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Roger Higman, Friends of the Earth
"There are no plans to put picket lines on Esso stations at the moment"
 real 28k

Gordon Sawyer, Esso spokesman in Britain
"We would welcome a much more open debate on the whole subject"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 8 May, 2001, 04:07 GMT 05:07 UK
Consumer boycott to 'stop Esso'
esso garage
Consumers are being asked to boycott Esso garages
By the BBC's business reporter Mark Gregory

Environmental pressure groups are launching an international campaign against the world's largest oil corporation, which they say has opposed moves to combat global warming.

Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth are asking consumers to stop buying petrol and other products from Exxon Mobil, which in Britain trades under the name Esso, until the company changes its stance on climate change.

The boycott is backed by controversial artist Damien Hurst, comic Rory Bremner, singer Annie Lennox, actress Bianca Jagger the former wife of Rolling Stones singer Mick, and Anita Roddick founder of the Body Shop, which plans to publicise the campaign in its UK stores.

Exxon Mobil confirmed its bogeyman status among environmental campaigners by taking out a series of full-page advertisements in American newspapers, opposing US participation in the Kyoto protocol on climate change.

The call for a boycott of Esso service stations can only be counter-productive

Campaigners say that lobbying by Exxon played a major part in President Bush's subsequent decision not to ratify the protocol despite the fact that America accounts for a quarter of all "greenhouse" gas emissions.

The protocol would have obliged the US to cut emissions of the gases, which some scientists believe to be the cause of global warming, by 5% from 1990 levels.

Renewable energy

Ms Jagger said that Esso had "never invested a single penny in renewable energy".

But the company said in a statement that it had previously invested 350m in a range of ventures, including solar power.

"We believe that the type of actions we are taking in our business now, including the development of cleaner fuel technology, leading edge fuel cell research and substantial energy efficiency projects, will make a significant contribution to long-term global emissions reduction," Esso added.

"The call for a boycott of Esso service stations can only be counter-productive in that we do not believe it will have any influence on the US Government - but it could harm the thousands of independent British businessmen and women and their staff who operate their stations in partnership with Esso in the UK."

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