December 2010


Metropolitan Police Special Branch (MPSB) to be amalgamated with the Anti-Terrorism Branch to form new Counter-Terrorist Branch
Statewatch News Online
http://database.statewatch.org/article.asp?aid=26721

Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)
http://www.soca.gov.uk

NETCU | National Extremism Tactical Coordination Unit
http://www.netcu.org.uk

National Intelligence Machinery
http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/national-intelligence-machinery

Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC)
http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/intelligence-and-security-committee-isc-annual-reports

Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure
http://www.cpni.gov.uk

National Counter Terrorism Security Office
http://www.nactso.gov.uk

Security Service
http://www.mi5.gov.uk

National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU)
http://www.acpo.police.uk/NCDE/NPOIU.aspx

National Co-ordinator for Domestic Extremism
http://www.acpo.police.uk/ncde

National Crime Squad [now merged with Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA)]

and how many others, no one knows anything about.  Mark Stone / Kennedy could have belonged to any other that or, another one completely. But a large about of tax-payers money was spent in dealing with peaceful people.  No guns, bomb or chemical weapons in sight.  This being the case, I guess a larger budget will increasingly be required.

Sunday Times: Tim Rayment & Jonathan Leake 19th Dec 2010

A police officer spent seven years undercover living as a hippie and environmental activist to infiltrate peaceful protest groups

He drank with them, he climbed with them, he even seemed to love them and was loved in return. But Mark “Flash” Stone was living a double life as perhaps the most deeply embedded undercover police officer in Britain.
Questions are being asked this weekend as to what the police officer achieved in seven years, living at the taxpayers’ expense as a hippie and environmental activist. He infiltrated protest groups that were mainly peaceful in nature, moved in with them and travelled to Iceland and all over Europe.
His double existence ended when friends discovered documents showing his true identity, leaving a trail of emotional wreckage and a sense of bewilderment that the authorities should invest so much time for a seemingly modest reward.
Stone — real name Mark Kennedy — was among 114 people arrested last year on the eve of a planned invasion of a power station. The aim was to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar in Nottinghamshire for a week, preventing the release of 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide from one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in Europe.
He drove the car on the initial reconnaissance and even hired a 7½-ton truck for the main event. But charges against him were dropped, leaving 20 others to be convicted last week of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass.
With his long hair, tattoos and body piercings, nobody suspected that their comrade in saving the planet was a detective. But Stone is thought to be a member of the Special Demonstration Squad (SDS), a secret unit known as “the Hairies” because officers can wear their hair as they please.
According to one former member, only married officers are accepted into the unit, as they are less likely to “go native” if they have families to return to.
Called “Flash” because he had more money than other activists, Stone became a familiar face in Nottingham, hanging about at the Sumac centre, a vegan cafe and social club for people concerned with human and animal rights, the environment and pacifism. He lived with activists in the city.
His former friends say he was vehemently anti-police, a pose slightly at odds with a community more inclined to organise workshops on what they perceive as “bad policing” than to fight about it.
For the takeover of the power station, the protesters drew up health-and-safety plans and a rule that there would be no violence. They were to stop the conveyor carrying coal into the boilers, climb the 653ft chimney and unfurl protest banners.
The workers would be given leaflets reassuring them that jobs could be created by greener energy, while costlier but cleaner gas-fired stations would come on line to supply the National Grid, keeping the nation’s lights on.
Eon, the owner of the station, knew about the action five days beforehand and could have sought an injunction. Instead, the protesters were allowed to assemble and were then arrested.
Stone was unmasked as a suspected police officer 18 months later, just before the trial. Confronted by six friends with paperwork showing his real name, he admitted being in the Metropolitan police. The six published a short account of his confession in the green media, to general disbelief.
“Look at the bloke,” said one activist. “What did they do, send him from Hendon [police training centre] to spend five years smoking rollies and living in a tent? It boggles the mind that he’s spent so long doing basically f***-all, expending so much effort in terms of debate, slow, dull legwork and campaigning — and still be thinking, ‘Aha, fooling these oh-so-dangerous activists brilliantly’.”
Last week two police forces confirmed Stone’s status to The Sunday Times. “The individual is a Met officer,” said Nottinghamshire police. “He’s an undercover officer,” said the Metropolitan police. “We can’t say more.”
Scotland Yard refused requests for information about the SDS, a unit of the Met with a remit to prevent disorder. It was set up in 1968 after violence at anti-Vietnam war protests.
An insight into its methods came this year, when an SDS officer from the 1990s described his work. For four years the officer, Peter Daley, spent one day a week with his wife and family and six as a hate-filled Trotskyist on the wrong side of a riot shield. He was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and won an out-of-court settlement.
Stone has disappeared from Nottingham, leaving friends in shock. One said: “Whatever else Mark is, I do believe he had genuine feelings for those he had meaningful relationships with in the last seven years.”
The friend added: “I don’t believe he could be with such beautiful, wonderful people and not feel love.”
The protesters will be sentenced next month.

