Greenpeace Activists Tell BP: End the Oil Age Early

The Gulf oil spill should spur BP to leave Canada's tar sands alone, and focus their energy on renewable power

Today has been a momentous day for BP. The company announced the largest corporate loss in UK history and revealed
the identity of a new CEO whose job it will be to turn the company
around. As the details broke this morning, teams of Greenpeace
volunteers in electric and hybrid vehicles fanned out across London to close all the BP garages in the city.

people might see this as kicking a man when he's down - BP has seen its
reputation dive over the Gulf spill while the company faces huge
financial losses. But the men who run BP are yet to take the right
lessons from the disaster. The Gulf spill
is far from an isolated incident, and while BP continues to pursue a
business model that focuses on drilling in harder-to-reach locations, in
an effort to squeeze out the very last drops of oil, the greater the
chances are of more catastrophic spills occurring.

In the Arctic,
where BP is investing, pollution has far more serious consequences than
in warm waters like the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile the company's proposed
increased exploitation of Canada's tar sands
would see billions bumped into an operation that devastates both the
local environment and the global climate (greenhouse gas emissions from
tar sands exploitation are three times as great per barrel as from
conventional crude). BP's interest in these high-risk areas reveals the
cynical dishonesty behind its "beyond petroleum" branding.

But we
believe everyone has the potential to reform, to become part of the
solution instead of part of the problem, and it's hard to imagine a
better time for BP to do just that. The new chief executive needs to
learn from Tony Hayward's mistakes and turn his back on deepwater
drilling as well as even more risky projects in the untouched Arctic
wilderness and the tar sands. Greenpeace is urging Bob Dudley, the
company's new CEO - who once worked at BP's solar and wind business - to
take the company in a new direction after his predecessor's
concentration on high risk, environmentally reckless sources of oil.

We're not asking BP to make any sacrifices here - the biggest
financial loss in UK corporate history, the huge drop in BP's share
price and the associated pension fund problems weren't caused by
reckless investments in untried renewable technology, but by what we're
campaigning against - the blind rush to prospect for oil from
unconventional sources, increasing pollution and the risk of disaster.

the last two years, global investment in renewables has outstripped
fossil fuels, and new energy capacity coming from renewable sources in
Europe and the US last year also topped that coming from fossil fuels
and nuclear for the second year running. Renewable capacity worldwide is
expected to top fossil fuel and nuclear again next year, and in China,
of the 178GW of power generation capacity under construction at the end
of 2009, more than 96GW were renewable.

Meanwhile, BP intended to
spend 19 times its clean energy budget on expanding in the increasingly
limited oil and gas sector in 2010. Climate change means we can't afford
to wait for the last few drops of expensive, inaccessible,
unconventional oil to run out. We need to end the oil age early and move
to a clean energy future as quickly as possible, and despite their
myopic short-termism, we're trying to encourage BP's directors to take a
slice of that future.

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