Oil giant Esso is attempting to sue Greenpeace for more than 225,000 Euros over a peaceful protest against Esso's continuing sabotage of international efforts to protect the climate. Rather than change its damaging practices Esso is seeking to silence protests in the favourite manner of corporate criminals - through the courts.
Greenpeace activists struggle with a banner in strong winds after they shut down the Esso station in Wasserbillig, Luxembourg.
Esso, also known as Exxon and Mobil, is seeking damages for loss
of income over the protest held in Luxembourg, in which 600
volunteers from around the world shut down the all the company's
petrol stations for the day.
"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 in
"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
"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 derail 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."
"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 is losing the
debate on climate change so as a last resort it is spending money
on costly lawsuits in an attempt to squash protests.
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 US$15.5 billion.