Extinction Rebellion activists light flares and ambush energy secretary on Earth Day

Dozens of protesters hold demonstration calling for end to building of fossil fuel infrastructure

Thomas Kingsley
Friday 22 April 2022 18:43
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Extinction Rebellion block newspaper presses on Earth Day

Climate change campaigners kicked off a wave of protests for Earth Day on Friday, pushing demands such as an immediate halt to European imports of Russian oil and gas and an end to building fossil fuel infrastructure.

Extinction Rebellion activists protested outside the London office of asset management firm Vanguard where dozens of masked protesters lit flares and set up deck chairs.

Pink smoke filled the air outside the building as protesters led a demonstration against the use of fossil fuels, holding signs reading “Vanguard, don’t sink our future”.

Extinction Rebellion’s Money Rebellion arm called on Vanguard to “stop pouring money into industries driving human rights abuses and start using your massive shareholdings to push for global climate action”.

Activists from climate group Green New Deal shared footage of their campaigners ambushing the business and energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, as he walked to his car on Friday asking why he “supports new gas and oil licenses”.

Mr Kwarteng did not respond to the campaigners but hours later welcomed BP’s announcement to develop the Murlach field oil and gas in the North Sea.

Protesters sat outsider the Vanguard offices in London

“The transition to cheap, clean power can’t happen overnight. We'll need oil and gas for decades. That’s a matter of fact,” Mr Kwarteng tweeted.

“I’d much rather we source more of our gas domestically.”

Protesters hold a sign reading ‘Vanguard don’t sink our future'

The protests come just days after 213 Extinction Rebellion protesters were arrested at various demonstrations across London accused of public disorder and obstructing highways, the Metropolitan Police said.

Meanwhile, the Prince of Wales has urged children to imagine a sustainable future and sketch it so “we can help make our planet strong and healthy for generations to come”.

Charles set youngsters the challenge to mark Earth Day, an annual event celebrating the environmental movement and raising awareness about the importance of creating a sustainable world.

The theme for Earth Day 2022 is “Invest in our Planet”, with a focus on encouraging nations and individuals to invest and switch to greener technologies and practices.

Pink smoke billows over members of Extinction Rebellion staging a protest against the use of and investment in fossil fuel, outside offices of Vanguard Asset Management on Earth Day

The Prince's Foundation has released a video of Charles reading his foreword for It's Up To Us, a book for children explaining his Terra Carta, an ambitious Magna Carta-style charter aimed at encouraging the private sector to safeguard the planet by adopting sustainability and investing $10bn (£7.3bn) in "natural capital".

The film features children from around the world reading the book and committing to the challenge to build a better future.

Charles says in the video: "What the world needs is for children all around it to imagine the type of future you want to build. Now, I don't know about you but I love to draw and paint like many of the artists in this book.”

A spokesperson for Vanguard said: “We consider climate change to be a fundamental risk to many companies and their shareholders’ long-term financial success.

“We are addressing this important risk by engaging with the companies held in our funds on their climate risk oversight, mitigation, and disclosures; through thoughtful investment products that help investors manage certain climate-related risks and opportunities; and, through engagement with policymakers, industry regulators, and aligned organisations.”

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