Climate change protesters blockaded the headquarters of oil giant Shell yesterday in the first in a series of protests across the Granite City.
The Extinction Rebellion protesters descended on Tullos at 6.30am, securing the entrances and blocking the main gate with their boat, named Amal Gous.
Campaigners said they vowed to shut the building down and “disrupt business as usual” as some of them locked themselves together to ensure they weren’t removed.
EnQuest later shut its Annan House office as a precaution, following the group’s announcement that the Red Rebel Brigade would be marching through the city centre, starting at the nearby train station.
Police were liaising with the group, and said last night there had been no arrests. Protestors left Shell’s HQ at 7:30pm.
In response to the demonstration, Shell said it agreed “urgent action is needed” which requires “effective policy, investment in technology and changing customer behaviour”.
Meanwhile industry body Oil and Gas UK condemned the protest for “causing alarm rather than engaging in meaningful discussion”.
Stakeholder director Gareth Wynn said: “Climate change will be solved by practical actions not conspiracy theories and stunts.”
He insisted the sector is “committed” to delivering a transition to low carbon and welcomes those willing to take part in “solutions-focussed discussions”.
Jessica Cowell, a 28-year-old soil scientist from Edinburgh, was among the protesters at Shell.
She said: “We’re trying to blockade Shell’s HQ and are taking the demand to stop developing fossil fuel infrastructure to the door of the corporations.
“The best science in the world is telling us we’re on course for a catastrophic climate breakdown, as evidenced by the fires in Australia and the floods in Indonesia, and it’s getting worse.
“We need to stay under 1.5C, but are on course for more than 3C of warming, which would be devastating.”
Shell said the heightened awareness of climate change seen in recent months is a “good thing”.
A spokesman added: “As a company, we agree that urgent action is needed. What will really accelerate change is effective policy, investment in technology innovation and deployment, and changing customer behaviour.
“As we move to a lower-carbon future, we are committed to playing our part, by addressing our own emissions and helping customers to reduce theirs – because we all have a role to play.”
The protest is part of a two-week campaign targeting the fossil fuels industry.
Last week protests were staged at a jack-up rig in Dundee Port, which is due to carry out work for Shell in the UK North Sea, and the Scottish Parliament.
Former oil worker Neil Rothnie – who was in Dundee and at Shell yesterday – said the industry’s strategy of maximising economic recovery (MER), which is supported by government and could deliver a further 20 billion North Sea barrels, must not be allowed to go ahead.
Mr Rothnie stressed there should be a “just” transition which ensures oil workers are looked after and have alternative employment opportunities as the energy transition progresses.
He added: “Workers always pay the price when accidents happen or when there is an oil price downturn.
“The energy transition will take place sooner rather than later and workers will pay unless there is a concerted effort to ensure a just transition.
“They cannot be treated like the miners. The miners, their families and their communities were shafted.”
Also protesting was Scott Herrett, a 43-year-old researcher from Aberdeen.
He said: “We’re here to demand Shell stops exploring for more fossil fuels. What they’re doing goes against the science of what we need to do to respond to climate change.
“We calling for a transition away from oil and gas. Cities like Aberdeen rely on oil, so we understand it will be a difficult process, but we have no option to start weaning ourselves off fossil fuels.”