Updated: Olympians among climate campaigners who blockaded oil refinery

Climate campaigners, including two British Olympians, blockaded the entrance to the UK’s largest oil refinery early this morning.

Laura Baldwin and Etienne Stott outside the Fawley oil refinery in Hampshire, 28 October 2021. Photo: Extinction Rebellion South East

Sailor Laura Baldwin and gold medal winning canoeist Etienne Stott were among about 15 activists from Extinction Rebellion at the site at Fawley in Hampshire.

The group said protesters cut the electrified perimeter fence. Some activists have locked on to structures across the site, the group said. Others have scaled two 50ft oil tanks to unfurl banners reading Climate Emergency and No future in fossil fuels.

Extinction Rebellion protest at Fawley oil refinery, 28 October 2021. Photo: Extinction Rebellion South East

Extinction Rebellion’s pink boat, Beverly Geronimo, has been parked across the main entrance to the refinery.

Laura Baldwin said on Twitter

“I am a deeply protective mother, moved to take non violent direct action in a desperate bid to force this suicidal system to change in time, to limit the climate crisis worsening & slipping past the point of no return.”

Etienne Stott, awarded an MBE in 2013, tweeted:

Today I’m protesting to expose how ExxonMobil are investing heavily to expand fossil fuel extraction when we need to be doing the opposite. And their expert #Greenwash machine is in full swing to convince us that they aren’t actually maximising profit whilst out planet burns.

I’m calling on our government to rein in these rogue companies. It’s 3 days before COP26 & there is no future in fossil fuel if we are going to keep our planet alive. Our leaders to step up, Act now and protect our future.

Extinction Rebellion protest at Fawley oil refinery, 28 October 2021.
Photo: Extinction Rebellion South East

The action comes three days before the opening of the COP26 climate talks, hosted by the UK government in Glasgow.

Extinction Rebellion is demanding that the UK government bans all fossil fuel investments.

The group is also critical of ExxonMobil’s expansion of diesel refining at Fawley.

Extinction Rebellion protest at Fawley oil refinery, 28 October 2021.
Photo: Extinction Rebellion South East

In a statement this morning, the group said:

“ExxonMobil have known about the devastating effects of fossil fuel production on the environment for over 40 years but instead of acting responsibly on that knowledge, they’ve spent tens of millions funding climate denial and misinformaton and obstructing a transition to cleaner energy sources.

“Only decarbonisation of our economies will limit the scale of death, destruction and mass extinction that climate change will bring in decades to come, the effects of which are already being felt around the world.”

Michael, 59 from Somerset, said he was taking part in the protest because of the damage people were causing to the world.

“We need our government to take immediate action now. The UN has issued multiple warnings but our government, global governments, are refusing to pay any attention. They are refusing to take the real, meaningful steps. They continue throwing greenwash at us and I can’t take it any more.”

ExxonMobil said the protest had not disrupted operations at Fawley. A spokesperson said:

ExxonMobil believes that climate change risks warrant action and it’s going to take all of us – business, governments and consumers – to make meaningful progress.

“Our focus includes reducing our emissions, helping consumers reduce their emissions, and developing lower-emission energy solutions, including energy efficiency initiatives, biofuels, flare reduction and carbon capture and storage (CCS).

“At Fawley, we are also directly helping motorists and farmers to reduce their emissions through the manufacturing of lower carbon fuels, and we are also producing the lubricants and chemicals that support lower emissions by use across a range of applications such as wind turbines and electric vehicles.

“Furthermore, our chemicals play a vital role in our daily lives, from medical equipment to clothing, cleaning materials and healthcare products.

“We respect the right to peaceful protest, but our priority is the safety of our people, our neighbours and our operations and we are working with Hampshire Police to ensure this is maintained.

“ExxonMobil Fawley continues to operate safely and is not experiencing any impact on production.

“We apologise to anyone from the local community or beyond experiencing any inconvenience resulting from the actions at Fawley today of this group.”

We’ll update with more details and reaction as we get it.

