Tuesday, December 09, 2008

climate justice cometh

Climate action moves on apace this week.

On Monday protesters blockaded the runway at Stansted airport, Britain's big place for short-haul flights. There were 57 protesters. Ryanair cancelled 56 flights.

As organisers Plane Stupid pointed out, that's one flight per person, and as the average flight out of Stansted has a climate impact equivalent to about four years of the average Briton's emissions, that's a fucking good morning's work.

The fact that such a large group can organise and pull off this action without getting rumbled is pretty darn cool too.

In a less publicised but even more audacious action, during 48 hours of direct action against E-On someone got into the Kingsnorth power station - site of last summer's Camp for Climate Action - and switched off one of the turbines.

June's stopping of the coal train going into Drax and shovelling the payload on to the tracks was quite possibly the coolest action I'd ever heard of, but this Kingsnorth one is now the front runner for the title.

The protester scaled the electric fence (which wasn't working), knew the layout and the equipment, switched off 500 megawatts of coal-fired generation and then left through a staff entrance. The cops and Kingsnorth's owners E-on are clueless. How fuckin James Bond is that?

UPDATE: More info on that action here.

When the Climate Camp decided to go to Kingsnorth it was thought possible that, by the time they arrived last August, they'd have been facing the construction of the new coal station planned for the site. Yet the decision has been delayed and delayed, and has still not been taken.

Last week the decision on Heathrow's third runway was delayed so that Transport Secretary Geoff 'Buff' Hoon would have, ahem, 'more time to weigh the evidence'.

Whilst time is running out to avoid dangerous climate change, the scale of action is on the up and the crucial governmental decisions are getting later and wobblier.

And the payback starts to stack up too. An Oxford University climate physicist is saying that the effects of human-made climate change are so quantifiable that people impacted will be able to sue for the damage.

Myles Allen talks about countries hit by things like worsening storms, heatwaves and floods. But it's not only those who caused the problem but those who enable them too.

Owen Lomas, head of environmental law at City firm Allen & Overy, said: "If you look at the extent to which certain major companies in the US are accused of having funded disinformation to cast doubt on the link between man-made emissions and global warming, that could open the way to litigation."

Imagine if we were to actually get it together and achieve what's necessary; the first few years of the process could well look like this.

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