Week 2 of the Ratcliffe Trial saw the defence open their case, giving some of the defendants an opportunity to explain why they took the actions they did. Among the witnesses called was NASA scientist James Hansen, former MP for Notttingham South Alan Simpson and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas.
The Manchester Airport Trial will begin next week, with 11 defendants facing charges of obstruction of the highway, for shutting off the World Freight Centre of Manchester Airport in May this year.
Newswire: Ratcliffe Trial Day 8 – Defence Calls MP's | Day 8 – Leader of the UK Green Party | Day 8 – Alan Simpson | Ratcliffe Trial Day 6 – The Defence Continues | Climate change protesters' anger was justifiable | Ratcliffe Trial Day 5 – Defence case opens | Ratcliffe Day 5 - Hansens says govt lie on climate | Ratcliffe Trial Day 5 - Cheryl Cole gets props
The defence has called an impressive array of witnesses. James Hansen is a prominent climatologist, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988 helped raise awareness of global warming. Caroline Lucas is a former Green MEP from 1999 – 2010, and current MP for Brighton Pavilion. Alan Simpson was MP for Nottingham South from 1992 until May 2010 when he "decided to resign my seat in order to devote my time to work on climate change and renewable energy policies."
All spoke about the seriousness of the threat from climate change, the coming "tipping points" which would take the global climate to a point of no return, possibly as early as 2013-15. They also discussed the "democratic deficit" which leaves individuals unable to impress upon government the severity of the problem and allows energy companies to wield disproportionate influence.
Simpson stated “There is, in my opinion, an indisputable democratic deficit in [government] having power, but refusing to use it, even to require power stations to audit their annual carbon emissions and the energy efficiency of each power station. It is simply not coherent to argue that any of the governments commitments amount to a coherent plan for carbon emission reductions. This is particularly true within the timescale in which emissions reductions have to be made. Climate change protesters are in my view, absolutely right to argue that we cannot continue with a ‘business as usual’ approach to UK carbon emissions, without threatening the very prospects of existence for future generations."
Miss Felicity Gerry for the prosecution has sought to argue that alternative "democratic" methods of protest would be more effective, citing Paul McCartney and Coldplay’s Chris Martin as examples of effective environmentalism, through their involvement with ‘Meat Free Mondays’. Instead of closing down power stations, she suggested that the defendants would be better off searching for celebrity endorsements for the likes of ‘Turn-off Tuesdays” or “Switch-Off Sundays.” She even suggested that the money that was spent on the action would have been better off hiring Cheryl Cole to model second hand fashions.
The case continues.
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