British oil company Cairn Energy has filed legal papers with a Dutch court to fine Greenpeace €2m (£1.76m) a day if the campaign group disrupts its oil drilling operations in the Arctic.
Well done, absolutely the right thing to do.
One advantage that Cairn has over other oil companies that have taken baby steps to doing this is that Cairn doesn\’t have retail operations. Therefore Greenpeace and its lackies don\’t have the possibility of launching a consumer boycott in protest. As they did against Shell and the Brent Spar for example.
But to the larger point. Greenpeace do, of course, have the right to protest against what they see as undesirable policies or actions. No doubt about it, it\’s just as with free speech. Say what you will.
But along with this comes the responsibility to accept the consequences of such speech, of such protests or actions.
If your protest is costing a company €2 million a day then yes, you are responsible for and will have to cough up that €2 million a day.
What\’s that? You want to make the protest but not pay for the consequences? Ah, no, sorry, it sdoesn\’t work like that, nor should it. For by doing so you\’re saying that you don\’t actually think that your protest is worth it. If your actions cost €2 million then you\’re explicitly stating that your actions are worth €2 million. Refusing to pay €2 million is similarly explicitly stating that you don\’t think your actions are worth the they\’re costing.
So you shouldn\’t be taking that action then, should you?
“a consumer boycott”
A slight understatement, I might suggest. Greenpeace and its useful lackies bombed petrol stations in Germany and other places over Brent Spar.
And a few years later, Greenpeace admitted that dumping the rig as Shell had originally planned would indeed have been the least worst option after all. I bet they didn’t pay Shell the additional costs and compensate the environment for the additional damage they caused.
I think we should let the French handle the Greenpeace problem…
Blue Eyes – “And a few years later, Greenpeace admitted that dumping the rig as Shell had originally planned would indeed have been the least worst option after all. I bet they didn’t pay Shell the additional costs and compensate the environment for the additional damage they caused.”
As was painfully obvious at the time. As I actually said at the time come to think of it.
Oil rigs are wonderful reefs. Young fish grow up in them. Everywhere such objects are sunk, divers and fishermen get a bonus. Which is why so much military hardware ends up on the bottom of the sea. And the great thing about the Brent Spar is that commercial fishing nets are worth six figures at least. No one in their right mind would ever risk one near a sunken oil platform. You’re asking for trouble which you won’t win. They create a de facto marine park around them.
Greenpeace are scum. They are scum’s scum.
Blue Eyes/SMFSubtlety: Do either of you have a reference to Greenpeace backing down? I thought they never would (I worked in Aberdeen during the issue, but not for the Brent Field Unit).
I do know that the last Shell employee to leave Brent Spar before it was occupied by Greenpeace was himself a Greenpeace member. His letter of resignation (which he described to me) was a thing of beauty: he concluded that they must have spread engine oil around the place to create the pictures taken, because the places concerned had not looked like that when he left them. They’d even removed the light bulbs because of the risk of heavy metal contamination.
And the worst thing is, the Brent Spar scandal took over the conference on the North Sea, which then did not address the critical issue of fish conservation, on which (for once) they were close to agreement. So dear old Greenpeace made a great deal of money (because this was about membership and subscriptions), and diverted attention from a real ecological problem to an imagined one.
Par for the course, really.
‘Fraid not to hand. I have a vague recollection of it being mentioned in an Economist article a few years back.
Was that a letter of resignation from Shell or Greenpeace?
> But along with this comes the responsibility to accept the consequences of such speech, of such protests or actions. If your protest is costing a company €2 million a day then yes, you are responsible for and will have to cough up that €2 million a day.
I think you’ve got a bit confused here. Your right of free speech is close to absolute, and no-one has any right to redress (in an ideal world) no matter how much they may suffer from your speech, unless you’re libelling them, or some such.
What the company does have a right of redress for is if Greenpeace is actually physically impeding their lawful operations, which (as far as I can tell) is the case here.
Speaking of which, I recall you posting a few days ago that you were certain that the German E Coli was all the fault of organic agriculture. Are you feeling at all abashed now?
Apart from their divergent social class origins, can anyone distinguish between Greenpeace activists and Somali pirates?
@ Blue Eyes, Robert Dammers, SMFS
I don’t remember Greenpeace backing down either, and I was faffing around the N Sea at the time. My recollection is that Shell, under pressure, commissioned a report from a consultancy chosen by Greenpeace which concluded there was less radioactive material in the Spar than in the average Cornish cottage, and other toxic material was either absent or in trace quantity.
The report was (if memory serves) trashed by Greepeace on the grounds that Shell paid for it.
As an aside, we should all love oil platforms (and their fishing exclusion zones). There’s an amazing difference between numbers of fish round platforms and numbers round pipelines.
O&G platforms are fish sanctuaries the world over, and our grandchildren will thank us for our efforts at species preservation.
I always wonder why, if big corporations are as ruthless as the likes of Greenpeace say, more eco-freaks don’t get shot in the back of the neck by shadowy hit-men, mysteriously fall down a lift shaft, get run over by a speeding car etc.. Remember, the last time anyone took any direct action against them, it was the French government, and they screwed it up.
My friend (an underwater engineer with Shell) resigned from Greenpeace, stating that he was unable to trust them in any way.
In hindsight, Brent Spar should have been stored in situ until one of the large concrete or steel platforms had been abandoned: these, indeed, form excellent artificial reefs, and it makes sense to leave them on site. Brent Spar was a totally different fish: a floating storage unit in the form of a long vertical buoy. It had to be cleaned thoroughly, and since it would just sink to the bottom and offer little habitat for fish, the plan had been to sink in the deep ocean. That would have been easier for people to understand once the industry had already demonstrated that abandonment was carried out in a clean and responsible manner.
Misreading of the situation from Shell, and bad faith and bad actions from Greenpeace. Not a good combination.
As an aside, we should all love oil platforms (and their fishing exclusion zones).
The fish that hang about the waste food chute on the FPSOs offshore Nigeria scare the hell out of me.