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BP ad campaign hoax kicks off the Fortnight of Shame

April 1, 2010

BP halts launch of ‘Back to Black’ ad campaign

April 1st 2010
For immediate release

BP’s award-winning ‘beyond petroleum’ brand took a hit today when its PR agency attempted to deliver 22,000 revamped BP logos to the company’s headquarters in St. James’ Square.

In a costly case of mistaken brand identity, the ad agency misinterpreted the brief they were given to come up with a new logo that took account of BP’s decision to invest in the Canadian tar sands (1), and launched the multi-million pound ‘Back to Black’ campaign.Hang on a second.

What day is it? April Fools Day, a day for pranks both silly and serious. So here’s what really happened: Posing as representatives of a PR company, climate campaigners played an April Fools Day prank on BP today by delivering 22,000 new logos – one for every BP logo in the UK – to the company’s HQ.

The campaigners, from Rising Tide and the UK Tar Sands Network (2), piled boxes of ‘Back to Black’ logos on BP’s doorstep and installed a matching sign on the building in protest at the company’s reversal of its decision
to stay out of Canada’s controversial tar sands (3).

“BP’s ‘beyond petroleum’ brand was never more than a slick charade. BP’s plans to move into the tar sands reveal the company’s true colours, and they are black, not green. So we’re here today to present BP with a logo
that’s more fitting for a company about to invest in the most destructive project on the planet”, said Tony Wilson of London Rising Tide.

The stunt marks the launch of two weeks of protest against the company ahead of its AGM on 15th April, where shareholders will vote on resolutions challenging BP’s plans to invest in the tar sands (4).

“The Fortnight of Shame, as we’re calling it, will see actions taking place up and down the country, all with a common message. Extraction in the Canadian tar sands is fuelling climate chaos and trampling indigenous rights, and British citizens won’t let BP go into the tar sands without a fight,” said Alice Hargreaves of the UK Tar Sands Network.

The action is also part of Fossil Fools Day, an international day of action against the fossil fuel industry (5).

Contacts for interviews / photos / more information:
07708 794 665


Notes for Editors

1. Canada’s tar sands are spread out over 54,000 square miles of pristine forest in northern Alberta – an area the size of England and Wales combined – and represent the second largest source of proven oil reserves
in the world. Producing crude oil from the tar sands generates up to five times more carbon dioxide than conventional drilling. Tar sands extraction has extremely adverse health consequences for locally affected
communities, and causes deforestation, ecosystem damage and wildlife loss. Canadian First Nations communities have already begun legal proceedings citing breaches of indigenous treaty rights.

2. In 2007, BP reversed its 1999 sell-off of its tar sands holdings by entering a partnership with Husky Energy to develop the Sunrise Project.

3. Rising Tide takes creative direct action against the root causes of climate change and for climate justice. The UK Tar Sands Network is the UK campaign to shut down the tar sands.

4. The BP Fortnight of Shame (April 1 – 15 2010) is a call to action from the UK Tar Sands Network, Rising Tide, the Camp for Climate Action and the Indigenous Environmental Network to pressure BP to reverse their plans to move into Canada’s tar sands. It runs between the Fossil Fools day on April 1st and BP’s Annual General Meeting on April 15th. At the AGM, shareholders will be voting on resolutions which challenge BP’s decision to invest in the tar sands. During the fortnight, grassroots groups across the UK and around the world will be taking action in solidarity with First Nations communities in Canada

5. Fossil Fools Day is an annual international day of action against the fossil fuel industry called by the international Rising Tide network.


March 24, 2010

Saturday, 10 April 2010
Meet 1 PM at Oxford Circus

BP want to start extracting oil from the tar sands, the single most
destructive project on earth – fuelling climate chaos and trampling the
rights of indigenous communities.

We want to stop them!

On Saturday, 10th April, hundreds of people from London and beyond will
gather at the pumps to send a message to BP: “you’re not going into the
tar sands without a fight!”

Come to a mass action! Bring yourselves, your friends, whistles and drums
if you have them, and a Zone 1-2 travel card. Meet at Oxford Circus and be
ready to make a move to our final destination.
Interactive map of meeting point:
TFL’s Journey Planner:

Expect dancing and drums, sunshine and soundsystems, party and protest.

This action is part of the BP Fortnight of Shame.
Organised by London Rising Tide/London Tar Sands Network, in solidarity
with the Indigenous Environmental Network.