22 replies »

    • A little flurry of outrage there? Well, I’m going to upset everyone by saying this, so I might as well get this out in the open and risk the consequences of domestic outrage.

      So lets be unusually if not practically uniquely serious, for at least a few minutes and keep off the division bell of polarised “us and them” “left and right” and “Political Party” fake illusory opposing polarisations. Thereby sidestepping from the far from unusual “outraged” rhetoric of idealistic dogmatic divisions.

      As regards “Extinction Rebellion” and their new offshoot “Insulate Britain”. Both ER/IB have long been known to be what is termed “Controlled Opposition”.

      The link indicated by ER’s own documents, that certain highly publicised pressure groups are proven to be funded by the likes of George Soros amongst others via various financial back doors. There is also evidence to suggest that ER/IB are organised behind the scenes by the various domestic and foreign professional and corporate influencers in order to highjack and to discredit any protest against the powerful lobbying behind locked doors by corporations of resources exploitation and the inconvenient truth of climate change or by any other proposition to government and private influenced policies and manipulation.

      You only need to look at the comments here to see how that is used to discredit anything that opposes the corporate petrochemical greed and profit mechanisms.

      In other words, the establishment and the influencers of government domestic and foreign, always intends to “own” both sides of any division issue that threatens government policies, known or concealed. Or from behind the scenes influences. Be they domestic or foreign, or both.
      It also could be said that the situation itself can be manufactured in order to set up the uninformed and censored public opinion in a specific way. To do that the two sides, or more, need to be “owned” from the start. Carefully planned and executed until the required result can be executed.

      The Rishi Sunak budget speech was a prime example of how that can be sparked into a flurry of protest whilst Priti Patel’s Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill 2021 is waiting in the wings to appeal to the diverted public during the conveniently generated outcry for the last stage of the pre-prepared Hegelian dialectic. The old problem, reaction and solution scam. The end of democracy, free speech and protest is then assured.

      I have always said and will say again, that the front line individuals involved in both sides, though not at the behind closed doors organisation levels of course, are almost certainly genuine in their beliefs and actions.

      However the deliberate destabilisation of societies worldwide appears to be preparing the way for a far darker totalitarian tiptoe end game. And those are far from beneficently idealistic and are more to do with some form of societal destabilisation and infiltration to create chaos until the Hegelian dialectic “problem/reaction/solution” process for an anti democratic totalitarian coup can be imposed.

      Look at modern day Australia to see precisely how that is being revealed there.

      One side will claim “conspiracy theory” others will claim that ER/IB are brave to stand up to an increasingly weak and self contradictory government who cannot organise a storm in a tea cup.

      But as with all things, the truth may never be known outside of the firmly locked doors, and may well be closer to an unholy “suck it and see if it works, then try something else if it doesn’t work” attitude of anything that can be laughed off as something and nothing.

      Always remember, that the mathematical description of chaos is nothing but highly complex order. Like the highly complex yet equally fragile order of quadrillions of inter reacting life forms crowded on an planet that at least so far, still supports ever the dwindling life forms.

      But not for much longer if insanity rules just for greed and power and profit.

      • Not sure that the conspiracy theory really is the concern of many, PhilC.

        They see what they see. Yes, they may wonder who is funding and why, but their major interest will be in what message is being attempted. Most will see a boat on a trailer being towed around the country.

        Just because a publicity stunt is possible the wiser folk should question, will it work? They rarely do. Companies do spend quite a lot of time checking beforehand what message may come from a publicity stunt. (They are attractive in that they are much cheaper than advertising.) Proper research and checks will usually produce results that are quite contrary to what some may expect, especially if they have little experience in such matters.

        Currently ,that is being pretty widely demonstrated, so those that should be worried about them in the minds of those conducting them, are probably not. Might even mean their costly, defensive advertising.

        (The best one I observed did involve glue, though! A company gluing a couple of 50p coins to the concrete next to their exhibition stand. Why? When potential clients walked by, saw the coin and bent to pick it up, the salesmen pounced-and suggested if they were interested in a quick financial return they should sit down with them and discuss the promotion they were offering. It seemed to work better than the high cost of plonking scantily clad females on stands to achieve the same result, that often turned away couples.)