the Ratcliffe trial, should have concluded today. However, the sentencing of the 20 defendants has been deferred to early January.  Yet more hanging about

As the UN climate talks finish in Cancun, and fail once again to come up with any legally binding framework to reduce emissions, the British legal system is still upholding business as usual. This can’t continue. Burning coal has no future.

We are twenty of the 114 who were targets of the biggest pre-emptive arrest in UK history, as part of the increasing drive to stifle real action on climate change. We planned not only to stop carbon emissions from Ratcliffe but to be part of a much wider movement for global social justice. Dealing with climate change means looking at its root causes and we need to question why the profits of corporations such as e.on are being prioritised over people on the front line of our changing climate and the protection of our children’s futures.

In the 3 weeks we’ve been on trial over 17,000 people have died from the effects of climate change, species have continued to disappear and a few energy CEOs have continued to line their pockets. It’s the poorest and most vulnerable communities, those least responsible for this crisis, who are being hit the hardest.

Taking action on climate change is not an act of moral righteousness, but of self-defence. History is full of ordinary people who have acted to protect their fundamental rights and we need a strong movement of people doing just that. We want to reiterate our support for everyone fighting for climate justice.

We want to thank everyone for the amazing amount of solidarity we have received during this process from within Nottingham and beyond. It has been absolutely inspiring.  We are keen to publish more information, but obviously need to wait until sentencing on Friday to do this.

Our supporters have been doing an amazing job in making a blog about us and you can check out our website.

http://ratcliffeontrial.org

Twenty climate activists who planned to shut down one of Britain’s most polluting power stations for a week were found guilty of conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass today.

The activists were among 114 people arrested in a dawn raid on Easter Monday last year in a widely criticised policing operation that saw officers smashing their way into a school in Nottingham. It was the biggest pre-emptive arrest in British history. Twenty of those arrested faced a crown court trial which opened last month and ended today. The activists openly accepted they wanted to force plant owners Eon to safely shut down the power station for a week in an effort to stop 150,000 tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere – but they said they weren’t guilty of a crime because they were acting out necessity due to the lack of an adequate response to climate change by corporations and politicians. This comes as the 16th UN Climate Change talks end in Cancun, where once again governments have failed to build a legally binding strategy to cut emissions.

Speaking after the verdict one of the defendants, Clare Whitney, said:

“During this trial we have heard from people on the front line of our changing climate, and from a company that is still burning the most dirty form of fossil fuel for their economic benefit. These worlds are not compatible. Taking action is not an issue of moral righteousness but an act of self-defence. If we’re to stand a chance of avoiding irreversible climate change we’ve got to realise that to bring about a better world we’ll need to do it ourselves.”

Defendant Chris Kitchen said

“We are in solidarity with all those around the world fighting for climate and social justice. Together we need to stop the root causes of climate change, we need to stop profit being put before people. It’s big business and politicians are that are the real criminals and we will not stand by as we are robbed of our future.”

Dan Glass, another defendant in the case, said:

“This ruling won’t stop emissions. But the huge support we have received from the people of Nottingham and internationally, does demonstrate that public opinion is increasingly turning against the liberties that governments are taking with our future.”

The court had earlier heard that a team of protesters would have pressed the emergency stop buttons on the coal conveyors which feed the boilers, while another team would have climbed the inside of the chimney before abseiling into the flues to prevent the plant re-opening for a week, saving 150,000 tonnes of CO2. Six defendants took to the witness stand. One, Ben Stewart, told the jury: “we did this to save human lives. I can’t tell you if the lives we would have saved would have been my relatives or your relatives, but they would have been somebody’s relatives.” All defendants spoke of huge amount of community engagement they have carried out to raise the issue of action on climate change, whilst still seeing emissions continuing to rise unabated.

