'A Wake for BP', (ExCel 16.4.09; British Museum 6.5.09)


** dress rehearsal to take place at BP’s 100th AGM, Custom House DLR, 10.30am, 16.4.09 **

Oil goliath BP, already forced to postpone its centenary party at the British Museum on April 1st, (also known as Fossil Fools Day[1]), has rescheduled the event for May 6th. Art Not Oil[2], the group behind the original demonstration against its ‘tarnished centenary’, will be throwing ‘A Wake for BP’ as guests arrive at the British Museum between 6pm and 7pm on the new date.

As before, people wanting to come and say ‘BP – your party’s over!’ and wish the behemoth a happy last birthday are more than welcome. The British Museum’s main gate on Great Russell Street will find a contingent of the newly-formed Brazen Pranksters playing tunes to usher in a new era of climate justice and ecological sanity.

They will also be warming up between 10.30 and 11.30am outside BP’s 100th AGM at the ExCel Centre on April 16th. There, Art Not Oil hopes to present BP Chairman Peter Sutherland a special ‘I survived BP, but the planet might not’ T-shirt, to commemorate his last AGM with the company, to place alongside his £600,000 2007-8 pay packet. They also plan to wish him a happy low-carbon retirement.

‘This really is a case of “BP100 = World Plundered”, said Art Not Oil’s Jo Castell. ‘Throughout its history, BP has spread the curse of oil wherever it has operated, injuring (and sometimes killing) workers, tearing communities asunder and decimating wildlife. And that’s long before the CO2 from burning the stuff hits the upper atmosphere and wreaks havoc with the climate. Perhaps the most valuable lesson we could learn from the 20th century is that the 21st century will need to see us kick the fossil fuel habit, and pretty damn soon. Art Not Oil would prefer to be in this for the short haul, but either way we’re determined to see BP decommissioned as a central part of that oily cold turkey.’

Sam Chase added that ‘Any company that can boast that it's replacing “2008 oil production by 121% and aims to grow annual output through to 2020”(4) needs to be decommissioned forthwith, if we’re to have a chance of avoiding climate catastrophe in the not-so-distant future. Fortunately, Art Not Oil is not alone in working for this to happen, as movements of resistance are gathering strength all over the world.’

Notes to editors:

(1) Fossil Fools Day was big and international in 2008 and 2009:

(2) Art Not Oil stands for 'creativity, climate justice and an end to oil industry sponsorship of the arts', and is part of Rising Tide UK. Look out for its nigh-on irresistible 2010 desk diary in September!
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(3) The Carbon Town Cryer has now posted his BP paean ‘Celebrate This!’ here: www.myspace.com/carbontowncryer

(4) What’s Right With BP?
(An edited version of this text is now available on a free Art Not Oil postcard):
* Beyond Petroleum? 'BP replaces 2008 production by 121% & aims to grow annual output through to 2020'; (BP press release)

* Fossil fuel-induced climate chaos hit Europe in August 2003, killing tens of thousands of mostly older people in record-breaking temperatures. 150,000 may have died worldwide.

* In 2007, BP bought 50% of the Sunrise oil tar sands field in Canada. Tar sands are most polluting of all the fossil fuels. ‘Fund managers attack BP over tar sands plan’, Times, 18.4.08; www.tarsandswatch.org

* ‘Exposed: BP, its pipeline, and an environmental time-bomb’, Independent (26.6.04) on BP’s Baku-Ceyhan oil & gas pipelines, which will produce over 150m tonnes of CO2 each year for 40 years, causing untold damage to the world’s climate; baku.org.uk

* ‘BP doubles corporate ad budget in $150m bid for greener image’, Times, 28.12.05; BP invests 2.6% of its annual budget in solar & other renewable energy sources, much less than it ploughs into advertising and PR like its sponsorship of the Olympics, Tate, NPG, NHM etc.

* ‘BP and Shell have discussed with the government the prospect of claiming a stake in Iraq's oil reserves in the aftermath of war.’ Financial Times, 11.3.03.

* ‘BP slated for 'systemic lapses', FT, 18.8.05; 15 workers were killed and 500 injured in an explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery on March 23rd 2005.

* ‘Oil gushes into Arctic Ocean from BP pipeline’, (265,000 gallons, to be more exact.) Independent, 21.3.06.

* ‘BP profits soar 148%’, Guardian, 28.10.08. ‘Oil giant BP today beat analysts' forecasts as its reported a 148% surge in third-quarter profits to top $10bn (£6.5bn), boosted by record oil prices.’

* Community-controlled, post-capitalist renewable energy is already a reality; see for example www.escanda.org

...and by the way, Shell's no better. In fact, they're all up to no good!