Monday's actions from the Camp for Climate Action
Today Monday 23rd actions against climate change and the Royal Bank of Scotland are taking place across Edinburgh, as well as at their Gogarburn HQ.
Oil exploration company Cairn Energy, off Lothian Road, have taken delivery of an oil-like substance from a giant pig, unfortunately creating a 60 litre oil spill. (Obviously Cairn wouldn't be responsible for such a thing).
Down in Leith, the Forth Energy place is the target of agrofuels-related action, with 7 people atop the building.
The Nicholson Street branch of RBS is blockaded by folk with signs reading "ask me why I won't bank with RBS". As at midday the two hour long blockade had resulted in the bank shutting its doors.
And at RBS in South Gyle the executive car park is blocked by 7 people with superglued hands.
A report has just come in that demonstrators have pitched a tent outside RBS on North Bridge.
Meanwhile the main RBS bank in St Andrews Square is being guarded by police, including a CCTV van, and private security. In a neo-liberal version of 1984 the public are only being allowed in if they show security the correct bank card!:
- More info on what the Climate Camp is and why people are taking action against climate change
- Info on why the Climate Camp are taking action against the Royal Bank of Scotland
- Banner drop on the A8: ""RBS: Using our money to fuck the planet"
UPDATES 3pm Five arrests at Forth Energy. Action continues at RBS Nicholson Street, with lock-ons and demo outside. Protestors on Royal Mile highlight destructive RBS-backed Tar Sands project in Canada. Delegates from the indigenous people directly affected denounce that "RBS are killing our people." More info on Tar Sands project and actions today against it
Press release of the day's actions so far: RBS Operations Closed for the Day as Activists Target Sites around Edinburgh - August 23, 2010
Action Round-up for the Climate Camp day of mass action targeting RBS
and the fossil fuel industry: Monday 23 August
Activists at the Camp for Climate Action are celebrating a successful day targeting various climate criminals- holding direct actions, demonstrations and street theatre confronting the role of financial institutions like RBS in bankrolling climate change.
A group of protestors occupied the head offices of Forth Energy, a company planning to build four new biomass power stations in Scotland. Three protestors chained themselves to the front of the building, two occupied the inside of the office, and two more dropped a banner from the roof of the office. Five arrests were made.
Simultaneously, seven protestors blockaded the RBS executive carpark at the Gyle Industrial Estate by super-gluing themselves together.
A group of demonstrators dropped a two metre long piggy bank branded with the RBS logo filled with 60 litres of oil-like substance (molasses) outside the headquarters of Cairn Energy, a company which is coming under fire for its Arctic oil drilling operations. The Greenpeace ship Esperanza is currently engaged in a situation with the Danish Navy off the coast of Greenland with regards to Cairn Energy’s drilling operations.
A group of protestors, including Fringe performers, shut down the Nicolson Street RBS branch. Three individuals super-glued themselves across the front doorway, while another group played music and danced while handing out leaflets. There were three arrests.
After the previous group of protestors was removed by police, a group of “tar-covered” protestors shut down the Nicolson St RBS branch a second time, as several activists locked themselves onto the building.
Activists lay siege to RBS HQ with a six metre tall mock siege tower on wheels with a life-size papier mache rhinoceros head mounted on the front.
A banner was dropped from a building reading “oil tar sands = environmental chaos”, there were two arrests.
Another banner was dropped over the A8 which read “RBS: using our money to fuck the planet”
Above a tent protest by North Bridge, demonstrators scaled two storeys of scaffolding to drop a banner which read “RBS funds and profits from climate chaos”
Actions in previous days have included:
* Hundreds of activists in boilers suits stormed the RBS headquarters, catapulting oil-like substance (molasses) onto the building and attempting to get inside the building. There were two arrests.
* A group of activists caused the closure of RBS bank branches in town by performing a spoof song-and-dance version of Lady Gaga’s number one hit “Pokerface”, rewriting the lyrics to talk about RBS’ funding of fossil fuels. They invaded an RBS-sponsored stage on the Royal Mile and performed the routing for passers by.
* A group of 40-50 street theatre activists exposed how RBS’ PR masks the reality of its investments by performing “Greenwash Guerrilla” street theatre at Gogarburn and the Royal Mile.
* On Saturday, several hundred activists launched an incursion into the RBS HQ complex and held a dance party in the foyer as one activist gained access to the reception area and superglued herself to the front desk.
So far, there have been 14 arrests throughout the duration of the camp (from Wednesday evening through Monday afternoon).
The Climate Camp have expressed bewilderment as to police claims of oil being spilled on a main road, and have no knowledge who was responsible for it if the incident did take place.
Harry Reynolds who took part in the actions said:
“No one came to work today at the RBS Gogarburn headquarters. Since we had already effectively shut that down, we decided to concentrate our energies targeting RBS and its fossil fuel affiliates in the Edinburgh city centre. We’ve done a lot to disrupt RBS dirty energy operations today, but we are committed to keeping up the pressure until we manage to cut off the flow of capital from the banks to the fossil fuel industry.”
