Really Sciency

Visit my other blog 'Really Sciency' looking at Climate Science and its portrayal, misrepresentation and denial in the media.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Not Like This!

A piece in the UK Guardian from climate activist Bradley Day shows how NOT to get people on side when it comes to taking action against climate change.

After being found guilty along with 20 others of conspiring to shut down the Ratcliffe-on-Soar coal power station but escaping jail sentences he claims that "If a jury that received extensive education on climate change could not vindicate the Ratcliffe activists, then who will?"

On paper I imagine I would be his ideal juror. I doubt that I would learn too much that I am not already aware of form the 'extensive education' that the jury received. I am interested in climate science and accept what the main authorities, like the Royal Society, say on the matter, and I believe it is past time that we should be taking effective action to prevent and mitigate the effects that the science predict. But I to would have been amongst the unanimous guilty verdict if I had been called as a juror.

I am not against protests. I think there should be more and more widespread protests against inaction and more campaigning against inaction and the adoption of energy generation that has less or zero green house gas emission. I might even be part of any such actions.

But I can not condone the stated objective of their actions - to shut down a power station. We all need power for our modern lifestyles. We may agree that we need to change the source of that power with immediacy but whole communities rely on that power NOW. It supplies their homes, amenities, schools, care homes, hospitals etc. While some of these have emergency procedures in place for power cuts most do not.  Bradley Day has sadly misjudged the majority of people if he thinks this is a way to win hearts, minds and support. By all means campaign, educate and yes, even protest, but not like this.


  1. I'm a sometime civil disobedient and I'd find it hard to acquit too. Bradley seems to have lost sight of the argument that lurks behind skepticism. It's the argument that goes "Yes but we have to pump CO2 into the atmosphere because we need x" x doesnt have to be a power station , it can be aircraft or F1 motor cars, or a bloke chopping down trees to build a road. Bradley couldnt have picked a worse target for that argument to gain traction . Every juror uses electricity. I also feel 'educating the jury' doesnt play well.
    Now if Bradley had stopped the British Grand Prix say, I figure he's more likely to get sympathy because the argument "yes but we need motor racing" doesn't have the same resonance.

  2. I agree with your logic, but being a big F1 fan I think I would be even more outraged if that was cancelled, than my own power was cut!

    Actually F1 cars are very efficient in their own way,and most of the carbon foot print doesn't come from the actual racing but the global transport of teams and equipment.

    What did outrage me most about this trial is that it is clear Bradley and his ilk with their fundamentalist form of environmentalism are completely out of touch with they very people that are needed to drive the action and legislation to combat climate change.

  3. I like F1 too, but it has no utility value. By focussing on the really big emitters the current crop of direct activists are missing the point, and that is to demonstrate. Even if they'd closed down Ratcliffe-on-Soar for a month it wouldn't have made a mark on the CO2ppm figure . We need to question what society really values in order to challenge the industrial system.

  4. Agreed, but I think it was probably seen more for the value of the publicity rather than any direct Co2 it might have saved.

    I also think they got more good publicity due to the collapse of that court case and the news that they had been infiltrated by police. Monbiot made some good points here;