The defendants also called a number of internationally renowned expert witnesses. They included Professor James Hansen, acclaimed as the world’s leading climate scientist. He told the jury: “It doesn’t surprise me that young people are angry when they know that politicians are lying to them.” When challenged by the judge as to the measurable effects of the defendants’ proposed action, Hansen noted that the action could have prevented one, if not more, species from becoming extinct. Dr Ian Roberts, Professor of Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Medicine detailed to the court the real and imminent threat to health posed by climate change, saying we risk a ‘generational genocide’ as we ‘sleep walk into a nightmare’. Dr Roberts told the court that at least 150,000 people a year were dying as a result of man-made climate change.

Former local MP Alan Simpson also appeared as a witness for the defence. In his written testimony he said: ‘Climate Change protestors 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.’ Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP told the court politicians had failed in their duty to protect the public from climate change.

Ends

For more, contact 07834324840

Notes:

1. The conspiracy to shut down Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station in April 2009 is different from the Great Climate Swoop of October 2009 (http://climatecamp.org.uk/actions/climate-swoop-2009)

All 20 defendants are found guilty of Conspiracy to Commit Aggravated Trespass at Ratcliffe-on_Soar Power Station in April 2009.

They are required to come back to court at 12noon on Friday for sentencing.

All in Nottingham Crown Court again at 10am Tuesday.  After the His Honour Judge Teare made his directions, the jury were first sent out on Friday.  They came back to court a couple of times to ask questions. After the weekend, they came back yesterday [Monday] to continue their deliberations.  Again a couple more questions, but it was becoming clear that they were quite divided. At 3.40pm yesterday, they were looking a bit tired and sent a note to the Judge, asking if they could go home for the day. They had been considering their verdict for 10 hours up to then. The Judge then told them that when they came back today … he would accept a majority verdict.

Today [Tuesday], they retired again at 10.13am.  At 11.10am they returned after a total of 11.07hours.

The clerk read out the indictment:

20x names. are charged as follows, That they:

Conspired to Commit Aggravated Trespass, Contrary to section 1(1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977.

Verdict – GUILTY. [for all the defendants]

Strangely, the verdict was unanimous, when you consider that the judge had said he would accept a majority after their earlier difficulty in reaching a decision.

The Judge said that he was not going to hand down prison sentences now.  However, after hearing of some that had previous convictions he said he may be considering suspended sentences for those. Others were of previous ‘good character’ might be receiving community punishment orders, to do unpaid work. He went on, that this trial had cost the country a vast amount of money.  As their actions have been found to have been unnecessary, then I don’t see why they can’t contribute.

All are required to return to court at 12noon on Friday 17th December.

Personally. I don’t think that their case could have been better expressed.  Having sat through the whole case, I was privileged in hearing the expert evidence that was of some substance and alarming. After all that exposure to the facts, then if the jury can’t see that urgency of a need for action, then I am of course pessimistic in how on earth we are going to convince the wider public of the need for action.

Perhaps we are all doomed 😦

I have added my best wishes to all the defendants throughout the progress of this case. As it turns out … fuck all use my good wishes were. I am sad for the defendants in loosing and being found guilty, but I am also sad for my own health and everybody else’s. If people are deterred from taking more direct action on these issues, nothing else substantial is going on.  As the recent events at the Cancún climate summit in Mexico have clearly demonstrated, if we leave it up to companies and politicians to act, then we will be waiting a very long time. Certainly past the tipping points we heard so much about. Beyond which we might not be able to do very much about our demise.

Will the last one alive on the planet, kindly turn the lights out!

Statement from the Defendants
http://ratcliffeontrial.org/2010/12/statement-from-the-defendants

Press Release
http://ratcliffeontrial.org/2010/12/press-release-activists-found-guilty-in-ratcliffe-coal-climate-trial

Ratcliffe on Trial Blog
http://ratcliffeontrial.org

10.00am and all back in court yet again. Sitting in Nottingham Crown Court, His Honour Judge Teare reminded the jury that although the press was full over the weekend, of the progress [or lack of it], of the talks taking place in Cancún climate summit in Mexico, they were to discount all of it.  He says the verdict they reach is to be on the evidence introduced here, during this trial.

Today was much of a re-run of friday.  The jury retired at 10.22am. Then, at 12.33 pm the court reconvened to answer a further jury question concerning the burden of proof. As with all trials, the judge reiterated that it is the duty of the prosecution to make the jury sure that the defendants were unreasonable in their actions, rather than the duty of the defence to make the jury sure that they were reasonable.

In common with the defendants, a few of us hopped from one foot to the other, just hoping. Then, at 3.46pm this afternoon the jury came back into the court room, looking tired, and passed another note to the judge asking to go home for the day.

Before they left, the judge said that he would now accept a majority verdict – this means that he will accept a verdict that 10 or more jurors are agreed on.

Adding friday and today, the jury will have now had some 10 hours of deliberations.

The case continues more  …… onwards.

Ratcliffe on Trial Blog    http://ratcliffeontrial.org/blog

** Waiting for the jury to decide the matter means more time, wondering and waiting. As before, I would like to offer my very best wishes to all involved in this enterprise and wish all the very best of luck in receiving the just outcome you deserve.  Tash xx

His Honour Judge Teare concludes his summing up and directions. He reminds the jury that from the evidence presented, you might conclude that climate change is happening, it is human driven and the associated effects of it are as has been described. The burning of fossil fuels is mainly responsible and that coal is the biggest contributor.  Further Ratcliffe is the 2nd largest producer of such emission in the UK.

The Judge suggests to the jury that to get any action on the issue the choice is between democratic methods, the difficulties of which have been presented Vs. the necessity of action.

So was it to save someone’s life on the planet or not? Please return a verdict on which you are all agreed. A majority verdict is not acceptable in this case.

At 10.20am, the jury retires to consider their verdict.

Having spent the day deliberating, the court was reconvened twice during the day in order to answer jury questions. The first concerned the details of evidence given by former Nottingham MP Alan Simpson about EU directives. The second concerned defining exactly which lives the defendants needed to be protecting in order to justify their actions being necessary in law. The judge explained that the lives did not need to be local to the power station or Nottingham, but could be anywhere in the world. The trial has heard factual evidence from people suffering from the worst excesses of climate change, in locations ranging from Hull to Bangladesh.

The jury will return to court at 10am on Monday

The case continues … progresses … and continues a bit more…

Miss Felicity Gerry for the prosecution begins her speech to the jury. She says the actions of these defendants was not necessary but unreasonable and hence criminal in character. Throughout much of the trial, the evidence and facts have been agreed by both sides.

On the 13 April 2009, police prevented a large scale aggravated trespass that was to have taken place at Ratcliffe Power Station.  It was not necessary to carry out this action since in a free and democratic society, many other methods are available. Direct action was not a necessity but a choice, a main object of which was to highlight issues and actions to the media. You’ve heard that the action cost £15,000.  I ask you to image what that money could have bought in public engagement. An iPhone application, celebrity endorsements, an air ticket to Cancún, Mexico.

She agrees that the science presented was all correct. There is little dispute that the world is getting warmer and that the causes are man-made.  It’s not for the jury to decide if these changes are in fact man-made or a produce of the natural cycles of the earth. The public need to be reasonably informed, but these defendants chose not to take this course.

Miss Gerry says that this action was not about saving carbon emissions but about publicity and hence was not reasonable or necessary.  There was no necessity for this action. She sits down.

For the defence, Mr Edward Rees QC begins his speech to the jury.  He says, the principle issues in this case, it’s about if the defendants conduct was unlawful. Further, whether in the absence of any violence on their part, their actions were criminal. We say that their intended conduct was necessary in all the circumstances. It is for the prosecution to prove that their conduct was not necessary to gain their conviction. This is the burden of proof and is so in all trials. Our law does make an allowance for necessity in action.

Mr Rees mentions the Suffragette movement.  Recounting a conversation with prosecution counsel earlier, she had said that those defendants were a ‘load of wimps’ next to the Suffragette example. They would have thrown themselves at the chimneys with skirts billowing!!  He invites the jury to remember that this was happening not so long ago. It seems ridiculous to us now that women didn’t have the vote.  Looking back, future generations would look kindly on these people and their actions.

A large and expensive police operation that must have been planned much earlier and must have been intelligence lead in character.  Therefore, with this advance notice, why didn’t the police or the company obtain an injunction to prevent any action? You’ve heard about the police breaking down doors of the school and refusing people the facility to repair and tidy the premises. A complete inversion on what you might have expected.

