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‘The ugly face of the fossil fuel industry’

Stephen Fry, Benedict Cumberbatch, Greta Thunberg and more join over 100,000 condemning ‘callous and vindictive’ lawsuit against Greenpeace
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
The ugly face of the fossil fuel industry

Main image: Activists on Shell Platform in the Atlantic Ocean. © Greenpeace

More than 30 public figures and civil society groups have written to Shell CEO Wael Sawan expressing ‘alarm’ at the company’s multimillion dollar ‘intimidation’ lawsuit against Greenpeace over a peaceful protest last year.
The 37 signatories include actors Stephen Fry and Benedict Cumberbatch, Academy Award winner Emma Thompson, BAFTA winner Imelda Staunton, Swedish environmentalist Greta Thunberg and dozens of other prominent musicians, activists, writers, journalists and lawyers.

Civil society groups including Amnesty International and Friends of the Earth also lent their support to the letter, which was backed by over a 100,000 members of the public.

‘This lawsuit is the ugly face of the fossil fuel industry, flexing its muscles to show it really doesn’t care about the climate crisis. Shell boasts constantly of its green credentials, while using its vast wealth to harass climate activists who peacefully call out its climate-wrecking business practices.

‘Climate chaos is causing havoc around the world and while Shell rakes in monster profits, those who’ve contributed little to the crisis are paying the highest price. I’m happy to be joining hundreds of thousands of others calling out Shell’s brazen bullying and intimidation. We can’t let them get away with this.’

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Writer, chef, broadcaster and signatory to the letter

$1m in damages

Shell launched the lawsuit in late 2023 in response to a peaceful protest by Greenpeace UK and Greenpeace International earlier that year, in which activists occupied a moving oil platform to protest against the climate change loss and damage caused by Shell.

Shell is demanding around $1 million in damages, as well as legal costs that could rise into the millions.

This is one of the biggest legal threats against Greenpeace in its more than 50-year history.  
Activists were calling on the company to stop drilling for new oil and gas, and start paying for climate damage that the oil and gas industry is fuelling around the world.

‘We’re living in a world turned upside down. The UK government should be leading the way towards a future without the fossil fuels it knows are driving a cost of living crisis at home and climate chaos around the world. But instead, oil giants like Shell are handed new exploration and drilling licences that will exacerbate both crises, while they throw lawsuits against climate groups who dare to challenge them.
‘Shell hopes making an example of Greenpeace will intimidate us into silence, but this letter shows that public opinion is on our side. With the government missing in action, we will keep fighting until Shell – and the entire fossil fuel industry – stops drilling and starts paying for the damage they are causing to our planet and everyone living on it.’

Campaigner at Greenpeace UK

The open letter is the latest celebrity endorsement for Greenpeace’s legal battle against Shell.

In January, Emmy-winning Succession writer Jesse Armstrong donated £25,000 to the green group’s legal fund, which has raised over £700,000 from members of the public since last November.

Click here to add your name to the open letter; it will help Greenpeace to submit evidence that shows ordinary people will not back down to Shell’s intimidation.

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