Historic Greenpeace Ship, the Arctic Sunrise, Arrives in San Francisco in Advance of Global Climate Action Summit

by Myriam Fallon

August 30, 2018

San Francisco, CA – The historic Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise arrived this afternoon in advance of the Global Climate Action Summit, carrying a 50ft banner reminding the summit’s host, Gov. Jerry Brown, and participants that we need real climate leaders. The Arctic Sunrise is docked at Pier 19 on the Embarcadero and will be open to the public for free tours of the ship from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and Sunday Sept. 1st, 2nd, 8th, and 9th. There will be multiple events on board throughout the ship’s time in San Francisco. For the full schedule of public events visit greenpeace.org/usa/shiptour.

“The Arctic Sunrise is in San Francisco in the runup to the Global Climate Action Summit to remind Governor Brown that this is his opportunity to model bold climate leadership to the international community and to be the climate leader Californians need and deserve,” said Greenpeace Climate Campaigner Mary Sweeters. “Rather than continuing to sacrifice frontline communities to fossil fuel extraction, Governor Brown needs to end permits for oil and gas extraction, announce a plan to phase out fossil fuels and related infrastructure in the state, and move California towards a fair and just 100% renewable energy economy.”

The Arctic Sunrise spent the last month and a half in Southern California talking with thousands of Gov. Brown’s constituents about the harm that oil and gas development inflicts on public health, particularly on people living in low income communities and communities of color. As the ship traveled from Long Beach to San Francisco it partnered with Earthworks and the Center for Biological Diversity to visually document offshore oil production along California’s coast. Earthworks’ optical gas imaging (OGI) camera detected flaring and emissions from several platforms, making visible normally invisible air toxics. The video footage is publicly available here.

“Offshore flaring is generally prohibited unless certain exceptions are met, but we recorded multiple instances of the practice, including some that were polluting the air with volatile organic compounds,” said Kyle Ferrar, Earthworks’ Community Empowerment Project California Representative and certified thermographer. “The oil and gas pollution we document typically includes methane and toxics like benzene, a carcinogen.  Both California and the federal government need to do more to stop this pollution, with the best option being to keep oil and gas in the ground altogether.”

“I was appalled to witness flaring from oil platforms off the California coast, since this dirty practice worsens climate change. Seeing these platforms up close was really troubling. I came away very concerned about the risk of another massive oil spill in our waters from these old and rusty platforms,” said Miyoko Sakashita, Oceans Program Director at the Center for Biological Diversity.

Despite its progressive reputation, California is one of the top oil producing states in the U.S. Since Gov. Brown has taken office, his administration has issued permits for more than 20,000 new oil and gas wells. As a member of the Brown’s Last Chance campaign, Greenpeace has been pressuring Brown to take immediate action on climate change. The coalition of more than 750 groups is urging Brown to:

  • Stop issuing new permits for oil and gas wells and infrastructure
  • Set up a buffer zone of at least a half a mile between oil and gas infrastructure and places where people live, learn, work, and play.
  • Phase out existing fossil fuel production while ramping up renewables
  • Create space for communities of color and low income communities most affected by fossil fuels to play an active role in plans to redress the harms inflicted by dirty energy
  • Invest in programs to train current oil and gas workers for jobs in the clean energy sector.

The Arctic Sunrise has a rich history. The Russian government seized the ship and the 30 peaceful activists on board in 2013 when Greenpeace protested Arctic oil drilling by the Russian company Gazprom. The Arctic Sunrise was also the first ship to circumnavigate James Ross Island in the Antarctic. It has worked to stop Japanese whaling fleets’ attempts to pursue their so-called scientific whaling program, chased private vessels fishing illegally, navigated both the Congo and the Amazon, and performed independent assessment of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Most recently the Arctic Sunrise spent January and February doing research in Antarctica to build the case for establishing the world’s largest marine sanctuary in the Southern Ocean.

Private tours of the ship and interviews with Greenpeace experts and crew will be available for media from Friday August 30th through September 4th.



Images of the Arctic Sunrise arriving under the Golden Gate Bridge can be found here once available: https://www.media.greenpeace.org/C.aspx?VP3=SearchResult_VPage&STID=27MZIFJWN8SOE

Images of the documentation of offshore oil production can be found here: https://www.media.greenpeace.org/CS.aspx?VP3=SearchResult&VBID=27MZV8RT2VEB4&SMLS=1&RW=1605&RH=755

Media can download the Earthworks video footage here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9b0y6o5g60epgln/FLIR_CA_Offshore_Aug2018.mp4?dl=0

For More Information Contact:

Kate Fried, [email protected], 202.257.0057

Please reach out to Kate for interviews about Greenpeace’s campaign to phase out fossil fuels.

Myriam Fallon, [email protected], 708.546.9001

Please reach out to Myriam for tours of the Arctic Sunrise or questions about the ship and its time in San Francisco.

Alan Septoff, [email protected], 202.887.1872 x 105

Please reach out to Alan for questions/interviews about Earthworks’ use of optical gas imaging cameras to make visible normally invisible oil & gas air pollution, thereby pressuring regulators and companies to cut their emissions.

We Need Your Voice. Join Us!

Want to learn more about tax-deductible giving, donating stock and estate planning?

Visit Greenpeace Fund, a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) charitable entity created to increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through research, the media and educational programs.