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100 Days of Oil Action

The 23rd August 2007 saw the lauch of a new & unusual campaign: A '100 days of Action' against the oil industry & all it stood for. During the 100 days from the launch until the start of the Kyoto climate summit on 3rd December 1997, campaigners organised direct action locally & nationally against the oil industry. Campaigners focused on a wide range of issues; car use, oil spills, air & water pollution, human rights, treatment of workers etc. They believed that this was a crucial moment and real change to phase out fossil fuels altogether was politically possible. Groups including Reclaim The Streets, Friends of the Earth, Earth First!, Corporate Watch, Greenpeace, Oilwatch, & Delta were involved. Many of them had been challenging the oil industry for years, for its environmental impact, for its involvement in human rights abuses, or for the power structures it creates & depends on. In the past most campaigning effort had been focused on the effects of oil production & consumption, rather than taking on the industry itself. Now, in a major tactical shift, campaigners explicitly challenged the industry as a whole, claiming that abuse is inherent to its nature, & that we must learn to live without oil.

Kyoto, COP3 & climate change

The "Third Conference of Parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change" in Kyoto was a follow up meeting to Rio where heads of state met to discuss the options. Climate scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had already concluded that we could only burn a quarter of known fossil reserves before climate change became intolerable, if not catastrophic, and campaigners believed that peicemeal attempts at cutting emissions were not enough - The fossil fuel industries themselves needed to be phased out. It seemed unlikely that world Governments would do anything to upset the trans-national oil industries, so the 100 Days coallition chose Kyoto as their focus, believing that only a concerted campaign would bring real change.

'100 days of Action'

The 100 days of action against the oil industry kicked off on the 23rd of August with Lincolnshire activists disrupting the grand opening of a new garage, & pickets of over 25 BP petrol stations around the UK. About 500 people sent bleary-eyed pump attendants scrambling for their phones when they invaded forecourts with banners proclaiming

"BP: the climate is against you."

Passers-by tooted horns in support.

In a 'warm-up' to the 100 days of action, activists invaded the London offices of oil giant Chevron (owners of Gulf Oil), who were responsible for the development of Cardigan Bay. Activists barricaded themselves into the top floor of the building, "adjusted" the company's computer system & displayed "STOP THE DRILLING" banners for three hours. Within days, Friends of Cardigan Bay claimed a victory. Chevron announced a delay, & agreed to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment into the scheme.

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related links: M11 Link Road, Twyford Down, Newbury, Stringers Common, Reclaim the Streets, A Corporate response
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