Edinburgh International Conference Centre urged to stop hosting events for fossil fuel industry

Edinburgh climate protesters send open letter to EICC board
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Climate activists in Edinburgh are calling on the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) to stop hosting events for the fossil fuel industry.

It follows a protest staged by campaigners last month when the Scottish Energy Forum held a dinner at the venue last month. Activists said guests arriving at the event were greeted by over 100 climate protesters who took part in ceilidh dancing, drumming and chants and blocked the entrance to the building.

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Now, in an open letter to the EICC board and management, the campaigners say they are “concerned by EICC’s track record of hosting events with clear links to a continued drive for fossil fuel expansion”. They note the EICC hosted the Scottish Energy Forum’s (SEF) 2022 annual dinner and is also due to host the 2023 dinner.

Climate protests outside the Scottish Energy Forum event at the EICC in March.Climate protests outside the Scottish Energy Forum event at the EICC in March.
Climate protests outside the Scottish Energy Forum event at the EICC in March.

The letter, signed by 477 people, said: “Whilst families in Edinburgh face unprecedented hikes in energy and gas bills, and thousands struggle with inflation, it is disappointing to see oil and gas executives partying and celebrating their record profits in one of Edinburgh’s most respected venues.” And it notes the EICC is a subsidiary of the city council which has a target of Edinburgh becoming a net zero city by 2030. “We argue that hosting events which validate fossil fuel expansion are out of step with the council’s climate commitments.”

Lucy Walczuk, an activist with Edinburgh Youth in Resistance who was at the protest outside EICC, said: “By hosting swanky fossil fuel industry events like the Scottish Energy Forum Annual Dinner, EICC and Edinburgh city council are facilitating the industry’s plans to continue extracting and burning oil and gas. If Edinburgh city council is serious about its commitment to become a net zero city, it needs to cut ties with the oil and gas companies who are driving us towards climate breakdown.

“There should be a zero-tolerance policy for the fossil fuel industry at the EICC and in other council-run venues. Hundreds of Edinburgh residents came together to send a strong message that the fossil fuel industry is not welcome in our city. Fossil fuel executives were embarrassed as they had to pass through hundreds of activists dancing to traditional Scottish music and chanting ‘shame on you’ in order to enter the dinner. We will continue to protest and put pressure on venues to refuse bookings from the fossil fuel industry until there is no place in Edinburgh that the industry can host its greenwashed events.”