Esso tries to sue Greenpeace over Luxembourg protest

Press release - 8 January, 2003

Oil giant Esso is trying to sue Greenpeace in Luxembourg and in its international headquarters in the Netherlands for more than 225,000 Euros over a peaceful protest against Esso's continuing sabotage of international efforts to protect the climate.

Esso, which is marketed as Exxon and Mobil globally, is seeking damages for loss of income over the protest held in the European country of Luxembourg, in which 600 volunteers from around the world shut down the company's 28 petrol stations for 14 hours.

"Esso is simply trying to squash all opposition by dragging anyone who dares to protest against its behaviour through the courts," said Pascal Husting, executive director of Greenpeace Luxembourg. "Esso can take Greenpeace to every court in the world but it will not stop the campaign."

"The real issue here is not about Greenpeace shutting down Esso's operations in Luxembourg for one day. It's about Esso's continual sabotage of international action on climate change that threatens the lives of millions of people around the world," said Husting.

"Esso is the world's most profitable company and for the past decade it has been responsible for the blatant and sustained manipulation of US and international climate change policy in its crusade to de-rail international efforts to address climate change. It was a major influence in US President, George W. Bush's decision to walk away from the Kyoto Protocol."

Greenpeace is one of a coalition of groups around the world known as StopEsso, which is campaigning globally to stop Esso interference in international climate policy.

"This latest legal action is typical Esso behaviour," said Husting. "Next week the French court system will hear another round of the case in which Esso is trying to sue Greenpeace over a website that is critical of the company and its stance on climate change. The company has also taken legal action against Greenpeace in Germany and the United Kingdom.

"Esso knows it can't win the debate on climate change, so instead it tries to silence criticism using legal means."

Esso, the world's biggest oil corporation denies that burning oil, coal and gas contributes to climate change, despite the opinion of the world's best scientific bodies and the evidence of severe climate change impacts, such as more frequent and dangerous extreme weather events, the retreat of glaciers and the destruction of coral reefs. In 2001 Esso made profits of $15.5 billion US. Greenpeace is an independent environmental group, funded entirely by individual donations from supporters.

VVPR info: File vision available. For photos contact John Novis on +31 6 538 19121. For video contact Mim Lowe on +31 20 5249 543.

Notes: To join the growing global protest against Esso, visit www.stopesso.org or www.greenpeace.org

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