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Greepeace future under threat following legal action by oil giants

Originally published: Morning Star Online on April 14, 2024 (more by Morning Star Online)  | (Posted Apr 16, 2024)

ENVIRONMENTAL campaign group Greenpeace has warned that its future is under financial threat because of legal action by oil giant Shell.

It says its work in Britain and internationally will be in jeopardy if it loses a court case in which the company is demanding $1 million (£803,000) in damages after activists occupied a drilling platform being towed in the Atlantic last year.

The occupation attracted international attention.

The case is due to go to trial in July.

Greenpeace says it is facing similar legal action by “Big Oil” companies in the United States and Italy and has launched an appeal for donations to help it fight in court.

Ian Duff, who heads Greenpeace’s “Stop Drilling, Start Paying” campaign, said:

Greenpeace is under attack globally like never before.

Right now, our colleagues in Italy, the USA, and here in the UK are all targets of intimidation lawsuits from oil giants, strategically deployed with one aim: silence anyone brave enough to stand up to their planet-wrecking business.

He said it was an “outrage” that multibillion-dollar companies were suing a non-profit organisation.

“Let’s be clear — it’s not about the money,” he said.

Shell makes the $1 million it is suing us for every half an hour.

It’s because we’re confronting them and threatening their ability to recklessly profit from destruction.

Mr Duff said the action “marks an unprecedented moment in Greenpeace’s history,” adding:

For more than 50 years people like us have refused to back down when powerful forces threaten our natural world and jeopardise our future.

We won’t stop until they stop.

Shell is demanding the $1m in damages plus legal costs after six Greenpeace protesters occupied a moving oil platform in the Atlantic for 13 days in January and February 2023.

Greenpeace says the lawsuit is one of the biggest levelled against it in its more than 50-year history and could rise to $8.6 million in damages if Shell’s contractors also take legal action.

Shell offered to reduce its lawsuit if Greenpeace agreed not to protest at the company’s oil and gas infrastructure in the future.

Greenpeace has raised £250,000 towards a £1 million target to fight its court case.

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