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Giant ‘dying polar bear’ appears outside Shell UK headquarters in protest over Arctic drilling

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BY KARA O’NEILL: 21 Sept 2015

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A giant dying polar bear has been placed outside the headquarters of oil and gas company Shell in a bid to stop their Arctic drilling programme.

British actress Emma Thompson was among the protesters who manoeuvred the three-tone puppet into place, locking six people inside so the bear cannot be moved.

The bear, which is the size of a double decker bus, and is named Aurora (after the Northern Lights) is intended to sit outside the company’s headquarter in South Bank, London, until they cease their drilling.

British actor Emma joined the 64 activists before taking to the stage to read an original poem to Shell, penned especially for the occasion.

Two weeks ago, Shell was given the go ahead to start drilling in the Arctic Ocean to look for new oil reserves.

It has until September 28 to strike oil before it must shut up its operation for winter.

But Greenpeace argue that each hole drilled risks an icy oil spill that could be impossible to clean up and potentially disastrous for both people and wildlife that call the Arctic home.

Emma, 56, said : “I’ve been to the Arctic, I’ve seen the beauty, I’ve seen the wildlife, and my heart breaks to think that Shell is up there right now, drilling for the oil that threatens not only their habitat but ours.

“Make no mistake about it, we’re next. That’s why I’ve come to their HQ.

“I’m here to say no. I’m here to say this has to end. I’m one of millions of people demanding that this company pulls out of the Arctic, and this huge polar bear is roaring with our voices.”

In March, the Arctic experienced the lowest sea ice maximum ever recorded.

The extreme conditions in the Arctic make offshore drilling extremely risky.

The US administration acknowledged a 75% change of a large oil spill over the lifetime of the wells.

Experts claim a spill on that kind of scale would be impossible to clean up and could cause long-term problems for wildlife.

A Shell spokesman said: “Shell respects the right of people to protest against the activities we undertake to ensure the world’s energy needs are met.

“However, it is disappointing that Greenpeace continually chooses to focus on mounting publicity stunts rather than engage constructively in the debate about how to meet the world’s growing demand for energy while reducing CO2 emissions.

“We believe we can play an important role in developing the Arctic’s energy resources. We choose to explore there because we have the expertise and experience to operate responsibly and be profitable at the same time.”

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