        I have yet to find an individual in a flurry of protest against yesterday’s budget. They are obviously there, and are getting air time. Then, I have observed numerous budgets and can not remember one without a flurry of protest. Perhaps I should flurry away about not getting the benefit of the Triple Lock? Except, I think my flurry would get a very strong reaction from my children, so I think I will avoid that. Should I flurry away about cost of living and demand a price freeze? Don’t think so, I had the experience of the 1970s, having to take responsibility to obtain a price increase from the Price Commission, knowing if I was unsuccessful then the company’s next resort was to cut cost of employment. (Now that was a sharp reminder that arithmetic is important.) Should I flurry away about VAT on energy? Don’t think so. Why take VAT off energy costs for millionaires in current circumstance? I can’t even flurry away about NI as my children reckon they have a Social Contract to support those unable to fully support themselves and if that requires them to pay even more tax, then so be it. Flurry away about simplified alcohol taxation? Nope-long overdue.

        I think I may leave my flurry to see what parts of the budget don’t get applied as suggested, or are applied and do not achieve the results indicated. I may even reserve a little flurry for a few years time if taxation does not start to drop.

        • Was that a big McFlurry? Or just a flurry about being stuck on one word again without actually saying anything? Even George Soros, would heave a deep sigh of “What the frack is he talking about”?

          Or was that perhaps just a little McFlurry request in seven paragraphs?

          But “we” know don’t “we”? Oops! I just did two “we”s!

          The student with a degree in Higher Mathematics (arithmetic to you), asks:

          Well? Do you want one or not? A Yes or a No would suffice!

          Next customer please!

          Have a Nice Day! Never mind. Soon you will own nothing and be very, very Happy!

      • Another risky subject is this, while I’m in eveyones bad books, I might as well go for the jugular(s). Jugglers?

        This is a newish documentary by Marijn Poels, which starts by condemning the fossil fuel corporations for their massive greenwashing efforts to manipulate the media.

        Disgusted by that, Marijn Poels moved to Sweden to write and live in harmony with nature. Marijn Powels intended to build an ecovillage and explore what could be done to live in harmony with nature. To give more back to nature, than is taken away from nature.

        What occurred however, was a massive series of wind farms were planned and built locally using the most destructive clear cut ways possible.

        I’m sure the windmill tilters ears will perk up now.

        What the documentary reveals is that even with so called “green” technology, all of it succumbs to the massive impetus of money, greed and profit and extends into the planning and construction of wind turbine farms in this instance as that is another form of popularising greenwashing and “trumpeting” their green credentials.

        This just confirms that the real enemy of humanity is greed and power and profit. This documentary serves to reveal how the process of greenwashing the billions and trillions has become just another way to increase wealth, and nature suffers every time. The methods used to exploit this latest resource are quite revealing of the methods used to exploit all the other resources, and have been for the petrochemical industry corporations.

        Does that “demonise” wind turbine farms? No, however, what it does demonise, is that money wealth greed and profit are the real world enemies of humanity.

        How that plays out remains to be seen. But it is far better to be aware of what is really happening, than to be trapped in a censored controlled and eventually suicidal leap into the end game where only a greedy powerful few end up owning everything.

        The rest of us then become nothing more to them, than useless eaters, uninformed consumers, and a burden to be reduced in number, a resource to be exploited until the last gasp.

        Nature then becomes nothing but another way to make money.

        No respect.
        No regard.
        No care.
        Use, exploit, dump, and move on to the next exploitable resource until there are no more easily exploitable resources left.

        Then, the exploiters will turn on each other in a burned out wasteland where nothing else lives. Maybe only then will they actually realise what they have done. The rest of us will be long gone.

        This will require a lot of thought about just who and what is it, that should and must be opposed? There are plenty of real and false flags around to blame. The real question, is which of those obvious targets are the real ones? Watch and learn.

