BP Off Campus: Letter to Management

Below is the letter we have submitted to the senior management of the University of Warwick calling upon them to remove the BP Archive from campus.

Sept. 25, 2015

Registrar Ken Sloan and other senior management,

BP’s Presence on Campus

We call upon the University to sever its links with BP. In particular, we call on you to ask BP to vacate the corporate archive housed in the Modern Records Centre, and to refuse the company representation at University careers fairs.

In July 2015 Warwick committed to divest from fossil fuels; the first visible sign of their agreement that halting catastrophic climate change requires withdrawing support from the industry that drives it. We now call on the university to begin more significantly demonstrating their commitment to addressing the climate crisis, and confronting the rapacious industry that is intent on digging up and burning every last atom of carbon in the ground.

We have chosen BP as a prime target for the University to sever their ties with, given the close connection the University has with the company, evidenced by the presence of the BP Archive on campus. In order to have a decent chance of avoiding 2 degrees warming, the internationally recognised upper-limit for disastrous climate change, climate scientists have found that at least 4/5ths of coal, oil and gas must stay in the ground. BP is showing little sign that it intends to leave its oil reserves in the ground.

Climate change has been named the “biggest global health threat of the 21st century” by Lancet, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. At a time when we need an unprecedented shift away from fossil fuel energy, BP’s chief executive received bonuses linked to the expansion of new fossil fuel projects, including the dirtiest fossil fuel of all – tar sands oil. Their business model is reckless. And it’s not just climate change: BP is responsible for the largest marine oil spill in history, the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The company is also being sued in a British court for alleged complicity in the kidnap and torture of a union activist in Columbia.

Despite the Chairman of BP, Carl-Henric Svanberg, stating that, “Nothing is locked away. We share everything happily,” the Archive is in fact closed off from 1976 onwards, leaving the important research into renewables conducted in the 1980/90s under wraps. This is just the Warwick-chapter in the saga of BP’s corruption and immorality. Through housing and supporting such a company, which shields off vital renewables research from the public, Warwick is complicit in BP’s practices.

Furthermore, BP has publicly stated that they use the Archive as a propaganda tool to promote their image and shape the academic debate. Their website explicitly states that, “These records are not only used by the Company to support its primary business activities, but also to enhance its reputation.” Peter Housego, the current Archive manager, has spoken openly about an initially critical academic article which resulted in “the writing of a very different article” after the researcher was allowed into the Archive.

We expect Warwick to have entered into discussions over arrangements for the vacation of the BP Archive by the commencement of the Conference of the Parties in Paris on Nov. 30, 2015, and to immediately cease giving out, rescind invitations to, and refuse requests by BP and other fossil fuel companies to attend careers fairs and other Careers & Skills events.

Kind regards,

Fossil Free Warwick

You can sign out petition to get BP off our campus here: https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/get-bp-off-the-university-of-warwick-s-campus. You can find out more at our new website here: fossilfreewarwick.org

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BP Off Campus: Letter to Management