Cairn leaflet

On Tuesday, Cairn Energy published its half-yearly results. There isn't much for the company to shout about in there; halfway through their 2011 drilling season, they have yet to find any oil in the Arctic.

Keen to spin these poor results and stem its recent share price tumbles, Cairn held a press conference in London. So we thought we'd go along and hand out a few leaflets reminding Cairn's investors that this already unattractive investment is looking ever riskier for shareholders - never mind the Arctic.

If Cairn doesn't find any oil, the company becomes a riskier bet for investors. If it does, it faces a very real risk of a catastrophic spill in the Arctic which, apart from laying waste to a pristine corner of the Earth, will expose the fact that the company has neither the technical know how or the cash to deal with an Arctic spill.

The Gulf of Mexico spill, for example, cost BP US$40bn to clean up and wiped 40 per cent off its share prices. Cairn is only worth US$6bn, and the remoteness and hostility of the Arctic environment means a spill there would be far costlier to deal with.

If investors think the chances of an Arctic oil spill are small, they only need to take a look at Shell's recent North Sea spill - the latest in a long line of accidents and incidents to happen in waters that the UK government considers to be ultra-safe for oil drilling.

If it can happen here, it can happen in the Arctic - with appalling consequences. Which is why we risked breaching the terms of that draconian injunction Cairn slapped on us to prevent us from talking about the risks of Arctic drilling. (Yes, the interdict is so wide ranging that it could ban us from handing out a few leaflets outside a press conference along with pretty much everything else, short of breathing...)

Instead of squeezing the last drops of oil from the Earth in ever riskier ways and in ever more sensitive places like the Arctic and tar sands, we need to start moving beyond oil. If you haven't already joined the Rebellion, please help us take the first, crucial step to go beyond oil by asking Volkswagen to make more efficient cars.