The BP Fortnight of Shame (April 1 – 15 2010) is a call to action from the
UK Tar Sands Network, Rising Tide, the Camp for Climate Action and the
Indigenous Environmental Network to force BP to reverse their crazy plans
to move into Canada’s tar sands. It runs between the annual Fossil Fools
day on April 1st, which in recent years has seen a flurry of action
against the fossil fuels industry, and BP’s Annual General Meeting on
April 15th. Grassroots groups across the UK and around the world, will be
taking action in solidarity with First Nations communities in Canada to
stop BP’s deadly plans in their tracks.

Tar Nation – The Game!

March 22, 2010


Canadian Government’s visit to London greeted by Tar Sands protests

March 17, 2010



A high-level delegation from Canada were greeted this morning by protesters with banners that read: “Canadian Tar Sands – Climate Crime”, outside Canada House in Trafalgar Square. The protest, on Thursday 18 March, is part of a growing campaign by UK groups against the tremendous human and ecological devastation caused by extracting oil from Canada’s tar sands – and is taking place in solidarity with First Nations and Canadian environmental justice organizations. The Canadian delegation is being hosted by UK Trade and Investment, a government department that exists to promote the interests of British industry.

“The Canadian and British governments should know that people in the UK are very concerned about the tar sands,” said Alice Hargreaves of the UK Tar Sands Network which has organised the protest along with members of Rising Tide and Camp for Climate Action. “The tar sands are the world’s most destructive project. Canada is ripping up an area larger than England, creating sprawling toxic lakes and ever-expanding carbon emissions. This environmental horror story is violating indigenous peoples’ rights – they are losing their traditional ways of life, and some are getting cancer from the pollution. The tar sands is a project that needs to be stopped, yet British companies like Shell, BP and RBS are involved, and with this event, UK Trade and Investment is actively promoting further British involvement.”

The Canadian government is on a multi-country tar sands promotion tour, seeking to ease the growing concerns of investors, by arguing that ‘carbon capture and storage’ (CCS) technology can reduce the enormous amount of carbon emissions caused by tar sands extraction. Yet this unproven technology can never ‘green’ the tar sands, argue the protesters, and the delegation has already met with similar protests in Norway

“Carbon capture in the tar sands is more of a smokescreen than a silver bullet,” said Clayton Thomas-Muller of the Indigenous Environmental Network. “It is an untested, expensive, long-lead-time technology that has more holes than it does solutions. Only a small portion of carbon emissions from the tar sands can ever be captured using CCS, and it will not prevent the destruction of the boreal forest, or the pollution flowing into local water systems. Our governments shouldn’t be fostering technologies that allow toxic developments like the tar sands to continue, but should be investing in protecting the health of all our communities and building a green, just economy for the future.”

(North America) Clayton Thomas-Muller

Indigenous Environmental Network- 001-613 789 5653


(UK) Suzanne Dhaliwal of the UK Tar Sands Network: Phone: 07530415274


BP Fortnight of Shame

March 12, 2010

Take action to keep BP out of the tar sands – the single most destructive project on earth.

The BP Fortnight of Shame is a call to action from the UK Tar Sands Network, Rising Tide and the Camp for Climate Action to force BP to reverse their crazy plans to move into Canada’s tar sands.

It runs between the annual Fossil Fools day on April 1st, which in recent years has seen a flurry of action against the fossil fuels industry, and BP’s Annual General Meeting on April 15th.

Grassroots groups across the UK and around the world, will be taking action in solidarity with First Nations communities in Canada to stop BP’s deadly plans in their tracks.

Why Tar Sands?
Attempts to avert the planet from sliding into climate crisis are being threatened by a single massive project in the Canadian wilderness. Already, millions of barrels of tar sands oil are being extracted every day, producing three to five times as many greenhouse gas emissions as conventional oil. The extraction process is immensely resource-intensive, currently using enough natural gas every day to heat 3.2 million Canadian homes. Add to this the mass deforestation the projects are causing, ridding us of desperately needed carbon sinks, and it becomes clear this project cannot be allowed to continue if we are serious about preventing runaway climate change.

The effects tar sands are having on local First Nations communities are devastating. The tar sands development in Alberta covers an area the size of England, with toxic tailing ponds so huge they are visible from space, leaking poisons into the local water supply. Not only are indigenous livelihoods and futures being destroyed, but communities on land where tar sands extraction has been imposed are experiencing disturbingly high rates of rare forms of cancer and auto-immune diseases.

Why BP?
BP are the only major oil company with no tar sands extraction projects currently in operation. This is about to change. Since 2007, BP have quietly ditched the ‘Beyond Petroleum’ sham, because investing in renewables simply wasn’t making them enough profit. They have decided to go Back to Petroleum, with a vengeance, under the leadership of new Chief Executive Tony Hayward.