Returning to the core word ‘reasonableness’.  Action need to be proportionate to the threat perceived.  This of course will vary to the circumstances.  The jury will want to know, what is the test of this?  If attacked, defensive action would be self-defence and thus a person would be not guilty.  Likewise, if a person thought he was going to be attacked and that thought was in the circumstances, reasonable.  Again, in those circumstances, he would be not guilty.

Mr Rees says that the prosecution say that the action was not necessary since the defendants knew emissions wouldn’t have been saved.  This hare was set running by Mr Smith, the Ratcliffe Station Manager in his evidence.  They produce no evidence about this. The fact was that coal stations were already running.  So it is in fact true that the more efficient [if expensive] gas-fired might be the ones to have been started up to compensate.  Thus, the defendants did reasonably believe that a net saving of emissions would have resulted from their action.  They did believe this and hence their actions were reasonable.

Consider the evidence of Dr. Hassen from NASA, contending that due to emissions, species were being lost and his descriptions of  human distress. The Stern Review refers to economic and social costs and being the authorities in their subject that they are, the defendants reasonably believed this. All the expert evidence in this trial only adds to the weight of evidence and concern. All seams to suggest that immediate action is required.  Amazingly, we are now burning more coal than in 1998.  In 2007, Ratcliffe Power Station emitted 9.3 million and a year later in 2008 had increased to 9.9 tons.

Right at the heart of this case and the necessity of action is the notion of ‘tipping points’.  There remains no agreement on what’s to be done.  There is simply no political will to reduce emissions,

The prosecutions idea of knocking on doors to convey their concern, simply to inform the public locally … it’s nowhere near enough to deal with such continued emissions. The prosecution says they haven’t engaged with the political process.  But they have!  They have done it all.  No political change. No international agreement. ‘Business as usual’ remains the position. The defendants therefore remain pessimistic about any change without the need to deliver a good kick.  He ridicules the prosecutions idea that going to Copenhagen to argue with American Republicans or to create a catchy slogan to illustrate climate change to the Chinese would have changed anything.

Energy Companies have a legal duty to their shareholders to maximise profits. This is not balanced by government insisting on emission reductions from their activities. Profit being the prime motive in their operations, energy companies including E-on, have abandoned carbon capture experiments because they say they’re uneconomic.

Mr Rees says he has some experience of coal as he and his wife come from the South Wales valleys. The slag heaps are no longer there and those communities have gone.  But in opposition to what you might perceive as a lack of the coal industry production, coal burning at Ratcliffe and others is in fact rising. Cheap imported coal is what is now getting burned. With international politics, Middle East situations and oil price rising etc … coal burning will continue to rise.  The commercial imperative is driving the market.  ‘Business as usual’.

In contrast to politicians rhetoric and the associated lack of action, these people actually did something about it.  Without targets being set, there is simply no foreseeable action to be taken by governments and companies. The limited progress of the conferences at Cancún, Mexico happening now is showing us this. These defendants are genuinely concerned.  If that is so, it is proper to think you have to do something about it. Alternatively, is it in our experience of society that we should trust our betters or political representatives to take actions for us?

People had tried so many democratic means to express their concerns. But ‘business as usual’ has continued.  Would they have achieved more reductions in emissions had they tried any other means?

This was not the jolly that the prosecution have tried thought this trial to suggest.

Mr Rees has finished all presentations for the defence, and sits down.

His Honour Judge Teare now sums up the case for the jury. He started by saying that on waking up on that day and hearing on the radio of the arrest of the 114 people at Iona School in Nottingham … I wondered what poor devil is going to have to try this case  Grins all round again.

You the jury are to decide the fact of the case, I am the judge and you must follow my directions on the law. The prosecution must prove the case referring to the indictment. Now, there is no dispute that they were going to commit aggravated trespass. But, they say, they were justified in that action by necessity.  If you conclude, the defendants believed this, even mistakenly, then, they are not guilty.  They must act responsibly and proportionately in all the circumstances.  In deciding that, a crime may have been committed, but consider if their actions were reasonable and proportionate in preventing harm.

The case it to be considered by you against each of the defendants, individually.  Reach a verdict on which you are all agreed on all.  But if you can’t then we go through a process for each of them.

