Richard's blog

Everything you wanted to know about the Great Climate Swoop

There are less than three weeks to go until our day of action! Just imagine… it’s the morning of Saturday 17th October. You receive a message telling you to move into position at the south side of Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. The helicopter blades cut through the noise of the cars zipping up and down the M1. Your mission is clear and you’re ready to swoop.

Presented by the Camp for Climate Action, Plane Stupid, Rising Tide and Climate Rush, the swoop will see thousands of concerned individuals converging and taking over E.ON’s biggest coal fired power station.

Read the information below carefully, as it contains important planning details that aim to make the swoop the huge success it needs to be. People are being urged to arrive the night before (Friday 16th) if at all possible, where there will be an info stall at Nottingham station (6pm-9pm) directing people to a pre-action meet up point, followed by places to crash.

Bloc party

We can now announce the four blocs! Whether you want to highlight a solution or expose a problem, sign up to receive text alerts and details of your mission on the day.

Take back the power
Mission: Get to the control room and take back the power!

While the workers receive pitiful pay rises, the bosses of plants like Ratcliffe are raking in record profits. It’s time to kick start a just transition to a clean energy world by building the real solutions to climate change.

Let’s demonstrate that we can’t rely on Governments or corporations or anyone else to sort out the mess we’re in; it’s up to us to be the change we need. Join the take back the power bloc and aim for the control room to hit that big red ‘off’ switch.

Footsteps to the future
Mission: Get to the main gate and create your vision of a better future!

A bloc for the young, old and all in between to create a vision for a future beyond fossil fuels. Efficient and renewable, this bloc will be a space to show the solutions. From bike powered sound systems to solar showers, come, conceive and create.

This Bloc will be meeting at 10am on Saturday 17th at Nottingham train station to travel en masse to the power station. (However, fear not, if you are up for one of the other Blocs there will be just as clear ways to get involved on the day distributed via the text messaging system).

False solutions
Mission: Get to the coal pile and expose the false solutions!

Coal is not the answer! The only real solution to climate change is to stop burning the fossil fuels that are causing it! Let’s expose the greenwash and technofixes. Come armed with green paint! Or how about a net to capture and store some coal?! Whatever your tools and methods, decommission that coal!

Capitalism is crisis
Mission: Get anywhere in or around the power station and choose your own adventure! This is the decentralised option.

Through the fences; up the chimney; in the water. You’ve got your own ideas about making this a spectacular action. Do what you can and how you want. The economic and climate crises are linked. Capitalism is a root cause of climate change and cannot be the solution!

Every journey starts with one step, grasshopper

You have two options for how to begin your mission:

Looking for people to swoop with?

Make your way to Nottingham station between 6 and 11pm on Friday 16th October. There’ll be someone there to meet you, introduce you to fellow swoopers and direct you to accommodation if you need it. But please email if you will need a place to sleep. Make sure you’re ready to go at 10am on Saturday.

In an affinity group already?

That’s great! Make sure you’re in the Nottingham area at 10am on Saturday 17th October. If you need or want to get there the night before let us know if you’ll need a place to stay, but the more you can sort out for yourself the better!


Whether you’ve arrived the night before or on in the morning, you’ll receive a text message with details of the next part of your mission.

Then be prepared to swoop on the power station at 1pm!

Great Climate Swoop: trash, trash, trash all the fences

There's an old anarchist camp fire song, the chorus of which goes something along the lines of: Trash, trash, trash all the nations, we are the anarchist generation, we blockade military bases, we transform Fascist nations. Bolt croppers and evolution, we're gonna have a revolution. We're gonna move in a new direction, we're gonna start an insurrection.

Now I'm not going to pretend that the Great Climate Swoop is going to lead to the overthrow of the Government and the establishment of a new, horizontal system of mutual aid, but it will (a) be fun and (b) involve some fences. Fences which may not spend too much time standing, as the video above demonstrates.

