Protests are underway in London in connection with a conference of the fossil fuel industry, finance sector and politicians. Greta Thunberg is also present, blocking the Energy Intelligence Forum.
The annual Energy Intelligence Forum is taking place from 17-19 October at the InterContinental hotel in central London. This is a conference of executives of major oil and gas companies, financiers and UK politicians. They meet to network and discuss the challenges facing the energy sector. Until 2019, the conference was simply called Oil and Money; among climate activists it is known as the "Oscars of oil".
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Greta Thunberg arrested at a protest in London
The conference is being intensely protested by climate activists. Under the slogan "Oily Money Out", they are demanding an end to new investments in fossil fuels and a halt to government subsidies for them. They also want the fossil fuel industry to shoulder the costs of reversing the climate change to which it has contributed most.
20-year-old activists Greta Thunberg also turned up at the protest in London. She was detained by British police while she and hundreds of other protesters were blocking the entrance to the hotel where the conference was being held. Activists from Greenpeace climbed onto the roof of the InterContinental and lowered a 30-metre-long banner reading "MAKE BIG OIL PAY".
In 2019, the New York Times withdrew from sponsoring the Energy Intelligence Forum, stating that the event's themes "give us cause for concern". This year's speakers included the executives of a number of fossil fuel giants, including Amin Nasser, chairman and CEO of Saudi Aramco, one of the world's biggest polluters, or Anders Opedal, chairman and CEO of Equinor, which is behind the controversial Rosebank oil field development in the UK, Euronews reports.
Activists disrupt the "Oscars of oil" conference
Activists from Fossil Free London claimed a small victory when COP28 President and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company CEO Sultan Al Jaber was withdrawn from the speakers line-up. COP28 is the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference, which starts at the end of November in Dubai. Its location this year and the selection of Al Jaber as the event's chairman sparked controversy.
Robin Wells spoke out on behalf of Fossil Free London: "It is beyond satire that an oil CEO has been made head of the global climate summit - the main opportunity for countries to get together and do something about climate, an opportunity that they squander every year, due to the influence of the fossil fuel industry."
In response to a request for comment on the protests to euronews.com, conference organiser Energy Intelligence said: "We involve all sides in this debate, as we believe that inclusive dialogue is the only way to solve the challenging questions involved in reinventing the world’s energy system."
Protesters announced they will take to the streets from Marble Arch to Wellington Arch on 19 October as part of a public "Festival of Resistance". This is the main street in London's most luxurious borough of Mayfair, where the hotel hosting the conference is located.