Natalie Swift, a spokesperson for Climate Camp, commented on the day of action:
“Today we have seen people tackling RBS’ responsibility for the billions of pounds it provides to environmentally destructive and dangerous fossil fuel projects. We are being failed by the government and financial institutions, and we are creating a vibrant social movement that takes direct action against the causes of climate change when politicians and bankers fail to do so.”
Photos of the camp and actions are available at:
They will be updated throughout the day with further photos from actions.
The making of the Trojan Pig used at Cairn Energy action
Raising a Ruckus- a short film covering the site take and the first
incursion into RBS
Updates from actions throughout the day of action, including photos
and videos, are available on the Climate Camp Twitter stream:
Press releases from throughout the day can be found at:
Mainstream TV footage
Tar Covered Climate Activists Shut Down Bank
A group of 'tar' covered activists from the Camp for Climate Action have locked themselves to the RBS branch on Nicholson Street, shutting the bank down. This is the second time that the Nicholson Street bank branch has been shut down by protests today, as several activists who had blockaded the bank entrance by supergluing themselves together in front of it had just been removed by the police, resulting in three arrests.
Another group of activists is demonstrating with banners and leaflets outside the bank branch and on the streets of Edinburgh today targeting RBS branches and sponsored events to expose the extent of Festival sponsor RBS's involvement in climate crimes.
The activists are calling for a moratorium on all new investment and loan financing in Tar Sands and other fossil fuels projects. Royal Bank of Scotland is the UK's largest investor in companies operating in the Tar Sands and financed 7.5 billion US dollars worth of loans between 2007 and 2009. One of these companies is Enbrgide, whose controversial proposed Northern Gateway Passage would be laid through British Columbia, across more than fifty First Nation territories and pristine eco-systems.
The Gateway project will cross over 1000 rivers and streams. No oil extraction is safe and secure but given Enbridge has a history of spills from its pipelines this project poses a serious risk to endangered salmon populations which use these rivers to spawn. Any spill will also contaminate the plants and animals that local First Nations depend upon for food and medicine.
The action is in solidarity with First Nation peoples who experience the harshest and most immediate effects of RBS's investments. The activists are concerned that any contamination could mirror the horrific health impacts, including rare cancers, seen in First Nation communities who live near Tar Sands extraction zones. Two members of the First Nation communities have been at Climate Camp this week, speaking of the destruction of their territory and the tragic human cost of the Tar Sands mega project.
Jasmine Thomas, a member of the frog clan from Saik'uz, which is part of the Carrier Nation, said "Tar Sands is a global phenomenon. It is the largest industrial project in the world. It is also the dirtiest. Tar Sands produces three times as much CO2 per barrel as conventional oil. There's enough underground to push us over the edge into runaway climate change. It should be everyone's concern".
Daniel Balla, one of the activists involved, commented "We feel compelled to take action against RBS as it is now 84% owned by the UK taxpayer. People may be unaware that the institution using vast amounts of public money is investing in the most destructive carbon-emitting industries in the world. Since the bank was bailed out by the British Government, 99% of RBS's financing of the energy sector has been pumped into fossil fuels. The future RBS is currently funding will be further polluted,
oil-addicted and incur a tragic loss of Indigenous Peoples and degradation of the environment".
RBS branch shut down with superglue and music
People opposed to Royal Bank of Scotland’s investments in oil tar sands have super-glued themselves to its Edinburgh Nicholson Street branch, situated at the centre of the City. They were joined by performers angry at RBS’ sponsorship of the Edinburgh Fringe.
One participant, Jenny South, said “Climate change kills 400,000 people every year. RBS invests in oil from Canadian tar sands – the most climate-busting fuel on the planet, and one which is devastating local indigenous communities. We are standing together with those communities to resist this 21st century atrocity, to make a passionate call for climate justice, and to hasten a much-needed fossil fuel-free future.”
The action is one part of a mass day of direct action called by The Camp for Climate Action, which has been camped opposite RBS’ global headquarters in Gogarburn for the last week.
For more information about Climate Camp and RBS’ investment in tar sands visit www.climatecamp.org.uk
An 'oil' spill was caused outside the offices of Cairn Energy in central Edinburgh this morning. Activists targeted the Scottish energy company because it used public money from RBS to help it start drilling for oil off the coast of Greenland last month.
The art activists who met at the Climate Camp carried a two metre long piggy bank branded with the RBS logo filled with 60 litres of an oil like substance towards Cairn Energy's offices. Triggered by a golden coin representing the public money used to bail out the bank, the RBS 'piggy bank' unleashed its contents, believed to be molasses, covering the entrances and the street. Activists also sprayed 'oil' on the outside of the building with fire extinguishers.
It was revealed yesterday that Cairn Energy received £117 million of loans and equity last year from RBS, almost half of which directly enabled the drilling off the Greenland coast to start. This drilling is particularly controversial because the area hasn't been exploited for oil before and has only been made possible as climate change has caused icebergs in this region to melt. The BP Deepwater oil spill has clearly shown the dangers of offshore drilling and it's argued that Cairn don't have the experience to deal with accidents in the previously pristine and extremely environmentally sensitive Arctic. (A spill in the area would be almost impossible to clean up due to the thick ice.)
Alex Wilson, one of the activists who undertook the action said:
“RBS doesn't just sponsor the Edinburgh Fringe, it sponsors the oil companies who destroy the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world through oil spills, war, drought and floods.
“Risky drilling in the Arctic by Cairn Energy has only been made possible by financial involvement by RBS. This is an outrageous use of over a hundred million pounds of public money given the economic and climate crises that we are facing.”
The activists say that this is the start of a new focus on taking direct action against the oil industry. A mass day of action dubbed 'The Crude Awakening' is already being planned and is set to take place in October in London.
Rachel Stone said:
“We have got the oil industry in our sights. We will be targeting the pumps, airports and factories that oil flows through. We will be taking direct action to switch off oil because it is at the heart of the climate crisis that we are all facing.”
For more information, interviews or print quality photos please call 07040 900 905
Notes to editors
* According to Bloomberg figures released yesterday Cairn Energy received £117 million in equity and loans.
* For more information on the Camp for Climate Action see www.climatecamp.org.uk.
* For more information about the Crude Awakening – day of action in October go to www.crudeawakening.org.uk
DAY OF MASS ACTION BEGINS WITH CAR PARK BLOCKADE AND OFFICE OCCUPATION
The day of mass action targeting RBS and the fossil fuel industry is kicking into full swing as two groups of protestors stage direct actions at the site of two climate criminals. Seven protestors have superglued themselves to the executive car park of the RBS industrial estate, while another group of seven have taken over the offices of Forth energy in Leith.
PROTESTORS RISK ARREST TO DROP BANNERS AND OCCUPY FORTH ENERGY HEAD OFFICE UNTIL DEMANDS ARE MET
Video live stream of the action is available at qik.com/sinbad68
Leith—A group of 7 activists have just targeted the office of the headquarters of Forth Energy. Two have scaled the roof of the building and have hung banners reading ‘BIO MASS HEALTH HAZARD’ and ‘BIO MASS = CLIMATE CHANGE’. Three are inside, and two have chained themselves to the front of the building. The activists, part of the Climate Camp outside of RBS headquarters in Edinburgh, are targeting Forth Energy because of their plans to build four environmentally destructive biomass (wood-burning) energy power stations in Scotland. The office takeover began at 8 am this morning.
Location: 1 Prince of Wales, Dock, Leith, EH6 7DX
Why are environmental activists risking arrest by taking such drastic action? Forth Energy, which labels itself a ‘green’ energy company, is misleadingly pushing biomass as a solution to climate change. In reality these power stations will increase carbon emissions, pollute local air, increase deforestation and lead to the displacement of native peoples in the global south. Wood burned in the proposed Lieth, Grangemouth, Rosyth Port and Dundee Port sites will be fed primarily from wood chip freighted in from abroad.
Biomass power stations are more climate damaging than traditional fossil fuel power stations because of the destruction of virgin woodlands that they inevitably require. If built these power stations will mean even more wood imports from abroad and even more destruction of rainforests and old growth forests to be replaced with plantations of eucalyptus in places like South America. For example, the smokestack CO2 emissions from a biomass power station are commonly around 1.5 times greater than those from a coal power station with the same energy output.
In addition to harming the global climate, these power stations will severely impact the health of the communities where they are built. All biomass burning releases significant quantities of nitrogen oxides, sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Such pollution increases the risks of respiratory diseases, heart disease, cancer and premature mortality including infant mortality and miscarriage. Leith power station alone would generate nitrogen oxide and particulates equivalent to 100,000 more cars while Edinburgh and Grangemouth power stations are 200m to the nearest home and Dundee power station just 100m.
Demand for imported wood will also mean native peoples and peasant farmers could be displaced from their land and intimidated, killed, injured or enslaved to make room for new mono culture wood plantations as routinely happens in many developing countries.
Despite all the scientific evidence to the contrary, the UK and EU governments class biomass power stations as renewable, green energy. Forth energy will receive £300 million in subsidies annually for their four biomass power stations and this is to be funded through an increase on utility bills.
Maryla Hart, spokesperson for the group of Climate Camp activists “Biomass is exacerbating climate change, destroying precious forests and pulling money away from real, sustainable solutions like energy efficiency measures, wind, solar and tidal power. Forth Energy can expect growing opposition until they scrap the idea of biomass altogether’.
Notes to editor:
- The four power stations which will produce a total 560MW will burn a total of 5.6 million tones of wood a year.
- The four power stations would burn approximately the equivalent of 2/3 of all the wood the UK currently produces every year.
- The UK’s total demand for wood for pulp, paper and biomass is already altogether unsustainable as the UK relies on net imports for over 80% for its wood and wood products.