        Headwind”21 [Documentary]
        By Marijn Poels



        • Thanks, Phil, for drawing attention to the fact that any cause, even that of saving humanity and the planet, is open to abuse by the unscrupulous. We must always be aware of that possibility without letting it deter us from the path prescribed by conscience and supported by all the sciences – our end does not justify the means although the end remains defensible despite the means. The difference of course, as I’m sure you’ll agree, resides in the fact that the end advocated by the polluters is indefensible, as indefensible as the means they often employ which include greenwashing, distortion, distraction, ad hominem attacks, denial, perversion of scientifically proven fact, pseudo solutions, etc. As I quoted a few days ago in a different context – “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance” (Winston Churchill). Those opposed to this rape of the planet must, as you point out, remain vigilant on two opposing fronts, opposing corruption wherever they find it.

          • Winston was also reported to say, ” success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm” (although some say he was taking that from Lincoln.)

            Maybe he was talking about the Lib Dems, (Libs then) or maybe it includes a lot more than that?

            He was also reported to respond to a comment about not urinating next to a Labour Minister, that it was because it was so large and in such perfect working order that it would have to be nationalized if observed!

            That’s the joy of Winston, he had a quote for just about anything.

            • Cheers Iaith1720, I thoroughly agree with you. Everything can be misused and corrupted if it suites those who only function by greed and money to exploit yet another resource.

              As you say, seeing the greed, the money fixated and the profit junkies does not deter from making the ends justify the means in all walks of life. At the end of the day, the purpose must be for all human beings to make this fragile planet a better place for all life, not just a few greedy power mad disfunctional humans.

              I still think that is possible, even if there are some who need to be dragged along kicking and screaming to do it.

              The native turtle islanders (America before it was invaded and ransacked for greed profit and power). Said, if something is not good for everyone, then it’s not good for anyone.

              That’s how the human race needs to progress from now on. The old exploit consume and throw away system has been shown to be fundamentally and catastrophically disfunctional to the point where the entire planets ecological and life systems are collapsing as we look on.

              Long ago that needed to be stopped and reversed. It does not justify the ecocide and depopulation insanities in the slightest. They are merely another symptom of the insane disfunctional exploitative mindset.

              As to ways forward, then energy appears to be way forwards. Nicola Tesla did much of that work before Edison stole his inventions and refused to pay Tesla for them.

              But before that is even explored, the first thing to fall must be greed for profit and power mungers. That must be the first step. Without that everything just descends down the same greed and profit snake.

              Snakes and ladders. All the human race needs to do, is to identify and behead the snakes and only then to climb the ladders.

        • Why are you in anyone’s bad books, PhilC? Maybe, but not mine.

          You reference the greed within the “green” sector. I think you have taken a green leaf from my book there if you look through my recent posts which referenced Cash for Ash, cobalt from the DRC and wind turbines giving land owners £100k net profit each whether the electricity was required or not-just for starters. I didn’t even have to include Mr. Musk, with his latest move to Texas so he can have more freedom to make more money, and develop his huge new rockets. Or, those who help build huge international airports for the uninformed consumer and then greenwash.

          As far as wind turbines are concerned I see no reason why they need to be on land. They only industrialize it to the disadvantage of those who would rather see and enjoy it quiet and not spoilt. There are also good technical reasons for them to be put out to sea, especially now the technology is up to speed with the challenges of that environment. Can’t equate Wuthering Heights with noisy swishing from imposed industrial objects (noisy enough for some to be turned off in France when lookdown took out the other noises) drowning out Cathy and Heathcliffe. She would never be heard asking to be let into the window. (Would also like to see pylons removed from such areas.)

          I come from a family that lived a back to nature lifestyle but perhaps not as extreme as some want to do. If others want to do so, then good luck to them but the reality is they are a tiny fraction of those youngsters born into such families around the world where that was the norm for their parents and they want different. I have seen it myself in the Far East, discussed it with families, and I am sure you have too.

