Oil & Unis, Azeri elections, Shake! showcase + more!

25 October 2013

Dear All,An autumnal welcome to our October Newsletter. We’ve some exciting new research to share revealing the extent of oil companies’ involvement in UK universities, news of the recent, not-very-democratic elections in Azerbaijan, some work we’ve been doing in Parliament on fossil fuel subsidies, and an invite to the next Shake! showcase next week.

You might also like to check out this three minute video we made that tries to encapsulate what we do at Platform.

Knowledge & Power: Fossil Fuel Universities

Cutting-edge research creates our technological future, and education forms tomorrow’s workforce. Right now, our future crucially hinges on our society’s ability to go fossil-free, but UK universities are deeply entangled in the fossil fuel industry. We’ve published a new report with People & Planet and 350.org that reveals the endowments, research grants & honorary degrees that create intimate links between the two sectors. You can read the report here. Here’s a sample tweet if you feel like sharing this new research:

New report frm @PlatformLondon @peopleandplanet & @350 reveals extensive links between fossil fuel industry & UK unis bit.ly/1gZzcbN

The report is part of a major new divestment campaign that is starting up in the UK. Fossil Free UK is launching with big events in a week’s time in Edinburgh, Birmingham & London featuring Bill McKibben and Kumi Naidoo. We’ll see you if you’re at the London event on November the 1st.

Fraud, Freedom and Fossil Fuels: Azerbaijan’s Elections

The Azerbaijani Presidential election took place on 9 October and unsurprisingly the dictator won. Ilham Aliyev was returned to power with an unbelievable 85%, his nearest candidate received just 6%. Embarrassingly for the regime the Central Election Commission’s phone app appeared to leak the election results the night before the polls had even opened. On the actual day there was widespread evidence of ballot stuffing and carousel voting, the OSCE found ‘irregularites at 56% of polling stations. Just days after the election result the EU announced the Euro-Caspian Mega Pipeline was one of its Energy projects of common interest. In response to the election Platform coordinated an event with Helen Goodman MP in the House of Commons that was attended by Azeri democracy activists, UK campaigners, MPs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Staff and the Azerbaijani Embassy.

You can read Emma Hughes’ blog on the elections for New Internationalist here.

Uncovering “hidden” fossil fuel subsidies

Earlier this week we were invited by the Environmental Audit Committee to give evidence in Parliament on the nature of fossil fuel subsidies in the UK. The written evidence that we had submitted argued that we need to look at how military, diplomatic and export credit support for fossil fuel companies by the government all need to be accounted for as subsidies. You can read about what happened when Emma Hughes came up against the oil and gas lobby representative during the oral hearing.

Our North America Tour

Over the past month and a half, three Platform staff traveled across North America to promote The Oil Road as well as learn from colleagues and friends there. James travelled across the ocean by container ship and studied the history of mining and struggle in Virginia; Anna was inspired by the stories of Richmond, California standing up to Chevron’s power; both of them appeared on Democracy Now! to talk pipelines, money and democracy. There is so much more for us to write up – keep an eye on the blog.

A HUGE thank you to all the people who came to see us speak, and all the friends and allies who hosted us.

The Oil Road is out in paperback

“The Oil Road opens the lid on the often-shady energy economy, weaving absorbing travel reportage into powerful investigative journalism…. If you want to know why oil matters, read this book. ★★★★★” – Time Out (book of the week)

The paperback of our recent book The Oil Road – Journeys from the Caspian Sea to the City of London is out, and we’re selling it for just £6 (plus p&p) – that’s under half the cover price! Go here to get your copy.

Thank you to our sustainers

We want to say an enormous thank you to everyone who signed up to be a Platform Sustainer last month. We’re really excited about meeting everyone at our next Sustainers event in January: Conversations with Platform (invites will arrive soon). The Platform team will present their plans and gather ideas from our Sustainers. If you missed the opportunity, but would like to join us please get do get in touch with tanya@platformlondon.org, or visit our donate page to make a regular donation. The last meeting we held with a group of Sustainers turned into one of our most inspiring events.

We’re seeking 500 people to become part of a growing network of people who support our work by donating between £5-20 per month. The monthly donations are so helpful in allowing us to plan our work with more confidence, and meeting with our Sustainers acts as two way mirror between Platform and our supporters, strengthening and expanding the work we do. Thank you.


Read on the blog what happened when we went to the Shell-sponsored fracking quiz at the Science Museum.

Tues 29 Oct – Shake! Showcase #3

Shake! is excited to present its third showcase: Power >> Propaganda >> Perceptions. This will be an explosive showcase from the participants of the third Shake! course. Featuring freshly created poetic, filmic and musical responses to injustice, the showcase will present an original and inspiring mix of political creativity. So get on down to the Free Word Centre in Farringdon on Tuesday 29th October, 6-9pm and join us for what promises to be an electric event.

Check out the trailer made by the Shake! participants during the Shake! course in August .The full film will be premiered at the showcase. Get your tickets here. Hope to see you there!

Latest Blog Entries

Platform vs the oil and gas lobby in Parliament over fossil fuel subsidies

Shale Gas Exploitation in Algeria: Interview with an Algerian Journalist and Anti-Fracking Campaigner

Another oil spill reported in Ogoni territory, time to implement the UNEP report?

A Night at the Museum – the Shell sponsored Fracking Quiz

An oil and gas executive we can (sort of) get behind!

Richmond, California – winning against big oil

#Oct7Proclaim – Solidarity with Idle No More

Musicians react to oil sponsorship of the arts

Latest on Twitter

@OmFgOdDeSs: An oil and gas executive we can (sort of) get behind! http://tinyurl.com/kw8p65o  via @platformlondon

@platformlondon: Actions have been happening this week against the links between #Oxford Uni & #Shell Read the @sciunstained write up http://bit.ly/1hdpFxF

@simian_hancox: 1) Report from @peopleandplanet @PlatformLondon & @350 about UK university investment in fossil fuel http://tinyurl.com/l65nc4t

@platformlondon: Inspiring education story of the day: Economics students aim to tear up free-market syllabus http://gu.com/p/3jpxb/tw  via @guardian

@platformlondon: Big business allowed to precook climate negotiations behind closed doors for foreseeable future http://bit.ly/1etvjJX  via @corporateeurope

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On October 7th we held a small solidarity event in London with Idle No More marking the 250th anniversary of treaty rights being signed with the British crown.