Two Students Spray Paint Three London Universities As Part of ‘Just Stop Oil’ Campaign

Press Release – 2pm, March 2nd, 2022

Earlier today, two students spray painted “Just Stop Oil” and black oil slick designs onto buildings at three universities to highlight their investment in fossil fuels and to demand the government stops all new fossil fuel projects. The students are members of Youth Climate Swarm a group of young people from across the UK that are committed to standing up for their future – a future they don’t expect to have if the world remains on its current trajectory of global warming. [1]

This week’s report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change laid bare the scale of the crisis and concluded that if the world does not rapidly reduce emissions we “will miss a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all”.[2]

Nathan McGovern, 22, studying for an MA in Religion at King’s College London said:

“We are in a climate emergency. Our government and universities are chucking our futures down the drain. Hundreds of thousands of young people all over the world are dying even now, due to the fossil fuel industry. We refuse to die quietly. We have 2-3 years to act before it’s too late.”

Last year, the International Energy Agency stated that if governments are serious about climate change there can be no new investments in oil, gas or coal from now on, while Sir David King, former chief scientific advisor to the UK Government, predicts we now only have 2-3 years to “determine the future of humanity.” [3][4]

The students targeted Imperial College London, London Metropolitan University, and Birkbeck, University of London who all have ongoing investments in the fossil fuel industry and no commitments to divest. [5]

Will Goldring, 24, studying for a PhD in neuroscience at UCL said:

“By investing in fossil fuels, these universities are funding climate breakdown and lending implicit support to the corporations responsible. They are also directly contradicting their responsibilities as centres for learning and research. Investment in fossil fuels is a crime against the whole of humanity, and we intend to treat it as such.

“We can no longer simply appeal to a government which has failed us, we must take targeted action against the industries which are destroying our future, and all the institutions that support them.”

Youth Climate Swarm is calling on the UK Government to issue a statement that it will immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK. If the government has not done so by March 14th, Youth Climate Swarm have committed to intervene in order to avoid climate catastrophe.

The group is inviting young people to assemble in Trafalgar Square at 1pm on Saturday, March 5th to learn more about how they can fight for their futures. The group would also like to express solidarity with the current University and College Union staff strikes, as part of the fight for social justice.


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[1] Youth Climate Swarm is a non-violent civil resistance campaign that aims to mobilise young people to act against government decisions harmful to their future. They are organising talks at universities and colleges across the country. Youth Climate Swarm is currently acting in support of Just Stop Oil. Just Stop Oil is a coalition of groups working together to demand that the government immediately halt all future licensing and consents for the exploration, development and production of fossil fuels in the UK. Further information here:




[5] Universities record on fossil fuel investments: Imperial College London has actively chosen to continue investing in fossil fuels interspersing its statement with greenwashing and carbon-zero jargon that ignores the near-impossible chance of reaching the Paris Agreement goals.

London Metropolitan University claims to have no direct investment in thermal coal, oil shale and tar sands but does not appear to exclude fossil fuels more generally. A review by People and Planet, the student campaign network, found Metropolitan’s fossil fuel screening processes to be lacking. Furthermore, the university banks with Barclays, the biggest European financier of global fossil fuel projects.

Birkbeck, University of London does not have any prohibition on fossil fuel investments. Students at the university are calling on them to divest an estimated £200,000 of fossil fuel investments.