By Guy Faulconbridge and Ron Bousso
LONDON (Reuters) - Greenpeace activists blocked the entrance to BP's London headquarters on Monday, demanding one of the world's biggest energy companies ends all new oil and gas exploration or goes out of business.
Greenpeace activists arrived at the building in St James' Square in central London at 0200 GMT and encased themselves in specially designed containers to block all of the main entrances.
A team of activists abseiled from the top of the building and placed huge letters over the windows reading 'CLIMATE EMERGENCY'.
"BP is fuelling a climate emergency that threatens millions of lives and the future of the living world," said Paul Morozzo, a Greenpeace activist.
"The science is clear - we must stop searching for new oil and gas if we want a liveable planet. BP must clean up or clear out," Morozzo said.
BP said that impeding safe entry and exit from the building was dangerous and "clearly a matter for the police to resolve as swiftly as possible."
"We welcome discussion, debate, even peaceful protest on the important matter of how we must all work together to address the climate challenge," the BP statement added.
London's Met Police later said four people had been arrested for aggravated tresspass and that police remained on the scene.
BP is due to hold its annual general meeting (AGM) of shareholders on Tuesday in the Scottish oil city of Aberdeen. Greenpeace said it would keep the London HQ closed for at least a week.
"At their AGM tomorrow BP's [CEO] Bob Dudley has a choice - he can immediately end oil exploration and start switching to 100% renewables or wind down the company," Morozzo said.
BP this year backed a resolution being put to investors on Tuesday for it to be more transparent about its emissions, link executive pay to reducing emissions from BP's operations and show how future investments meet the 2015 Paris climate agreement to limit global warming.
But as BP's 2018 carbon emissions rose to their highest in six years, the London-based major is being lobbied by activists and an increasing number of shareholders to ensure its operations are in line with goals set by the 2015 Paris climate deal to curb global warming.
Environmental activists led by British climate group Extinction Rebellion last month scaled scaffolding at the London headquarter of rival Royal Dutch Shell, painting slogans in red while activists glued themselves to the building doors.
Shell has agreed to the industry's most ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
BP, which employs 73,000 people, produces 3.8 million barrels of oil equivalent per day - more than OPEC members such as United Arab Emirates or Kuwait.
BP has said it aims to keep emissions from its operations flat in the decade until 2025, despite strong growth in its business which has been rebuilding after facing $67 billion in fines and clean-up costs following the disastrous 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
(Editing by Michael Holden, Keith Weir and David Evans)