DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Big oil companies came under pressure at the start of the World Economic Forum (WEF) by activists who accused them of hijacking the climate debate, while a “cease and desist” campaign sponsored by Greta Thunberg increased support on social networks.
Major firm energies including BP (BP.L)chevron (CLC.N) and Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) They are among 1,500 business leaders gathering for the annual meeting in the Swiss resort of Davos, where global threats, including climate change, are on the agenda.
“We demand concrete and real climate action,” said Nicolas Siegrist, the 26-year-old protest organizer who also heads the Young Socialists party in Switzerland.
The annual gathering of world business and political leaders begins Monday in Davos.
“They will be in the same room with state leaders and defend their interests,” Siegrist said of the involvement of energy companies during a rally attended by several hundred people on Sunday.
The oil and gas industry has said it must be part of the energy transition, as fossil fuels will continue to play a significant role in the global energy mix as countries shift to low-carbon economies.
On Monday, a social media campaign increased pressure on oil and gas companies by promoting a “cease and desist” notice sponsored by climate activists Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate and Luisa Neubauer, through the nonprofit website Avaaz profit.
Demands CEOs of energy companies to “immediately stop opening new oil, gas or coal extraction sites, and stop blocking the clean energy transition we all so desperately need,” and threatens legal action and more protests if they do not comply.
The campaign, which had been signed by more than 660,000 people, had nearly 200,000 shares as of Monday morning.
Sumant Sinha, who runs one of India’s largest renewable energy companies, said it would be good to include big oil companies in the transition debate as they have a vital role to play.
“If the oil people are part of these conversations to the extent that they are also committing to change, then by all means. It’s better to get them in the shop than out of the shop,” Sinha, president and CEO of ReNew Power. he told Reuters, saying the listing should not lead to “sabotage”.
Rising interest rates have made it harder for renewable energy developments to attract financing, giving deep-pocketed traditional players a competitive edge.
As delegates began arriving in Davos, Debt for Climate activists protested at a private airport in eastern Switzerland, which they said would be used by some WEF attendees, and issued a statement calling for the foreign debts of the poorest countries to accelerate the global energy transition.
Additional reporting by Kathryn Lurie; Edited by Alexander Smith and Alex Richardson
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