UNDER PRESSURE FROM CLIMATE ACTIVISTS, NY TIMES STOPS SPONSORING OIL AND MONEY CONFERENCE

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3 september 2019


New York Times drops sponsorship of oil conference


Newspaper says event ‘gives us cause for concern’ after protests outside its offices

Jillian Ambrose, The Guardian, Tue 3 Sep 2019

The New York Times has scrapped plans to sponsor one of the world’s biggest oil industry conferences after pressure from climate campaigners including Extinction Rebellion.

There were protests outside the newspaper’s offices in Manhattan this month over the Oil and Money conference, which is in its 40th year and which green groups have called a “climate crime scene”.

The conference is due to take place next month at the InterContinental Hotel on Park Lane in London and will attract executives from the world’s biggest oil companies as well as senior Opec leaders and ministers from fossil fuel-rich Middle Eastern nations.

According to the event’s website, keynote speakers this year will include Bob Dudley, the chief executive of BP, and Ben van Beurden, the boss of Royal Dutch Shell.

A New York Times spokeswoman said the paper had “decided to end its relationship with the Oil and Money conference” because its subject matter “gives us cause for concern”.

The Guardian understands that the decision was made and communicated to the event’s co-host, Energy Intelligence, more than a week ago.

“We want there to be no question of our independence or even the potential appearance of a conflict of interest. Over the last several years [the New York Times] has significantly expanded its reporting on climate change and its impact, as well as broader investigative and explanatory coverage of energy and environmental policy,” the spokeswoman said.

“We have a large team focused solely on the topic and in the last year alone we’ve travelled to every continent to document the effects of a warming planet.”

Extinction Rebellion and other green groups staged protests at the newspaper’s headquarters over the summer calling for it to withdraw from the conference and “tell the truth about the climate emergency”.

Extinction Rebellion has also called on the New York Times to include more climate change coverage in its pages and to use “climate emergency language”.

Last week members of Extinction Rebellion joined Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist, and thousands of US schoolchildren at a protest outside the UN headquarters in New York. The school climate strike was Thunberg’s first in the US after she travelled across the Atlantic on a zero-carbon yacht to avoid the heavy greenhouse gas emissions caused by air travel.


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