The Judge mentions that the trial is taking place at an inopportune time, with much press discussion of the Cancún, Mexico talks.  You are to put all that out of your mind and try the defendant on the evidence presented in this case.

With respect to the defendants ‘No Comment’ replies, during police interviews, the Judge says this should not be held against them. They had solicitors advice contained in the ‘bust card’ that all had read.  As this advises ‘No Comment’ replies, he says the jury should not draw any inference from that silence.

Judge then went on to an extensive reminder of the facts of the case.

The jury will retire tomorrow ….. and hence the case continues.

Mr Rees for the defence says that there will be no more ‘live’ evidence presented.

A number of expert reports, summaries on previous evidence, and written submissions are read to the jury.  These are presented in some detail with a view to demonstrate the effects and advance of climate change.  Reference being made to the effects on the atmosphere, oceans and the ecosphere at large.  The consequences are inferred and reported on human health, on populations and migrations. Reference is further made to many of the climate effect to be expected, here in Nottinghamshire.

Additional witness statements are read to the jury.  The Judge directs them that they should be treated with the same weight as if they had been calling in person to court and that they were under oath.

These include more expert evidence on climate change effects. A rather frightening statement  from a resident of Boscastle in Cornwall.  In 2004 the site of one of the worst [and sudden] floods in recent history. A prime example of a ‘concentrated precipitation events’ previously referred to as becoming more likely by Dr. Geoff Meaden.   There were other statement from people who had personal experiences and suffered other extreme weather event in the UK and the effects on their lives at the time and since.

Concluding this section of the evidence, there was a statement from a resident of the Tuvalu Islands in the Pacific, these are loosing land to the ocean rather rapidly, and describing their environmental alarm and the effects on their lives, society’s cohesion and their economy. Then another statement is read from a resident of Tamil Nadu, India. He describes the impact of coastal erosion and influence on his livelihood as fishing declines.

The court rises early.  Closing speeches will be started tomorrow

The case continues  …. And is now in closing stages ….

Environment Agency Boscastle Flood Findings
http://www.boscastlecornwall.org.uk/Regenminutes/regenfindings.htm

Tuvalu Islands
http://www.tuvaluislands.com

Tuvalu and Global Warming
http://www.tuvaluislands.com/warming.htm

Tamil Nadu : Global warming, climate change pose threat to coral reefs in Gulf of Mannar
http://www.thehindu.com/news/states/tamil-nadu/article419957.ece

The defence continued their case. Mr Rees called a further two defendants to the witness box.

LH is a marine biologist. She described how she had observed dying coral reefs in the Middle East and Australia; this is, she says, undoubtedly due to ocean acidification and warmer water as a result of increased carbon emissions. This has a devastating effect on the eco-systems which rely on the coral reefs, as well as the local economy.

She described her energy and climate outreach work with Greenpeace in Australia and other organisations in the UK, educating the ‘ordinary members of the public’ that the prosecution repeatedly had claimed that defendants had not adequately engaged with and ‘abandoned’ in favour of the secret direct action that they had done, to close down the power station.

Her main role in the action was to be one of the lead climbers in the Green team, whose task it was to ascend the chimney of Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station. Her extensive and professionally recognised climbing experience gave her confidence that all safety procedures were in place for that part of the action.

Cross-examined by the prosecution, Miss Gerry, continued to ask why, instead of educating people, LH had supposedly avoided taking steps to educate the general public. She responded that it wasn’t an ‘either/or’ – it was truly possible to continue education at the same time as planning an action, of which the sole purpose was to stop carbon emissions. [Ratcliffe Blog]

++

Mr Rees calls the next defendant Mr BS. He was initially asked by the defence to respond to a number of the prosecution’s queries in her initial opening statement about whether defendants had spoken to civil society groups like the Women’s Institute in order to raise awareness of climate change. BS was able to state that he had in fact worked with the Women’s Institute, along with a number of other charitable organisations and unions, in order to raise awareness of climate change for the UN climate summit in Nairobi 2006.

When asked why he had decided to take part in the Ratcliffe action, BS said that the World Health Organisation report estimating that 150,000 people die per year due to the effects of climate change. For him, this is a human rights issue; cheap fuel is used to cut corners saying “it’s too expensive [for energy companies and governments] not to let these people die.”

He continued to explain using Dr. Jim Hansen’s statistic that a species is made extinct every 6 weeks due to climate change. Looking at the jury, BS asserted that “we don’t have the right to eradicate species our kids will never see.”

After lunch BS is recalled, to continue his evidence. Turning to the press release, he’s asked what it’s primary purpose was? Although the main objective of the action was to cut CO2 emissions, he thinks that it’s likely that there would be a lot of media interest.  It would probably be a main story. He had been responsible for earlier drafts of the press release and included much about climate change issues at large.

The content was a ‘work in progress’ and had to be edited further to take all the participant views into account.  It needed to be a democratic document. Reference is made to E-on building a new coal-fired power station at Kingsnorth and peoples opposition to this. E-on had pulled out of the project and carbon capture there due to escalating cost of compliance with government conditions.

He agreed he was a press officer for the enterprise and part of the Green team intending to climb the chimney.

Cross-Examining Miss Gerry says, in climbing the chimney, climbers would go up first with photographer, video cameraman and media liaison [him up next].  Taking him through the list of equipment he had with him including camcorder and the microwave downlink with compass.  He agreed that this was all his. She that went on to conclude that the object of the action was thus clearly a media stunt. Nothing to do with emissions and necessity action at all, was it? BS says he wanted to film the progress of the action, to illustrate its non violent nature.  He thought this might have been necessary and useful, since at an earlier Climate Camp at Kingsnorth power Startion, Vernon Coaker MP a Home Office Minister at the time had alleged violence against the police by those in attendance in the vicinity of the camp.  On a later investigation, it turned out that police injuries had turned out to include a graze shine, when climbing a fence, toothache and bee stings etc.  He was interested in gathering evidence in case of other such untruths. The downlink provided a means of transmitting the information ahead of any confiscation by the police.

Minister Vernon Coaker apologises for misleading MPs over police injuries
Home Office minister says sorry to parliament after Guardian reveals most police injuries from climate protest were from insects or heat
John Vidal, environment editor
Monday 15 December 2008

Moving on to the press release, again, BS agrees he was involved. She takes him through it again, to the passage including reference to the section about Ed Miliband MP the then Energy Secretary. The object was to put pressure on the minister? He say his object was mainly to prevent emissions from this power station.

Miss Gerry continues to suggest that this was part of a campaign against E-on.  But he says Ratcliffe is the 2nd most polluting power station in the UK and if it was owned by another company, then that would have been a stated objective. It doesn’t matter who owned it.

Yet again, he has to tell Miss Gerry as she continues to suggest this was a media stunt, that [as all the times before] that the needs for action are immediate and this opportunity was taken to reduce such a large amount of emissions that could not be achieved by any other means. He had been to Copenhagen and was very disillusioned at the complete lack of progress and continues to feel that immediate action is required.

As ever Miss Gerry asserted that instead of the action, BS and other defendants should have considered other action to ‘get the message across’, such as a slogan or illustration of ‘the earth wrapped in a blanket’, to get the attention of the masses. BS refuted this, stating that there was no slogan which would stop 150,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. He pointed out that the easily understandable image of the earth wrapped in a blanket, getting hotter, was used by Hansen in Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, a film that attracted millions of viewers, won Oscars, but has failed to contribute significantly to emissions reduction. Global emissions of CO2 continue to rise, as BS pointed out.

His evidence summed up the experiences he had, as a climate change campaigner, which led him to decide to circumvent the more conventional channels in which he has been involved for over a decade.

The trial continues … progresses and continues a bit more …

Mr Rees for the defences calls Prof. Ian Roberts. He is Professor of Epidemiology and Public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.  Widely published and contributed to issues on health issues and debates worldwide.  Active research interests in the links between fossil fuel energy use, climate change and human health, contributing work to the World Health Organization WHO.

Accumulating scientific evidence suggests that man made climate change, primarily resulting from the burning of fossil fuels, has had and will continue to have serious adverse effects on the health of human populations.

Asked about his health estimates of what are the consequences of global climate change, he says in 2000 150,000 years of life lost, a measure of premature deaths each year due to such changes. Together with 5.5 million disability adjusted life years because of injury, disability and incapacity. Taken together, these amount to a generic measure of human suffering.  These measures are certain to increase, evidenced by the clearly increased incidence of diseases aggravated by climate change.

