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Dirty Energy & Fuel

'Eco-Terrorism' Legitimized by British Court

In a monumental ruling, a British jury acquitted six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage charges stemming from what the activists said was an attempt to shut down a coal-fired power plant. The jury decided that the activists’ action was justifiable because the plant, which emits 20,000 tons of CO2 every day, will hold some blame for immense damage caused by global warming in the future.

Six activists were acquitted of criminal charges, essentially praised for slowing climate change.

[social_buttons] The ruling goes against years of convictions for similar actions and essentially praised the activists for their help in preventing global warming. To make their case, the defense argued that much of the lower-altitude areas that surround the plant could eventually be submerged in water from the effects of climate change.

The court allowed scientific experts to present the case, including a NASA climate expert, the British Conservative Party’s environmental adviser, and an Inuit leader from Greenland. James Hanson, the NASA representative, told the jury that global warming would cause the extinction of one million species worldwide and that the Kent power plant’s emissions would be responsible for 400 of the extinctions.

Five of the six activists scaled the plant’s 650-foot smokestack in October last year to paint “Gordon” on the exterior wall. Prime Minister Gordon Brown plans to build new coal-fired plants across England, including another in Kent.

“This verdict marks a tipping point for the climate change movement,” said Ben Stewart, one of the Greenpeace activists. “If jurors from the heart of Middle England say it’s legitimate for a direct action group to shut down a coal-fired power station because of the harm it does to our planet, then where does that leave government energy policy?”

Photo Credit: Greenpeace.italia on Flickr via Creative Commons license.

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19 comments
  1. Daniel

    I am sure in some mythologies a pen
    might be called the strongest weapon.
    From a practical point, I see just blunt
    abuse of language by ‘attack’ and ‘terror’.

    Perhaps this, from a semantic viewpoint
    minorly valuable, piece of uhm journalism
    could still qualify its author to report
    on pro-life terrorists bombing hospitals,
    where his scareline style will be matching.

  2. cchiovitti

    I think this sets a dangerous precedence. What they did may not have been harmful but essentially the courts give free reign to any similar act which may be “justified” right? How about spraypainting some cows to protest excessive methane production? Or someone’s garage door if they drive an SUV?

  3. GMNightmare

    What, Athon, were you trying to say? Really?

    Yeah, CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and, tadaa, the science behind it is all on this site: http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/
    Proving, eh, lol, global warming by CO2 is a scam. Yes, the science is all pretty clear cut. Didn’t I say that?

    Yeah, and I know proof is mathematical term… why? Because the proof, is, GUESS WHAT? Mathematical. Duh. I gave you the link even, it’s all there. Science and mathematics aren’t separate, they are intertwined. When talking about scientific proof here, we are talking mathematics. So now, are you going to give me evidence that it isn’t? No? That’s what I thought, nobody ever does. You only want to try and nitpick at grammar because you can’t face facts.

    And what the hell? I said that CO2 absorbs radiation, not trap heat in like most people think. And what do you do? Counter my statement that CO2 absorbs radiation by saying the exact same thing? What are you playing at? This shows you don’t know how to read, or at least not paying attention, if you were wondering. CO2 absorbs some of the radiation as it’s coming back from Earth. But this is a only a delay of the travel, and it’s not permanent. Also, it can only absorb a certain amount, once saturated it fails to absorb more. If you were wondering, Oxygen does too, but only at radiations <0.3um.

    “But if you’re going to talk science, knowing what you’re talking about helps.”
    I do, you obviously don’t. If your going to play with fire at least visit the site first so you don’t fall on your face again. And next time, actually face facts instead of picking at grammar like an… well, you get the point. Amazingly, you basically ignored everything I said, and provided no proof for your stance.

  4. JD

    So what if I see someone breathing? Technically they are exhaling carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, as thus contributing to “global warming” so if I were a member of the fanatical religion of “global warming” it would be my civic duty to kill them right? Better yet why not just have a mass suicide? Perhaps the judge and jurors would like to start. This verdict is ridiculous! They committed a crime and interrupted who knows how many peoples jobs and incomes!

  5. Cathy

    Firstly, there’s no “monumental ruling”. Juries have come to similar verdicts in the UK before, notably acquitting Greenpeace activists of criminal damage when they pulled up GM crops. It is a long-help principle of criminal law in the UK that you can break the law to prevent a greater harm. This and the GM trial have pushed that somewhat, but this isn’t a new legal concept.

