The #Heathrow13 – climate activists convicted of trespassing on and disrupting Britain’s busiest airport – have been told by the judge that they face jail sentences.
Oh how the heart bleeds!
According to a small group of green protesters who have gathered outside the magistrates court this represents a terrible travesty of justice. Apparently this will be the first time in the UK anyone has ever been jailed for protesting about climate change.
“A disgrace” says (terrorist-supporting, hard-left) Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
“Deeply unjust” says Green MP Caroline Lucas.
No, Caroline, love, what’s really unjust is this: thousands of holidaymakers and business travellers making their way to the airport to catch planes only to miss their flights because a bunch of spoiled trustafarians, unemployable Environmental Sciences graduates and professional wasters have gone and cut through the perimeter fence and lain down on the runway.
One of the idiots – it goes almost without saying – was dressed as a polar bear.
Another of the idiots – again, it almost goes without saying – holds a PhD in climate science from the University of East Anglia (aka the University of Easy Access). And guess who her course supervisor was (h/t Paul Matthews at Bishop Hill). Why – the story gets better and better – it was none other than Phil Jones, the disgraced head of the Climatic Research Unit, as featured so unimpressively in the Climategate emails.
Nobody is suggesting that dressing up as a polar bear or studying Environmental Sciences under Phil Jones ought to be punishable by imprisonment. (Though I don’t think it would do any harm if a few of us wrote to the Home Secretary urging the law to be tightened up in this regard).
But only an utter loon would argue that the right to free protest extended to being given a free pass to ruin people’s holidays, disrupt their business meetings, jeopardise security and cause millions and millions of pounds of economic damage.
This is what is so reprehensible and unjust about so many of the previous decisions made by the courts on environmental issues. The Kingsnorth power station protest, for example.
Kingsnorth was the case in 2008 when a group of Greenpeace protesters successfully defended themselves against a charge of criminal damage (£30,000 worth to a power station chimney) by pleading “climate change” as their “lawful excuse.”
The court had heard from Professor Jim Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, that the 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted daily by Kingsnorth could be responsible for the extinction of up to 400 species. Hansen, a Nasa director who advises Al Gore, the former US presidential candidate turned climate change campaigner, told the court that humanity was in “grave peril”. “Somebody needs to step forward and say there has to be a moratorium, draw a line in the sand and say no more coal-fired power stations.”
It also heard David Cameron’s environment adviser, millionaire environmentalist Zac Goldsmith, and an Inuit leader from Greenland both say climate change was already seriously affecting life around the world. Goldsmith told the court: “By building a coal-power plant in this country, it makes it very much harder [to exert] pressure on countries like China and India” to reduce their burgeoning use of the fossil fuel.
The court was told that some of the property in immediate need of protection included parts of Kent at risk from rising sea levels, the Pacific island state of Tuvalu and areas of Greenland. The defendants also cited the Arctic ice sheet, China’s Yellow River region, the Larsen B ice shelf in Antarctica, coastal areas of Bangladesh and the city of New Orleans.
The jury was told that Kingsnorth emitted the same amount of carbon dioxide as the 30 least polluting countries in the world combined – and that there were advanced plans to build a new coal-fired power station next to the existing site on the Hoo peninsula.
Amazingly, the judge was swayed by this pseudo-scientific guff.
But that was eight years ago, at the height of the green scare. The judge in the #heathrow13 case appears to be made of more robust stuff.