Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.


Greenpeace activists delivered 500 solar panels with a total area of over 800 square meters to BP's London headquarters in St. James Square Feb. 5, 2020. Activists locked to oil barrels blocked all six office doors around the building. (Photo:Suzanne Plunkett/Greenpeace)

Greenpeace Greets New BP CEO by Shutting Down London Headquarters With Oil Barrels and 500 Solar Panels

"Their new CEO needs to accept that if BP wants to keep trading in the twenty-first century, they need to switch to 100% renewable energy."

Jessica Corbett

About 100 Greenpeace U.K. campaigners temporarily shut down BP's London headquarters Wednesday by delivering 500 solar panels to the office and locking themselves to oil barrels in an effort to pressure the fossil fuel giant's new chief executive to take the climate crisis seriously and support a global transition to renewable energy.

"Their new CEO needs to accept that if BP wants to keep trading in the twenty-first century, they need to switch to 100% renewable energy."
—Richard George, Greenpeace U.K.

"Today is the first day on the job of BP's new CEO, Bernard Looney, who is expected to commission a report on BP's future direction in a warming world, to be published in the summer," Greenpeace U.K. said in a statement. "But despite the warm words, BP are still intending to spend $71 billion developing new oil and gas fields this decade... and they are a world leader in lobbying to block legislation which could speed up the carbonation of our economy."

The activists arrived at BP's building around 3 am local time, and although police prevented them from installing the solar panels on the surrounding pavement and roads, campaigners with oil barrels were able to block all six entrances to the building. About 50 of the activists remained at the scene for several hours as the sun came up.

London's City A.M. reported that according to Greenpeace spokesperson Stefano Gelmini, police arrested 12 activists. Reuters, citing police, put the number at nine.

Greenpeace U.K. climate campaigner Richard George, who was at BP's headquarters for the action, said that "this morning police managed to block our solar installation, but BP are trying to block the transition to clean energy on a global scale."

"Their lobbyists have the ear of governments around the world, they spend millions blocking action to fix the climate emergency and billions on drilling for more oil and gas to make it worse," he continued. "Floods, droughts, forest fires, and hurricanes all over the globe start right here with the plans made in BP's headquarters."

George also explained Greenpeace's demands of BP and Looney, a longtime employee of the Big Oil company.

"Their new CEO needs to accept that if BP wants to keep trading in the twenty-first century, they need to switch to 100% renewable energy," George said. "We're not going to settle for a green-themed rebrand, solar panels on their petrol stations, or wind turbines on their oil rigs. The only realistic response to the climate emergency is to cut emissions. BP need to stop wasting billions drilling for more oil and gas that we simply can't burn, and produce a plan to get out of the oil business entirely."

In a statement responding to the protest, the company said that "BP's new CEO Bernard Looney is visiting employees in Germany today, but he understands the frustration and anger of protestors in London. He shares their deep concern about climate change and will set out his low carbon ambition for the company next week. He hopes that what he has to say then will give people a sense that we get it and are very serious about working to address the problem."

Greenpeace U.K. responded to BP's statement in a pair of tweets urging the company to "stop with the greenwash and take serious climate action."

The U.K.-based BusinessGreen reported Wednesday:

The latest protests came as Greenpeace was yesterday given the go-ahead to legally challenge BP's latest drilling permit by the High Court.

The campaign group is arguing the government was wrong to award BP a permit to drill in the Vorlich oil fields north of Inverness because it failed to properly consult the public.

At a hearing in the High Court, Mrs. Justice Lang granted Greenpeace permission to proceed with a judicial review against the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). BP is named as an interested party in the case.

Welcoming the court's decision in a statement Tuesday, Greenpeace U.K. executive director John Sauven said, "BP has been given free rein by the government to drill for more oil and gas in the North Sea, without proper public consultation and without any consideration of the devastating impact that the use of this oil will have on our climate."

"We took action last year and boarded BP's rig to stop this from happening," he added. "Now we will fight to prove that BP should never have been there in the first place."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Campaigners to Biden: Stop Acting Like a Big Pharma 'Puppet' and Help Vaccinate the World

"Status quo protection of the intellectual property rights of profiteering pharmaceutical companies will not save us from this pandemic."

Jake Johnson ·

'An Atrocity': Poor Go Without as Rich Nations Set to Let 100 Million Covid Vaccines Rot

"Poorer countries shouldn't have to wait until our doses are about to expire to vaccinate their populations."

Andrea Germanos ·

Haiti Official Demands 'Humanitarian Moratorium' as US Ramps Up Deportations

The administration's rapid removal of refugees and migrants was denounced as "reprehensible" and "cruel."

Julia Conley ·

20 Years After Start of 'War on Terror', Groups Demand Closure of Gitmo 'Once and For All'

"President Biden has the authority and power to permanently close Guantánamo Bay, turning it from a living symbol of torture and injustice to a historical warning to future generations."

Kenny Stancil ·

'Climate Clock' Shows Rich Nations Still Owe $90 Billion a Year to Global Green Fund

"Wealthy nations must live up to their promise made twelve years ago and put their money where their mouths are," said an Oxfam climate expert. "We need to see real funding increases now."

Jake Johnson ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.

Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo