Greenpeace cleared! Coal found GUILTY!
The six volunteers - Kevin, Emily, Tim, Will, Ben and Huw -
attempted to shut down the Kingsnorth power station in Kent last
year by scaling the chimney and painting the Prime Minister's name
down the side. The defendants had intended to paint 'GORDON BIN IT'
down the side of the chimney but were served a High Court
injunction by police helicopter, meaning they only got as far as
painting the Prime Minister's first name.
They were accused of causing £30,000 (US$53,000) of criminal
damage to the Kingsnorth smokestack from painting. The defence was
that they had a 'lawful excuse' - because they were acting to
protect property around the world "in immediate need of protection"
from the impacts of climate change, caused in part by burning
The defence used evidence to prove that burning coal inflicts
enormous damage upon ecosystems, people and property across the
planet - and that the UK government was failing to take effective
This is the first case where preventing property damage from
climate change has been used as part of a 'lawful excuse' defence
in Crown Court.
NASA scientist called for a moratorium
During the trial, the world's leading climate scientist, James
Hansen, came to court and challenged the government's plans for new
coal, calling for Gordon Brown to announce a moratorium on all new
coal-fired power plants without carbon capture and storage. The
environmental policy adviser for the UK shadow Prime Minister said
there was "a staggering mismatch between what we've heard from
government and what we've seen from government in terms of
An expert on climate change impacts in the UK said some of the
property in immediate need of protection from sea level rises
included parts of Kent (Kingsnorth being "extremely vulnerable")
and that "it behoves us to act with urgency". And an Inuit leader
told of his first hand experiences of the impacts of climate
After hearing all of the evidence, the jurors supported the
right to take direct action to protect the climate from the burning
The Tipping Point
Seen in the light of the verdict, the plans to build a new coal
plant at Kingsnorth (which could emit as much as the world's 30
least polluting countries combined every year for 40 or 50 years)
show that Gordon Brown's government is failing to act on climate
change. Instead they are pumping out policies that are actively
leading us in the wrong (and very dangerous) direction. UK
Ministers now find themselves in a very tight corner.
This verdict marks a tipping point for
the climate change movement. It stands as an example to governments
everywhere and an inspiration to people world-wide that they can
and should take a stand against coal fired power stations in
defence of the climate!
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