While oil companies taking draconian action against Greenpeace was not unusual, the sheer scale of the legal action and the damages sought was frightening. As a result I had to liaise with senior managers in Greenpeace who were concerned about the implications of the legal action, brief the international press and open up communication channels with the government, BP and their lawyers from a satellite phone with an intermittent signal in the mid Atlantic.
After discussing our options we decided to escalate the standoff by stating publicly that BP were trying to bankrupt Greenpeace and appeal directly to the public through a series of adverts to give money to the organisation. The result was the biggest publicity coup since the Brent Spar and following days of damaging headlines BP eventually made a humiliating climb down
As a Climate Change Campaigner I also successfully campaigned with the Crown Estate and British Wind Energy Association to convince the government to create offshore wind farms. This is now a multi million pound business in which Britain is a world leader.
To promote wave power I organised a national tour using the Greenpeace flagship ‘Rainbow Warrior’. This was run in conjunction with three leading wave power companies and resulted in the Scottish Parliament forming a new wave poower commission. Today Scotland leads the world in this technology.
I also installed the first grid connected solar panels on homes in Silvertown, East London in co-operation with the Peabody Trust. This included negotiating a first solar power ‘net metering’ deal called Solarnet with the former Eastern Electricity. A decade later the government introduced feed-in tariffs to reward consumers for producing their own electricity.
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