          There certainly should be opportunities for the Marijns, but there are less areas for that not just because of greed but over population. That is one elephant which romps around the room but is constantly ignored when it suits. Now, I recall being part of meetings to discuss how agriculture would feed 10 billion people, and that was within a commercial company. Was that greed driven by the company, a desire to make a positive contribution, or a bit of both? (Surprisingly (lol) using grain and sugar as a fuel for vehicles was not on our agenda, but it is being expanded and some would advocate that is green. Not me.)

          The Soil Association probably still has the plushest offices out of most of it’s competitors. Not sure whether that indicates their philosophy is green or greed either.

          I think I can decide the difference between the two in most cases. I just don’t find that I have to refer to conspiracy theories to do so, and if I do I usually find they take me off into fantasy rather than reality. The laws of probability would indicate occasionally that might be different but I still prefer my tried and tested method.

  1. Criminal damage now, apparently.

    Not sure what this is even supposed to achieve. No direct impact. Does it highlight an issue that people were not aware of? Nope. Does it explain the desperation of those queuing for fuel in the South of England recently? Nope.

    Ahh, must be advertising their action! Yes, but bad advertising produces a different reaction to what those conducting it expect.

    (Good job the fuel is not restricted so the boat could be towed some more miles.)

  2. Talking of the most extreme and hypocritical greenwash… An ExxonMobil spokesperson said: ‘ExxonMobil believes that climate change risks warrant action and it’s going to take all of us – business, governments and consumers – to make meaningful progress.’
    Very true, but over 40 years ago, ExxonMobil did their own in-depth climate change research and came to that very conclusion. Knowing the absolute reality that would hit their obscene profit margins, they buried the research and utilised the tobacco industry’s playbook for the next 40 years, until the point where it didn’t wash any longer. Then they replaced it with greenwash. Money, wealth, greed and profit do indeed talk.

    • Thanks, Mike.
      On this subject – Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, comments concerning the hearing before the US House Of Representatives on co-ordinated ‘big oil’ misinformation, “For the first time ever, fossil fuel executives were confronted under oath with the evidence of their industry’s decades- long efforts to deceive the American people about climate change,……. “They not only refused to accept responsibility for lying about the catastrophic effects of their fossil fuels—they refused to stop funding efforts to spread disinformation and oppose climate action.”
      “There is no longer any question: These companies knew and lied about their product’s role in the climate crisis, they continue to deceive, and they must be held accountable,……. “Today’s hearing and the committee’s ongoing investigation are important steps in those efforts.”
      (“They’re Lying”: Lots of Climate Misinformation Detected During Testimony of Big Oil CEOs. (Common Dreams).
      Note – their testimony is “under oath”. Note – “they continue to deceive”. Note “they refused to stop funding efforts to spread disinformation.”
      The silence of the world’s reaction to this is deafening. Why?

      • Yes, ironically Iaith I saw the report of that hearing shortly after posting my comment. When asked if they thought climate change was real, the fossil fuel company CEO’s all said ‘yes’. Then asked if they thought it was man made, they all said ‘yes’. What part of man’s activity do they think/know is the primary cause? I didn’t hear that question or answer.

      • Why?


        For the UK, they are probably off on holiday, and won’t get their flights back to the UK until the weekend, 1720. Or glued to some other task. My offspring I can be more specific about-one is working all hours possible within the NHS trying to help catch up with the backlog, using all that diesel within all those ambulances. The other one is working similar hours building starter homes for those desperately needing them. I spoke to him briefly this morning but he has to call me back later as he was on a digger.(Diesel-probably imported!)

        As far as the USA is concerned, well the oil rig counts keep rising week on week, and Biden has recently asked OPEC to increase output to try and dampen down inflationary pressures. And Texas will do what they want no matter what the House of Reps. chat about.

        As far as Europe is concerned they are probably more focused on getting Nord Stream 2 up and running, to try and re-charge the German economy.

        Then there are the thousands too busy making their travel arrangements for Glasgow, from the other side of the world.

        For me, well I have to trundle along to the tip to recycle, as the local Council, in their wisdom, has plonked on such a high charge for collecting green waste that it is less expensive to deliver it to the tip yourself, even if collectively it uses a lot more fuel. Perhaps their pension funds feature a few oil companies? Or, maybe they are just not good at maths.