Moving into tar sands was one of the first steps Tony Hayward took, acquiring a half share in the Sunrise Project with Husky Energy. The Sunrise Project will be huge, producing 200,000 barrels of filthy oil a day, and using Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD), an extraction process even more energy and water intensive than the more visible surface-mining operations.

The recession has given us a window of opportunity. BP have been forced to postpone their final decision on whether to go ahead until the second half of 2010. This means it is not too late for us to stop this outrageous project. BP are desperate for Sunrise to go ahead, and will certainly not go down without a fight, but with effective and sustained action we can win this one.

What can I do?

From Brighton to Scotland, groups across the UK are already plotting for the Fortnight of Shame. If your local group isn’t already planning something, there’s still loads of times to pull off a fantastic action. If you aren’t part of local group, you could check out the list of local groups that form the Camp for Climate Action network. – or get together with your friends and get cracking!.

Need ideas or resources? Click here to join an online group set up to share resources and information that will come in handy for the two weeks of action.

The BP Fortnight of Shame is in solidarity with Canadian First Nations communities.

More info coming soon!!

Read more…

Tar Sands Wedding!

March 4, 2010

Pictures from the recent Tar Sands Wedding in Leeds, where people were invited to celebrate the holy matrimony of BP and Climate Change.

BP should you be having second thoughts? Is Tar Sands really want you want to wake up to every morning?

Join us in the BP Fortnight of Shame as we send a message loud and clear to BP that we want out of the Tar Sands!

Take action to keep BP out of the single most destructive project on earth – The Alberta Tar Sands!

PLATFORM reveals RBS is UK bank most involved in financing tar sands and WDM announce a week of action!

March 3, 2010

A New PLATFORM report reveals RBS is UK bank most involved in financing loans to tar sands –

Tar sands extraction in Canada is devastating Indigenous communities, wildlife and vast areas of boreal forests, as well as being many times more carbon-intensive to produce than ‘conventional’ oil.

“We are seeing a terrifyingly high rate of cancer in Fort Chipewyan where I live. We are convinced that these cancers are linked to the Tar Sands development on our doorstep. It is shortening our lives. That’s why we no longer call it ‘dirty oil’ but ‘bloody oil’. The blood of Fort Chipewyan people is on these companies’ hands.” – George Poitras, former chief of Mikisew Cree First Nation

The higher oil prices in recent years have meant that it’s become a more attractive prospect for oil companies to expand their operations in the costly process of obtaining and processing the thick bitumen into a usable form. It’s estimated that the industry is looking for a capital investment of $120-$220 billion over the next 20 years to build the new pipelines, mines, refineries and upgraders that are necessary to sustain the boom.

This report looks at the role that UK banks are playing in providing the necessary capital, and how RBS, which is 84% owned by the UK public, has been the bank the most heavily involved in underwriting loans to companies engaging in tar sands extraction.

World Development Movement announced a week of protests to be held simultaneously with the RBS AGM on Wednesday 28 April. This will involve protests outside the AGM centre in Edinburgh and RBS branches across the UK. We and oher organisations will be calling for a moratorium on RBS investments in tar sands because of their devastating impact on human rights and the climate.

The Tar Sands Oilympics

February 28, 2010

In response to a call-out from our Canadian friends for solidarity actions during the launch of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, last Saturday a group of about 30 members of the newly-formed London Tar Sands Group gathered in Trafalgar Square.

In the shadow of a giant screen provided by the Canadian Government to promote the opening ceremony by encouraging indifferent passers-by to play their rather lame Wii game, the sporting tar sands activists held their very own ‘Oil-ympics’. Splitting into three competing teams –Shell, BP and RBS – they launched themselves gamely into the ‘Race for the Tar Sands’. A few tug-of-wars, several spirited relays and some truly bizarre improvised curling matches later, and the medals were awarded. Report and lots of silly pictures here:

A photo made it into Monday’s Guardian print edition – woop! Pictures of the action are cropping up all over.

Thanks to everyone who has shown their support!


February 12, 2010

On Saturday, 13 February at 12 noon, UK and Canadian environmental activists will open the ‘Oil-ympics’ at Canada House in Trafalgar Square. The event, timed to coincide with the opening of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, will highlight the role of British companies in the single biggest industrial project on earth, the Canadian Tar Sands (1).

