Climate Change activists STOP London's oil traders

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16.02.2005

Thirty-five Greenpeace volunteers halted trading on the global oil market by occupying the International Petroleum Exchange in London. They entered the high security building near Tower Bridge shortly before 2pm, just as the world market in Brent crude was about to switch to London.

They attached distress alarms to helium balloons, blew foghorns and handcuffed themselves to the trading pit, forcing the exchange to shut down. The International Petroleum Exchange does one thousand billion dollars of business each year and trading at the London exchange sets the price for 60 percent of the world's oil.

The Exchange specialises in so-called 'open outcry' trading, where all orders have to be shouted in a clear and audible voice. But the Greenpeace volunteers with their floating alarms and foghorns have made that form of trading impossible.

An IPE spokeswoman said open outcry trading was suspended for an hour but electronic trading continued throughout."

"I have to say we weren't listened to by the traders. They were more interested in punching us than listening to us," Tindale said.

"They pulled a metal bookcase down on our heads. They were trying to use that to push us back out so that was the moment we decided to retreat for everyone's safety."

One protester was injured. He was treated at the scene before being taken to a hospital.

"It was to send a message to the oil industry on the day Kyoto comes into force that business as usual is no longer an option," Tindale told journalists by telephone from the central London building on Wednesday.

"The oil industry has been key to preventing progress on climate change which is why it has taken so long for Kyoto to come into force. But scientists are telling us we are getting dangerously close to the point of no return," he added.

"To be ramping up production -- which the oil industry seems to be doing -- on the day Kyoto comes into force is simply irresponsible," he added.

The Greenpeace raid was one of a number of protests staged across the globe.

Green groups marked the day with protests outside U.S. embassies and consulates, street parades in Japan and by carving fast-melting ice sculptures of kangaroos in Australia.

Today is a day for action. After a long and arduous process the Kyoto Protocol comes into force and business as usual is not an option.

The Kyoto Protocol is designed to cut emissions of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels like oil. But Kyoto targets, which are now legally binding, fall well short of what is needed to seriously fight climate change. We are rapidly approaching a point of no return. Tony Blair and other world leaders must use this year's G8 to move the world onto a different track.

Dangerous climate change is already with us. According to the World Health Organisation 150,000 people are killed every year by climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a UN body comprising the world's most eminent climate scientists, predicts temperatures will rise this century by as much a five degrees Celsius.

Tony Blair has said he will put climate change at the top of the agenda for this summer's G8 meeting in Scotland, but he has thus far failed to push for a strong European position or extract concessions from President Bush, while UK carbon dioxide emissions have not gone down since New Labour came to power.

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