        There may be a few left for you to influence, but that is an over populated profession so only the best and most accurate within it gain a reaction.

        Good luck.

  3. Yes, Mike, and it hasn’t been known what damage the uncontrolled extraction and exploitation of cobalt is doing to the health of kids in the DRC?

    Money, wealth and greed and profit talk-and it is not restricted to any one sector. By all means criticize a sector and give them labels for what they do but just remember the same tactics will be used in return. And the record of the alternative sector already looks pretty poor, and will come under more scrutiny going forward.

    The talking money is also the money that is needed to be invested to make progress. Sir Jim is doing his bit with regard to hydrogen. Call it greenwashing or call it greed, but simply he has identified a growing market and is investing to meet it. If he did not, who would? Many of the oil companies will be required to do similar. Crowd funding will only be sufficient to whinge about things, with maybe a little left for devil masks.

    There is, of course, the option of selecting those companies you wish to supply with money and those you do not. Would appear that even the most ardent antis find that a step too far. Perhaps that is greentoshing?

  4. As most or all on this blog will know, the tobacco industry playbook included constant obfuscation, distraction and confusion and by using very narrow strands of research, invariably taken out of context. Something along the lines of constantly referring to other issues – lets say Cobalt, Lithium or plastic keyboards.

    • Quite, Mike. Zoe Williams had a good article on this tendency in yesterday’s Guardian –

      It’s important to distract from the issue when you have no answer.
      Furthermore, I’ve pointed out before and more than once, that it is not hypocrisy to use the means available when, in effect, no other means are available. To answer “Yes it is!”, is hardly a convincing response.

      • Yes it is.

        Just, maybe, the reason there are no other means available provides a clue? Who are you waiting for to provide the other means? Any sign anyone will, or just an expansion of the existing means? I would suggest evidence points to the latter, so sorry, but looks as if you will have to continue to be a climate change denier by using the means/products to try and pin that label upon others!

        Like smoking there are two choices. Support the product by using, or don’t. You do the former, and it is nothing to do with supply creating a demand. It is your own choice, unless you are doing so on instruction from others. Not very convincing cherry picking out the products from fossil fuel that are acceptable because you want to continue with them, but trying to suggest other products are not okay for others even when there are no other means available to them, as they see it-and in many cases they are correct. I can find no clearer example of hypocrisy.

        Meanwhile, I will continue to accept that fossil fuel will continue to be used for a long time for many different uses, which UK Net Zero incorporates, and that being the case, then how that fossil fuel is sourced and the standards of production are still key elements. And that comes back to choices. Choice of whether transport emissions are maintained or reduced, for one. The data is there, I can do the maths. around that and the answer is quite straight forward from a user perspective. Maybe not from an exporter perspective.

        Your choices look as if they could benefit from a rethink, IMHO, unless the exporter perspective is more significant to you than my user perspective. Even if that was the case, the climate change cause would be better served by my perspective.

    • obfuscation. Like setting up as an energy supplier conning people you supply 100 per cent renewable fuel then leaving them out of pocket when oil and gas prices rise and you go bust. Why should rising gas prices make a renewable energy supplier go bust.

  5. You can say it if you want, Mike, but others can do the research and find out is fact. Where does that leave you? Certainly not showing any degree of caring for other human beings with the cobalt, for example.

    I thought that was the opposite of the platform you were trying to create, but that is your choice. You may find the use of plastic lures you to make use of it, but that is also your choice. You make your choices, no one else.

    So, excuse me if I do not become confused but just look at the evidence of the choices people make. Not always as would be suggested, and not that different to many others who are complained about.

  6. Awesome activists

    i will tell my 6 yr old grandson and show him

    ex Balcome barton etc activist

    but not nearly as brave all i can report is being punched in back by police because we supported a pregnant women brave to stand in front of trusks with us and i missed driving a fire engine as twisted ankle

    thank you from my heart and for nature and all the people i love you are all completely awesome Frances Ocean

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