‘Shell is taking us to hell’ Ocean Rebellion protest outside COP26 venue

Three people in suits with oil cans om their head and ecocide written on a suitcase
Ocean Rebellion in front of the venue for COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, October 29, 2021, photo: Reuters/Russell Cheyne

Activists from the climate justice campaign group Ocean Rebellion wore oil can masks while protesting on Friday in front of the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow, where the UN climate conference COP26 will be held.

Ocean Rebellion demands that world leaders at COP26 make a firm commitment to end dependency on fossil fuels and remove all fossil fuel stakeholders from the UN International Maritime Organisation (IMO).

Humanity’s use of fossil fuels, like crude oil, coal and gas, is severely damaging nature and killing animals.

“Shell is taking us to hell”, protesters said, while also calling out other oil giants like Exxon, BP and Petrobras for greenwashing, which means that their initiatives are sold to the public as environmentally friendly but have little or no real impact.

“So we know that our whole financial system at the moment is embroiled with the fossil fuel industry, and we need to find a way to get out of that,” campaigner Lewis Coenen-Rowe told Reuters. 

He added that the money needs to be moved “into climate solutions rather than the causes of climate change”. 

“Black carbon from heavy fuel oil (HFO) used in shipping is causing accelerated melting of polar ice,” Sophie Miller from Ocean Rebellion said.

“HFO is a waste product of the oil industry, ships will run cleaner and better on distilled fuel. Ocean Rebellion calls for a ban on HFO,” Miller added.

On Thursday, the group projected slogans such as “Boris is a tool of the fossil fools” and “Toxic politics, poisoned fish, empty seas” onto the building where COP26 meetings will be held next week.

“The delegates at COP26 must stop talking and start saving the ocean,” said Ocean Rebellion campaigner Floss Stallard. “At the moment, our seas are used as an infinite resource for exploitation. The ocean is not an infinite resource, it is finite and dying.”

“The ocean is the Earth’s lungs, scientists estimate that 50 – 80% of the world’s oxygen comes from the ocean. When the ocean stops breathing, we stop breathing,” Stallard said.

COP26 will be held in Scotland from 31 October to 12 November, and is seen as the most important conference where world leaders will discuss how they’ll limit global warming. 

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