is already nearly 2023. To reach net zero by 2025 (and remember that XR's goal is global, not UK-specific), we would basically have to turn off most electricity and heating in society, and immediately end the use of petrol, diesel, kerosene and other greenhouse gas emitting products. Imagine what that would do to society. Imagine all the hospitals without electricity. Imagine the economy collapsing, no jobs available, no money to buy food or housing, and no revenue for government to fund public services. Imagine the famine that would ensue when we could no longer farm except by hand (and with no industrially-made fertiliser), and the huge numbers of people that would die as a result. Imagine the Chinese, Russian and other potentially hostile governments wondering why we just abandoned our military capabilities and taking advantage of that to ensure we can never present a threat to them again.
If you think a comparatively gradual warming of the planet would cause migratory and economic chaos leading to war and large numbers of human deaths, you ain't seen nothing...