The Oil-ympics event will see activists divided into three teams: BP, Shell and RBS, all ready to ‘Race to the Tar Sands’. Traditional winter sports will be subverted to illustrate the irony of Canada portraying the Vancouver Winter Olympics as an event which celebrates Canadian indigenous culture and environmental sustainability, while in the neighbouring province of Alberta, Canadian First Nations are finding that their lands, communities and health are being devastated by the Tar Sands (2).

BP will receive special attention after it recently unveiled plans to embark on its first Tar Sands extraction project. BP had previously sold its potential stake in Alberta in 1999, when BP’s chief executive at the time, Lord Browne, deemed Tar Sands extraction to be economically unviable and environmentally unpleasant. However, BP’s new chief executive, Tony Hayward, is now set to make BP a major player in the Tar Sands with a partnership with Canada’s Husky Energy – a venture that is facing sharp criticism from BP’s own shareholders (3, 4).

Alice Hargreaves, of the UK Tar Sands Network, said: “BP has been trying to prove that they are ‘Beyond Petroleum’ for years, but with their entry into the Tar Sands project, we can see the truth: Beyond Petroleum is nothing more than a Broken Promise. BP shareholders are rebelling over this betrayal, and so are we. Over the next two months, we’ll be putting the pressure on to make sure BP get the message – stay out of the Tar Sands!”

Shell has been singled out as it is already a major operator in the Tar Sands, and RBS as it is the 7th biggest global investor in the Tar Sands. (5)

BBC Coverage: Campaign on tar sands extraction targets oil investors

(1) Deposits of Tar Sands are spread out over 54,000 square miles of prime forest in northern Alberta, an area the size of England and Wales combined. Producing crude oil from the Tar Sands generates up to five times more carbon dioxide, the principal global warming gas, than conventional drilling: see

Environment Canada, 2007, National Inventory Report Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada 1990–2005,

(2) This action is in solidarity with Canadian First Nations who have called for a moratorium on the Tar Sands. For more information see the Indigenous Environmental Network:

(3) BP has entered a joint venture with Husky Energy to develop a Tar Sands facility which will be capable of producing 200,000 barrels of crude a day by 2020. In return for a half share of Husky’s Sunrise field in the Athabasca region of Alberta, the epicentre of the Tar Sands industry, BP has sold its partner a 50 per cent stake in its Toledo oil refinery in Ohio. The companies plan to invest $10 billion in the project, making BP a major player in Tar Sands extraction. The final investment decision will be made in the next few months.

(4) A coalition of shareholders has tabled a resolution for BP’s AGM on April 15 highlighting the environmental and social risks of Tar Sands extraction.

(5) For Shell Investments see

For RBS investments see


December 16, 2009

This is the largest industrial development in the world and is devastating for the indigenous communities that live there, not only destroying the land itself but increasing levels of cancer, poisoning much of their traditional food sources and leaving the water unsafe to drink. [4] This violates the indigenous treaty rights legally bound to this region.

The three activists who scaled the Canadian High Commission this morning have just completed their 10th night in occupation of Trafalgar square with the Camp for Climate Action [5]

Jake Colman, one of the climbers and a ‘Climate Camper’ justifies his actions:

“We are here to expose the greed driven agenda of Prime Minister Harper and the corporate lobbyists of Shell and BP who have tainted Canada with dirty oil and risk global catastrophe to selfishly profit from environmental and human destruction. We in the UK play a large role in funding these murderous ventures with the likes of RBS –now 84% publicly owned having already invested billions, and BP currently preparing to move in to Tar Sands”

Currently in Copenhagen, Canada is proposing an inadequate target for reducing greenhouse emissions by only 3% by 2020 ignoring world scientists’ recommendations to commit to over 40% reductions below 1990 levels in order to avoid dangerous runaway climate change. Canada has already completely failed to meet its commitments to the Kyoto Treaty and refuses to sign the UN’s Declaration of Rights for Indigenous Peoples whilst continuing development of Tar Sands oil extraction.

Clayton Thomas-Muller, an Indigenous activist with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN), speaks during the Copenhagen summit:

“The Canadian government continues to ignore its own laws, which state they must consult with Indigenous Peoples who have been trying to convey concerns about Tar Sands development. Tar Sands are killing our communities and trampling over our rights. Furthermore, the environmental destruction wreaked by the Tar Sands is directly threatening thousands of lives now and is driving our climate into chaos. The world has woken up to the fact that Canada is now Public Climate Enemy Number One. It’s time Canada did its global duty and shut down the Tar Sands,”

Monday 14th saw the road outside Canada House blockaded in anger of Harper and Tar Sands: