Approximately 40 climate campaigners on Thursday night "gate-crashed" a government-sponsored dinner in the United Kingdom just as a top U.K. official in the Tory government delivered a speech on live television to the country about the nation's economic health.
"The real bottom line, the priority that needs to come before all others, is not profit, revenue or growth, but survival. That needs to be recognised in every boardroom and on every balance sheet."
—Areeba Hamid, Greenpeace UK
The Greenpeace UK activists targeted the speech being given MP Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer and a Tory in the House of Commons representing Runnymede and Weybridge, at the annual dinner in which government officials offer their view of the nation's economic outlook.
According to a statement put out by the group:
The Chancellor had been speaking for under 5 minutes when the activists burst into the Egyptian Hall in the Mansion House, residence of the Lord Mayor of London and the location for his annual statement on the state of the economy. The activists, in red evening dress with Suffragette-style sashes reading 'climate emergency,' came to flash-mob the Chancellor's podium, hijack the microphone and give what they described as "the speech we all need in a climate emergency." The Lord Mayor (Peter Estlin, from Barclays Bank) and the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, were also due to make speeches.
"This is a climate emergency. Business as usual is no longer an option," declared Areeba Hamid, climate campaigner for Greenpeace UK, as she confronted Hammond. "The real bottom line, the priority that needs to come before all others, is not profit, revenue or growth, but survival. That needs to be recognized in every boardroom and on every balance sheet, starting with the Chancellor's."
Climate protest at mansion house during Chancellors speech. Protestors Seem to have taken over PA with alarm being piped through Never seen this in nearly ten years coming here. pic.twitter.com/upYix7qI0p
— Simon Jack (@BBCSimonJack) June 20, 2019
"The people in this room have been funding climate change, and we're not giving the banks and hedge funds a pass for their unethical investment decisions anymore," Hamid continued. "The Treasury is the government's banker. It plays the same role propping up vested interests and blocking progress on climate change. But science demands a radical program of policy interventions and public investment if our economy is to survive the coming storm. The serious, sensible, grey-suited grown-ups in the room ignored the warning signs and crashed the economy in 2008. We can't afford to let them crash the climate too."
The Treasury has tried to water down govt action on climate change & the people in the room for @PhilipHammondUK’s #MansionHouse speech have been funding it. But we are in a #ClimateEmergency - business as usual is no longer an option. That’s why we interrupted the speech tonight
— Greenpeace UK (@GreenpeaceUK) June 20, 2019
"Our climate is breaking down. Business as usual is over," Greenpeace UK declared in a tweet, echoing the message of those who interrupted the dinner.