Climate activists storm Edinburgh stage during Shell CEO’s appearance

Campaigners opposed to the development of the Cambo oilfield off Shetland disrupted the event.

Climate activist Lauren MacDonald on stage with entrepreneur Chris James, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden,  and diplomat Christiana Figueres (right to left). Stop Cambo via Stop Cambo
Climate activist Lauren MacDonald on stage with entrepreneur Chris James, Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, and diplomat Christiana Figueres (right to left).

Youth climate activists took over the stage at the TED Countdown conference in Edinburgh during a panel discussion with the boss of oil giant Royal Dutch Shell.

Campaigners raised concerns with event organisers saying a fossil fuel company had no place speaking at an event that positions itself as a “global initiative to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis”.

Lauren Macdonald, from Glasgow, who was part of the event alongside Shell CEO Ben van Beurden, said she could not continue to sit on the stage next to someone causing her to have such a “visceral reaction”.

Shell, which is the largest Europe-based oil and gas company, released a plan to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050 last year.

Stop Cambo via Stop Cambo
Stop Cambo activists outside the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.
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But activists from the Stop Cambo campaign said the business had taken “no meaningful climate action”.

Campaigner Francesca said: “It is clear Shell has no real commitment to reducing its emissions, and allowing them a platform at TED Countdown is nothing more than another opportunity for greenwashing the fossil fuel industry.”

The group disrupted the panel with locals protesting outside the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

They are opposed to a new drilling permit at Cambo oilfield, west of Shetland.

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Ms Macdonald challenged the First Minister in August as she attended a carnival in Glasgow asking if she would oppose Cambo.

Nicola Sturgeon gave a TED Talk in Edinburgh on Wednesday and again refused to voice opposition to the development

She said the supply of fossil fuels could not be turned off completely in the short term because of economic problems and a possible spike in imports.

A Shell spokesperson said: “Tackling climate change will require unprecedented levels of collaboration between governments, companies, customers and many others.

“Shell is committed to being part of the solution and that’s why our CEO Ben van Beurden joined the TEDCountdown event in Edinburgh today. While we knew that the reception would be tough, we won’t shy away from difficult conversations.”


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