Camp for Climate Action

Drax or Ratcliffe: you decide!

This summer, the biggest heavyweights of climate change will face off in a media-friendly extravaganza. In the red corner, emitting 22 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, the UK's single biggest emitter of CO2... Drax coal-fired power station. In the blue corner, weighing in at 13 million tonnes, rising contender and the largest investor owned emitter of CO2... Ratcliffe on Soar coal-fired power station. Who gets blockaded? You decide!

Later this year a whole mob of direct activists - and you - will be descending on a coal-fired power station, and closing it for a short while. Previously these things have been done under the cover of darkness and secrecy, but that can be a bit exclusive. It's hard to get new people to join this growing movement when you can't tell anyone what you're up to!

So the Climate Camp, Climate Rush and Plane Stupid have decided to throw back the covers and expose ourselves to the world by organising a very public day of mass action for the 17-18 October. The target is being voted on, right now, on t'internet. We want to know: where would you rather blockade?

So get voting, get packing, get ready: the Great Climate Swoop is coming to a power station near you. I've no idea when voting will end, but I can guarantee you that someone will win and that there will almost certainly be bunting. Seriously, we've got boxes of the stuff now.

Frankfurt airport expansion meets determined local opposition

I've just got back - by coach, thanks for asking - from meeting campaign groups opposing expansion at Frankfurt airport. The authorities want a fourth runway, and expansion is justified on the same sort of grounds as our third runway: Frankfurt's financial centre will collapse; it will bring jobs; flights will go to other airports; passengers will choose to change planes at other hub airports, etc.

The owners have already cut down a million trees to make way for it. This is a travesty of the highest order, and stirring up some emotional memories. Over thirty years ago the woods were the scene of some of the fiercest and most famous protests in German history, as tens of thousands of people fought to stop a third runway being built. There was virtually civil war when the authorities tried to remove the protestors. The protest had a profound effect in Germany, helping radicalise a generation and kickstarting the nascent green movement.

But it also left many campaigners dispirited. They had fought – and lost – the biggest and most dramatic campaign against airport expansion ever seen in Europe. This time round they have concentrated on legal challenges, but so far without success. And while the woods were occupied again, it was largely by younger environmental activists. They held out for nine months but were evicted earlier this year. There still is a small camp, which we visited, but is not on the site of the new runway.

This summer the young activists are planning a Climate Camp, like there was at Heathrow two years ago, in the woods near the airport to which activists from across Europe will be invited. The local residents are pursuing their legal challenges. There are major campaigns against airport expansion in other German cities - notably at Munich and Stuttgart where last year 15,000 people marched against a new runway - and a burgeoning direct action movement. If the Frankfurt campaigners can persuade these other campaigners to join them this summer, they have a fighting chance of success.

Check out my photos from the trip on our Flickr photostream.

Observer and NETCU smear environmental activists as terrorists

Earth First!

This morning the Observer carried a National Extremism Tactical Co-ordination Unit press release, in which they claimed to have alerted a number of major carbon polluters to watch out for eco-terrorists, with advice on how they can withstand being targeted. The article goes on to say that "green extremists" - Earth First! and the Camp for Climate Action - may be about to launch a campaign of intimidation and fear aimed at disrupting businesses. Is this an attempt by the police to prime public opinion and pave the way for a crackdown on climate activists?

My words can only represent my own feelings but I know that many activists share the following views. We are in the grip of a global emergency: climate scientists are telling us that we have reached a 'tipping point' and if we do not take measures to drastically reduce our carbon footprint then our children will inherit a dying planet. Our abuses of the earth have already committed us to climate changes that will result in the deaths of many, many thousands of people and most of these will be from poorer nations that have played no part in creating this situation. My actions seek to highlight this and to attempt to slow it down. I want to preserve life, both of my friends and families but also of my fellow humans and creatures from around the globe.

Climate Camp returns to Heathrow: where next debate

Sipson Grave

Although the decision on Heathrow has been delayed until later this year (so that Ruth Kelly and her lackeys can pretend they're reading our submissions to the consultation) the mobilisation against the runway continues. Next weekend the Camp for Climate Action and local residents groups will meet to discuss where next - i.e. what they're prepared to do if (and when) the decision to expand goes against us.

