The night before last, 19 Zero Carbon activists shut down Shell’s annual lecture at Emmanuel College. The event, hosting Shell chief executive Andrew Brown among others, lasted only 12 minutes before being shut down by University staff.
Having snuck past two security personnel outside the Queens Building, the protestors entered the event whilst waving banners and attempted to engage in debate with the speakers.
Zero Carbon also told TCS that despite there being plenty of empty seats, out of their 16 members that formally applied to attend, only 1 was granted a ticket.
The event itself, aiming to discuss “the role that traditional oil and gas companies could play in the Energy Transition”, turned into an open discussion between Brown and the activists. The latter highlighted the alleged role of the company in the human rights abuses of the Nigerian Ogoni people, something at least year’s event Brown denied, arguing he was “fundamentally proud” of Shell’s activities in the region.
While Brown spoke about Shell’s role in the renewable energy transition, the campaigners were quick to point out the giant invests less than 10% in renewables; their ‘sky scenario’ fossil-free transition plan also aims for completion by 2070, decades later than he IPCC’s recommendations.
As the speakers were ushered out of the auditorium, Zero Carbon members were seen chanting, “keep your coal in the hole; keep your oil in the soil”.
Later on, a spokesman for the society said that “the science is clear; we’re in a climate emergency” and that a company who in 2017 spent $1.8billion in continuing to explore for fossil fuels has “no place in a liveable future”.