So don't be put off by the naughty police and their naughtier mates at E:on. Come to Ratcliffe-on-Soar on the 17th and 18th of October... and if you happen to bring some bolt croppers, all the better!

Video of yuppie City Airport demo

I love the sound of yuppies in the morning, and hope the people of Newham do, because there's soon to be thousands (well, 32) descending on them to take advantage of British Airways's latest scheme: a luxury business-class only flight to New York for people whose accounts departments really should be checking their expenses more closely.

As Fight the Flights, the anti-City Airport expansion group, have noticed, Newham Council and and London City Airport really care about the local people. LCA is overjoyed at the benefits that increasing flights by 50% will bring to a borough already suffering from below average air quality and higher than average asthma rates.

Not so overjoyed as to actually ask them for an opinion, mind. Their latest consultation seems to have been conducted on the don't ask, don't tell principle. Somewhere between 10,000 and 16,000 households were asked for their views, which the council claims cost them £130,000. Given that there were 92,000 households in Newham back in 2001, we can only conclude that the council decided to spend its money on gold-plated consultation papers costing about £10,000 per household rather than soliciting the views of everyone who lives in its area.

Fight the Flights has challenged the whole expansion fiasco, and is taking Newham to court for a whole host of charges, mostly related to not considering certain Government policies, not consulting properly, and generally being a bunch of tossers (that's a bona-fide legal term, in case you were wondering). Fingers crossed that they didn't save some of the consultation budget back to bribe the judge with, although I wouldn't put it past them.

British Airways launches new yuppie flight amidst protests

Protestors were out in force when City Airport’s first transatlantic flight to New York took off at 12.50 yesterday. Local group Fight the Flights was joined by supporters from Plane Stupid and HACAN to protest about the new all-business class flight which sends a handful of yuppie scum to New York and - most irritatingly - brings them back again afterwards.

The campaigners - dressed as City yuppies - had come together to celebrate sarcastically at London City Airport with banners proclaiming 'We love carbon emissions' and 'global warming is cool' and also making a lot of noise using whistles, drums and horns.

Alan Haughton, from Fight the Flights said, "We had a lot of fun but the message was deadly serious. The super-rich are getting pampered. The super-poor are under the flight path getting the noise and pollution. No wonder people are angry."

Elizabeth Baines, from Plane Stupid, said, "This makes a mockery of all BA’s claims that they want to cut their emissions. This sort of flight should have no place in a world threatened by climate change."

Photo by Mini Mouse. You can see more at his gallery.

Airlines launch media campaign to tackle climate change

It's official: climate change is over, and the aviation industry has come in out of the cold. Their latest campaign 'Save the Airlines from Copenhagen Cuts' will see a 200% increase in the number of press releases from starving airlines, all focused on one thing: making you think they're doing something about their emissions.

This campaign launches today, as BA Chairman Willie Walsh will make some announcement about a plan to reduce emissions from aviation by 50% below 2005 levels by 2050. It's a great announcement, which, as one of the commentators on the Guardian says, is, to its advantage, "unclutterd by any method of achieving the aim". Why bother with methodology or pathways when your target is so far off that you don't have to achieve it any time soon.

Indeed the new SaCC campaign has just one target: December's talks in Copenhagen. The industry really doesn't want to be lumbered into a Kyoto2 deal, so it figures that some good PR right about now will disuade cut-ready politicians from locking them into any legal framework. And what's better than offering to halve the Government's new target?

But there must be some hint at how the industry plans to achieve this preposterous new target. Let's look at it in a bit more detail. In 2005, according to the DfT, the industry emitted 37.5 million tonnes of CO2. In 2050, again according to the DfT, the industry was, as of January 2009, expected to emit around 59.9 million tonnes. But the airlines now think that they can reduce emission to 19 million tonnes.

But how do they plan to achieve this? Oh, right.

Carbon trading...

