October 6, 2015




LONDON — Protesters tonight blockaded the oil industry’s premier £1,500 a head award ceremony in protest over the ‘Petroleum Executive of the Year Award’ going to Rex W. Tillerson of Exxon Mobil, amid recent revelations of knowing about climate change and funding denial for decades.

‘Oily executives’ blocked the revolving doors to the swanky Dorchester event, while suited protesters with ‘#Divest’ signs blocked other entrances, leaving guests stranded outside of their £1500 a head dinner. At the main hotel entrance an ‘Oil’s Got Talent’ show highlighted dubious business practises across the sector.

Chelsea Edwards, a Divest London spokesperson said: “Handing accolades to companies funding climate denial shows the oil industry has no plans for meaningful change. Organisations and institutions around the world should break their ties with this dysfunctional industry and divest from these companies.’

The awards are part of the annual ‘Oil & Money’ conference, attended by hundreds of fossil fuel executives across the world. The award comes just weeks after revelations that ExxonMobil first knew about climate change in 1977; and has since spent years undermining the evidence to protect their bottom line. Between 1998 and 2010 alone the company gave over $22 million to climate skeptics.

They are currently facing legal actions over failure to disclose the risk to shareholders and the public. Tillerson has also been Chairman of the American Petroleum Institute and a board member of the Business Roundtable, both of which actively campaign against action on climate change.

“The Oil & Money awards highlights the fact that the oil industry has its head in the sand when it comes to climate change and this only reinforces the need for investors to join the rapidly growing divestment movement across the UK,” Danielle Paffard, UK Divestment Campaigner from 350.org said.

Pekka Piirainen, 23, glued to an internal door to the Ballroom to lock it shut said: “Most of the executives here tonight will be retired by the time my generation bears the brunt of the climate devastation they have created. We can not stand by silently as they destroy our future. I’m taking action today to show they can try and ignore the science, but they can’t ignore us. Shame on them.”

“The science is clear: we must keep 80 per cent of fossil fuel reserves in the ground to avert catastrophic climate change,” Divest London’s Charlie Satow said. “Scientists know this, the public knows this. Oil executives like Rex Tillerson are undermining the public’s future for the sake of lining their own pockets now.”

The Oil and Money awards come on the same day Shell launches its much criticised ‘Energy Transition Strategy’. It comes a week after Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England warned of the extreme risks of climate change to global financial stability, and the need to leave the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground.


Interviews and high res photos available

Contact: Chelsea Edwards, Divest London Spokesperson, for more information: chelsea.edwards0@googlemail.com, +44 7971404831, Danielle Paffard – 350.org danni@350.org, 07979817888 for more information.

This protest was organised by Divest London: a citizens’ movement, pushing institutions across the capital to divest from fossil fuels. They are part of the global Fossil Free divestment movement.

Follow the events live via @DivestLondon