Locals Call Out Exxon-Sponsored London Oil & Money Conference as ‘Divorced from Reality’

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Local campaign groups gathered to protest the start of an industry ‘Oil & Money’ conference sponsored by oil giants Exxon, BP, and Shell in London today.

The front entrance of the conference venue, the ostentatious InterContinental Hotel on Park Lane, was turned into a ‘crime scene’ to illustrate the social and environmental damage caused by the conference’s Big Oil sponsors.

Research by Oil Change International recently suggested that burning existing fossil fuel reserves would take the world beyond the 2°C warming threshold.

Campaigners are angry that the conference is focusing on how to extract more oil, and make bigger profits, rather than how to clean up their business models.

Charlie Satow from Divest London tells DeSmog UK: “They’re totally divorced from reality. They’re not talking about a clean energy future. It’s the same old business models, with the same old people deciding who lives and who dies.”

He says the stunt was constructed to show “that’s not ok, that this is a crime scene, and should be shut down. Especially in the city of London, our city, this sort of activity isn’t what we want as citizens of London”.

Protesters are angry at what they see as an unrepentant show of wealth from the industry, taking place in one of the most expensive corners of London (as anyone that has played monopoly will know).

It’s the fact that they actually call it the Oil and Money conference. There’s no shame”, Stine Wilhelmsen, from local campaign group Divest Hackney, tells DeSmog UK.

This is a conference that should not take place at all. And if it did, it should take place in hiding and not at the most luxurious hotel in London as an open celebration.”

The campaigners were dressed in specially-made commemorative T-shirts to make their point.

The conference organisers, representing the New York Times Company, declined to comment on the protest.

Photo: Martin Watters

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Mat was DeSmog's Special Projects and Investigations Editor, and Operations Director of DeSmog UK Ltd. He was DeSmog UK’s Editor from October 2017 to March 2021, having previously been an editor at Nature Climate Change and analyst at Carbon Brief.

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