Early this morning, an experienced Greenpeace International swimmer from the Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, swam in the cold waters of the North Sea putting herself between the drill site and the 27,000-tonne rig, trying to prevent it from anchoring.
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Despite being informed of the swimmer’s presence in the water, the rig continued on its course coming within one nautical mile of the swimmer, at which point the swimmer was taken out of the water and brought back to safety.
The Arctic Sunrise remains in the vicinity of the rig, which has reached its destination, bearing witness to BP’s plans to drill for more oil amidst a climate emergency.
The Greenpeace action is unfolding against a backdrop of severe weather events all around the world. Over the last few days alone, Greenland’s ice sheet lost 2 billion tonnes of ice in just a single day, India was hit by a 50C heatwave, and hundreds of homes were evacuated following severe flooding in the North East of England.
The rig was due to set off from Cromarty, Scotland, 11 days ago, but it was first occupied and stopped by Greenpeace climbers and then prevented from reaching the drill site by the Arctic Sunrise.
Greenpeace is demanding that BP immediately end drilling new wells and switch to investing only in renewable energy. If BP does not do that, Greenpeace say, it should wind down its operations, return cash to investors and go out of business.
Scientists have been clear that we already have more oil and gas than we can safely burn under the Paris climate agreement if we want to limit catastrophic climate change. Yet BP maintains its desire to both explore for more oil and expand its oil and gas production.
Sarah North, the Greenpeace International climate campaigner who swam before the rig, said:
“For 11 long days, we have used every possible peaceful means to stop BP drilling for more oil than we can’t afford to burn. Each day we’ve held BP off is a day we’ve prevented them further fueling the climate emergency.
“The impacts of that climate emergency are staring us in the face. From Greenland losing 2 billion tonnes of ice in a single day to the scorching 50C heatwave in India, we’re already living in a world made more dangerous by fossil fuel giants like BP. They may be bent on business as usual but there’s a movement of millions standing by to stop them.”
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