The conference will build on the solidarity between greens and residents, which culminated in last year's occupation of BAA's car park and a week of action against aviation industry targets. There'll be speakers from a number of anti-expansion groups, and the aim of the day is to face up to the enevitable decision to expand.

So get yourself down to Harlington Baptist Church on Saturday the 26th of July, 12-5. Let's show the Government that whatever the decision, the struggle against airport expansion goes up regardless. For more info see the Camp for Climate Action website - and see you there!

Climate Camp: flood victims blockade government office in Leeds

Leeds blockade

Taken from Indymedia: Residents from flood stricken areas of Yorkshire and Humberside today blockaded the Government Office in Leeds to protest at its continued promotion of airport expansion. Inspired by last year’s camp for climate action at Heathrow, the protestors from Hull, South Yorkshire and the Calder Valley used pop-up tents to set up camp and blockade the main entrance.

The timing of the protest coincided with the final stages in the adoption of the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) – the area’s fifteen year development plan which is currently on the desk of government minister Baroness Andrews, awaiting final approval. The plan allows for a threefold expansion of passenger flights from Yorkshire and Humberside.

From Sipson with love

Sipson thanks

The spirit of the Climate Camp lives on. I was at two public meetings this week, in the villages which will be destroyed if BAA's plans go ahead, to make way for tons and tons of tarmac: one in Sipson, the village that would be completely wiped out; and the other in Harlington, the adjoining village.

When local MP John McDonnell praised the Climate Camp as the most important event to have taken place for decades in the fight against Heathrow expansion, both meetings, packed with local residents, burst into spontaneous applause.

The mood of the meetings was so different to those held here just a year ago. The general mood then was downbeat: a feeling that the airport and the authorities always get their way and that the fight would ultimately be in vain. People here had given up, conceded that the runway was inevitable, and were now just protesting to make a point, not to win.

But now feelings have changed. Where people once felt resigned, now there was a belief that we might, just might, win. That against the might of BAA, of industry, of Government, we stood a chance. Make no mistake; the Climate Camp was the reason for their change of mood. John McDonnell, who had spent time at the Camp, said it had turned Heathrow into an international iconic struggle against climate change. Heathrow residents now know they are not alone.

You could sense that the people of the villages felt, probably for the first time, that they were part of a worldwide movement that even the power of the aviation industry cannot stop. It's going to be one hell of a fight...

Women climate activists blockade the Department for Transport

Women's DfT blockade

A group of female climate activists have blockaded the Department for Transport in protest at the Government's transport policies, which are catapulting us towards climate change.

The action came in response to the Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly confirming the government's intentions to build a third runway and a sixth terminal at Heathrow and coincided with the opening of their first 'consultation' exhibition.

Aviation industry strategists: we’re losing the war

Steve Dunne, the director of The Brighter Group in Britain - which advises the aviation industry on communications strategy – has warned that the aviation industry that it risks sinking to pariah status akin to cigarette manufacturers in the U.S.

Dunne cited the Camp for Climate Action as an example of how climate activists are winning the PR war, saying, “The next generation will be unbelievably green ... (and will) end up hating us if we don't do something about it."

Tom Ambrose, director general of the European Regional Airlines Association, claimed that although airlines only produce 2 percent of global CO2, most people think the figure is up to three times that figure. Unfortunately he forgot to factor the radiative forcing multiplier of 2.7 times into his calculation - making 'most people' a damn site closer to the mark than his figure was.

Camp for Climate Action - 1,727 stop and searches

Camp for Climate Action

Anyone visiting the Camp for Climate Action last month might be forgiven for calling the policing a little 'over the top'.

Called to account by the Green Party's Jenny Jones, Sir Ian Blair, head honcho of the Metropolitan Police, wrote a letter which manages to avoid answering any of the difficult questions about police brutality, unlawful detention, or just why 'Operation Hargood' cost £7 million.

He does, however, reveal that the total number of searches during the week was 1,727, of which 230 were conducted under anti-terrorism legislation. Quite what the unlucky 13% were up to that made them so specially terror-istic remains to be seen, as does whether those frisked by over-eager Bobbies felt it was "entirely reasonable" to use such legislation against peaceful protesters...

BAA injunction over!

At 00:01 Saturday morning, the BAA injunction passed away in its sleep.

Plane Stupid would like to say just one thing:

Thanks for the free publicity!