The day after the release of the IPCC report warning of the extreme danger of continuing to burn fossil fuels, London citizens demanding action on climate change attended the Oil & Money conference to tell the petroleum industry that they’re not welcome in our city.

The IPCC report, which assesses the most up-to-date climate science, provided an urgent warning of the serious harms that would be inflicted on our planet and the people living on it by continuing to burn fossil fuels, and called for a rapid transition to clean energy.

But the fossil fuel industry isn’t listening. Despite opening the day after the release of the IPCC report, this year’s annual Oil & Money conference featured an agenda filled with references to “new markets”, the “future” for the petroleum industry and the “huge potential” for deepwater drilling–along with a session on how to use PR to combat what even they have admitted is a “growing fossil fuel divestment movement”.

A group of Londoners who are concerned about fossil fuels’ dangerous impact on our climate and the air in our city attended the Oil & Money conference to tell the petroleum industry that they’re not welcome here. Fossil Free London attended the Oil & Money awards dinner at the Dorchester hotel, with the aim of showing up the petroleum industry for the climate criminals that they really are.

Protesters re-branded the conference with signs and projections saying “Climate criminals inside”, and threw handfuls of oily money into the air. They also prepared a special, oily trophy for BP’s Bob Dudley, winner of the conference’s exec of the year award.

Fossil Free London is a grassroots group which campaigns against fossil fuels and the finance behind them, which are linked to environmental and social problems in our city. These include air pollution, fuel poverty and inequality. Pointing to the increasing severity of the impacts of climate change, and the rapidly closing window to limit future consequences, these London citizens are telling the fossil fuels industry that they’re not welcome in our city.

The group points out the increasing institutional commitments to withdraw money from the petroleum industry. Fossil Free London member Finnian Murtagh said:

“The divestment movement is exploding. We’ve already seen full commitments to ditch fossil fuels from Southwark, Waltham Forest, and Islington councils, with many more partial or pledged council commitments besides. Mayor Khan has called for it too, not to mention full commitments from the Irish state and New York city.

The industry is well aware that it’s approaching its end, hence their session on the PR response to divestment on the agenda at this year’s conference. They’re starting to wake up to the fact we’re winning. But progress needs to be much more rapid if we are to decarbonise at the rate required to stay within 1.5 degrees”.

Fossil Free London member Alethea Warrington added:

“Yesterday’s IPCC report makes it clear that the transition away from fossil fuels is essential not only for our climate, but also for our community. The very small window of time left to prevent catastrophic damage to our planet requires an urgent transition to sustainable energy and away from fossil fuels.

Yet far from winding down hydrocarbon assets and investing in renewables, the petroleum industry is frantically trying to continue drilling and burning for as long as possible, even as renewable energy becomes cheaper than fossil fuels. As citizens of London, we oppose the damage that fossil fuels and the industry which promotes them are doing to our planet and to people around the world, and call for urgent action on climate change.”

Fossil Free London is one of a number of groups which will continue to oppose the fossil fuel industry in our city, in the hope of combating climate change and building a fairer, greener London.