    Secondly, so what? The verdict of a jury doesn’t set any precedents. All this means is that, like in the GM trial, the jury had more sympathy with the activists tha the power company. It is interesting, and it is good news for activists who haven’t always been able to count on public sympathies, but it isn’t some exciting new legal concept.

  6. Eric T

    Unbelievable. I somewhat believe that vigilanteism has it’s place….but this is not acceptable.

    Can you imagine how many other attacks could result simply from people knowing that they stand a greater chance of getting away with such acts as long as the thing they are attacking has not met the righteous standards of the attackers (and some key people in high places apparently)

    This is not mere lenience this is welcoming anarchy.

  7. Chris Taylor

    Except they killed NO ONE. from what I read all they did was make a political statement by painting GORDON on the stack.

    NO damage No Deaths. On PUBLIC property IE there property. The hummer is private property and would not make much of a political statement unless they could manage to do ALL the hummers all at once. Either way no where near the same effect and intent as a political statement painted on the stack.

    While I do not condone such actions I CAN and do agree with the perspective of the jury.

  8. Athon

    @GMNightmare

    I agree with the first part of your sentiments…but then you go into a rant that is, basically, BS.

    CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Not the most powerful, certainly, but the science behind its effects is pretty clear-cut unless you want to invent your own facts.

    First of all, ‘proof’, technically, isn’t a scientific term. To be pedantic, it’s a mathematical one. Science deals with weight of evidence. And the weight of evidence suggests that while the climate is influenced by many factors, the increase in CO2 over the past 200 years has produced an average overall increase in global temperatures. There are still questions regarding the details, the magnitude of changes etc., but the facts are there. AGW as a reality is as solid as theories come.

    As for your statement on CO2 and radiation, this shows you didn’t really pay attention in science, or have read much on the matter. Like most greenhouse gases, CO2 molecules are transparent to most wavelengths of radiation. It isn’t transparent to the wl in the infra red part of the spectrum. Light passes through, hits the ground and warms it up, creating IR radiation. This is what greenhouse gases deal with.

    I agree that criminal acts are criminal acts, and we should deal with them accordingly. Vigilante judges are the last thing we need in dealing with such issues. But if you’re going to talk science, knowing what you’re talking about helps.

    Athon

  9. Rimu

    What a misleading headline.

    How is writing something on a smoke stack anywhere near terrorism?

    Sure, charge them with vandalism or trespassing maybe. But terrorism?! Hahaha come on

  10. GMNightmare

    BS. So what do the courts say when somebody kills somebody off the street? “Oh, that person was driving a hummer and polluting the world! HAD TO KILL HIM!” Extreme, of course, but that’s how ludicrous this situation is. Criminals should be treated as such, they knew what would be the punishment for their actions, and they decided to do it anyways. What’s next? Allowing PETA terrorists to get away with their arson?

    I would love to hear everything that was said in the court. But the most likely thing? Same thing as always. OH, GLOBAL WARMING IS KILLING EVERYTHING! PANIC! RUN AWAY! What is causing global warming? CO2. Where’s the proof? Why, everywhere, just look around! No, I mean where’s the proof that CO2 is causing global warming and not something else? Err… GLOBAL WARMING IS KILLING EVERYTHING WHY WON’T YOU DO SOMETHING?

    Global warming may or may not be a serious threat. It may be a trend. But the one thing for sure, is that CO2, isn’t, what is causing it. At all. Scientifically, this is proven. It is because people have been mislead on knowing how greenhouse gases work. They think it’s like a blanket, it’s not. It absorbs radiation, not traps it in.

    It’s all a hoax anyways. No proof of CO2 harming the environment, especially since man made emissions only make what, not even .05% of the air. All of the CO2 causes .28% greenhouse effect. Numerous other proofs against it, and it provides no proofs, and is basically just a fear campaign that hinders the poor nations. Real causes of our current global warming trend? Oh, I don’t know… how about that huge massive glowing ball of gas that has always controlled Earth’s temperature. CO2, ha, no, how about we stick to the real threats: deforestation, our disappearing rain forests, species disappearing, over-hunting, overfishing, pollution of plastics (I mean, that new plastic landmass in the pacific must do something to temperature…), water crisis… so many things, yet all overshadowed by a fake and pathetic hoax.
    http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse/

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