Actress Emma Thompson joined protests today (2 September), alongside Greenpeace activists over Shell’s offshore Arctic drilling campaign.
The protests were taking place outside Royal Dutch Shell’s headquarters in London. The area, famously known as London’s south bank, is widely used by tourists visiting open air exhibitions and the London Eye Ferris Wheel. Shell’s HQ is also in opposite the UK’s Houses of Parliament on the north bank of the Thames.
Thompson said that the protest, stated early morning, are planned to continue for 27 days, until September 28th, when Shell’s Arctic drilling permits expire.
The centrepiece of the protests is a bus size modal of a polar bear, operated by the activists, Greenpeace are calling ‘Aurora’. Greenpeace plan to keep the giant modal outside Shell HQ for as long as they can or until the 27th.
Speaking to the press, Thompson said, “Shell haven’t been listening. Shell have ignored the science. They want to drill in the Arctic up to the year 2030. It seems to me a monumental act of selfishness and greed. We cannot go on extracting oil in the way that we have,” she said.
Shell Offshore Arctic Drilling Campaign
So far Shell have reportedly spent US$ 7 billion on the two well exploration of the arctic. They have continued to face heavy public criticism and protests often slowing down their operations, such as the case in Portland, where an ice breaking vessel became trapped by protestors.
Time is desperately running out for Shell this year. Experts say that around 20% of the worlds undiscovered hydrocarbons lay within the Arctic, but with only days left on drilling permits, is Shell likely to find any.