Greenpeace intensifies protests against BP Amoco’s arctic plans

Greenpeace have stepped up protests against BP Amoco, intensifying its campaign against the oil giant's proposed Northstar project in Alaska and accusing the company of complicity in global warming-related degradation of fragile arctic ecosystems.

This week, six Greenpeace activists and four protesters dressed as polar bears were arrested outside BP Amoco’s US headquarters in Chicago. The activists had constructed a renewable energy camp outside the building to highlight the company’s role in climate change which is thought by many scientists to be driving the destruction of the polar icecaps.

The Greenpeace activists created the protest camp at BP Amoco’s headquarters soon after establishing a similar camp in Alaska near the site where BP Amoco intends to build its Northstar offshore oil facility. If allowed to proceed, the oil drilling and pipeline construction project will open a new frontier for oil drilling in the Arctic. Greenpeace claims the Northstar plan is understaffed and inadequately equipped, and therefore presents a danger to the Alaskan ecosystem.

Greenpeace has also teamed up with other US NGOs to oppose BP Amoco’s proposed takeover of Atlantic Richfield Co (ARCO) (see related story) and launched a BP Amoco shareholder resolution calling on the company to pull out of Northstar and reinvest the savings in its solar division. The resolution will be voted on at the company’s annual general meeting on April 13 (see related story).

“We have to educate the shareholders,” Dr. Iain MacGill, senior analyst for Greenpeace told edie. “Some feel BP Amoco is a company with a vision, but it is really following an oil-business-as-usual strategy. While BP Amoco has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gases by 10% from a 1990 baseline over the period to 2010, the reality shows another side to the company. Northstar sums up BP Amoco’s choices – do they continue to spend one hundred times as much on oil than on solar or increase investment in renewables?”

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