Heathrow expansion not great value after all

One of the best things about being a monetising economist is getting to pretend that ideology has nothing to do with anything. Monetisers, for those of us lucky enough not to have to deal with them, are tasked with asigning a value to something which has no obvious price. Cheese, for instance, has a value: a block of it might be worth one pound, or two pound, or eight pound if bought from a fromagerie in Knightsbridge. But community? Or a quiet park in the city? Or time? What are they worth?

To answer that, you turn to a monetiser, who will weigh everything up and then find a way of pricing it cheap enough that some developers will still get to pave all over it and erect a car park. That 10th C Norman church? £10,000 to you squire. The cost of climate change? Too cheap to prevent the sort of behaviour which might prevent it happening.

But a concerted effort by those greenies at DECC has revised the value of carbon, increasing it as time goes on. A tonne of CO2 now isn't worth much - about the price of a night out in Soho - but by 2050 it's risen to the cost of a Fiat Panda, because a tonne emitted in 2050 is more likely to put us over our carbon limit and require another cut somewhere else. DECC's revision has made the value of carbon equivalent to the cost of achieving that extra reduction. Emit CO2 now or in 2050 and you'd pay for someone else to reduce their footprint to make up for it.

So far, so gravy. But then those clever boffins at the Liberal Democrats ran the cost of carbon through the Heathrow calculations. They discovered that the marked increase in the cost of carbon basically wiped out any economic benefits accrued from the third runway. In earlier versions the cost of the 181m tonnes of carbon dioxide the runway would emit between now and 2080 was £4.8b. Now it had risen to £9.3bn to 2080, wiping out the £5b benefits.

What does the Government think? Not much sadly: according to a recent PQ they haven't had a chance to look at the new benefit-cost ratio, but are pretty convinced that it will still be robust. Nothing to see here then, time to move along.

Boris flies to New York to diss video conferencing

It's a hard life being the Mayor of London - especially when you'd much rather be the PM. But Boris and his Bullingdon chums are never more than a hop-skip-jump away from a freebie, so this week he's flown off to New York to promote British Airways's latest campaign against video conferencing.

That's right: the Mayor of London, who opposed expansion at Heathrow and who is supposed to represent the caring-sharing face of Compassionate Conservativism is taking backhanders (well, four business class flights) from an airline to expressly oppose the idea that we could do quite a lot of what we do without sitting in a tube of metal half-way above the Atlantic.

BA's 'Face to Face' campaign is nothing short of an attempt to derail the recession-inspired decline in flying, which was driven by accounts departments suddenly remembering that it's perfectly OK to call someone with whom you would like to do business instead of packing a bag and heading to Heathrow. Can you imagine a more cruel and heartless world than one where business deals are not concluded in the top floor bar of the Hilton Cairo with a nod, a wink and a large glass of wine?

So, great that Boris enjoyed his holiday. Now BoJo, would you mind staying in the States permanently? It's not like you do any work while you're here - except for phasing out perfectly accessible buses for less frequent, less spacious alternatives...

Adopt a Resident Autumn Ceilidh - get your dancing shoes on pronto!

It's widely claimed that famous anarchist Emma Goldman once declared that "If I can't dance, I don't want to be in your revolution," and who are we to argue? So make your way to the Adopt a Resident Autumn ceilidh for some revolutionary line dancing. Yee ha!

If you've never heard of a ceilidh, then now's your chance to find out. It's basically a communal dance with live bands, particularly popular in Scotland, Ireland and Climate Camp. There are generally fiddles, line dances and gingham.

The party is happening on 10 October, from 7pm – 11pm, at the West Drayton Community Centre, Harmondsworth Road, West Drayton. Awesome bands include Cut-a-Shine and Harmonsworth's very own Earth Pig.

Earlier this year over 50 activists adopted more than 50 residents who live in the communities threatened by a third runway. This is the latest event to bring activists and residents together, to build relationshships strong enough to resist the bulldozers.

Tickets are limited, going like vegan hot cakes and available from Plane Stupid Scotland: First come, first served, so don't be the sad panda sitting on the sidelines while everyone else shakes their tail feathers.