When trying to understand the evidence, a first step would be to make a classification of diseases that are sensitive to climate change can be divided thus:
•    Malnutrition
•    Diarrhoea
•    Deaths due to flooding
•    Drought and its consequences
•    Temperature related Cardio-vascular diseases

Dr Roberts mentions the difficulty in predicting extremes. Pointing to the European heatwave of 2003 that directly resulted in 70,000 excess deaths in France.

The second step involves estimating from the science literature how changes in climate factors, influence the occurrence of disease.  There is much uncertainty here, taking into account the surprises of extreme events [like 2003] probably resulting in vastly underestimating the consequences.

The third step involves making estimates of the effects of man made greenhouse gases on human health. Again, hardly an exact science, but the links between climate changes and food production, air and water quality and hence human health have all strengthened.

These global changes are resulting in mass migrations of people, the consequences of which are directly leading to lack of food, shelter and water. Land areas are being rendered uninhabitable and such mass migrations are leading to war and conflict, all clearly detrimental to populations’ health.

Dr Roberts continues that climate changes are leading to higher incidents of diarrhoea, bacterial and viral infections, food poisonings and malaria. As global temperatures have increased, the spread of cover for malaria gets wider. All accentuated further by extreme weather events. The effects on food yields are already apparent, and that they have a disproportionate effect on those areas that are already suffering food insecurities.

Population migrations due to sea level rises are on the increase . For example, look at the pressures on Bangladesh and Pacific island populations.  Migrations and food riots leading to violence, obviously has health implication for personal injuries and death.

Moving onto a short discussion about bio-fuels.  Plant crops grown to produce ethanol fuels for both vehicles and power stations. The priorities in land use for these over previous crop growing has a direct effect on food prices and is leading to crop displacements.  Problems occur in eco-systems if species can’t adapt to new conditions, leading to life distress. Many species of plants and animals cannot adapt to the unprecedented rapidity of man made climate change. It can be expected to find effects such as species extinction occurring and in a worst case the eco-systems complete collapse on which life and human existence depends.

Many species have areas of presence and timing. For example it matters when plants flower and the availability of insects of the right sorts to enable pollination to be effected. Thus, concern about the interdependence of species and their actions, within the ‘web of life’.

Concluding, Dr Roberts says that there is a public health imperative in reducing and in fact stopping, CO2 emissions.  There is in fact a public health emergency and we are sleepwalking into disaster.  There is and will be much increase in interpersonal violence: a generation genocide.

Miss Gerry for the prosecution cross-examines. She has no dispute about Dr Roberts evidence.  She asks in relation to public health emergencies .. what do you do about it?  He says he publishes research, he teaches and continues research on energy use and influences on human health.  She seeks to get him to explain how to go about changing public attitudes.  He again says research and publishing, explains these concerns to the media, Lancett etc. The dissemination of information to raise the public awareness.

Dr Ian Roberts, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
http://www.lshtm.ac.uk/prospectus/profiles/roberts.html

Mr Rees calls his second witness today, one of the defendants Mr BD

By way of introduction, says he’s had involvements with various climate issue related charities. Has been a volunteer researcher for Greenpeace. Since 2005 has been doing some research of human impacts on climate changes and their effects.  An obvious example being regions like Darfur and its associated water stress.

Mr Rees [in dealing with prosecution continued accusations], what efforts at public engagement has BD had previously made?  He replies he has made talks to a variety of groups including,
•    Rotary club
•    6th Form groups
•    Christian Youth Groups
•    Factories
•    Parish council within Oxfordshire
•    Vale of White Horse District Council organised meeting, inviting his local MP Ed Vaizey and the Manager of the Didcot power Station.

Moving onto the intended action, why did you go?  BD replies that he was aware in 2009 of the lack of agreement being achieved at Copenhagen.  The collapse of any post-Kyoto agreements. Thus he wanted to take part in some direct action himself to prevent coal-fired emissions because it did not seem to be happening by any other means. He became involved in the action from around January 2009. Initially the group only consisted of 5 people but within weeks has grown to over 100. BD say he was much involved in the planning of these operations. Safety being a prime consideration. He helped to shop for essential equipment. Produced documents already discussed in evidence.

Mr Rees goes to the ‘Environment Show Stoppers’ leaflet. Agreeing that it was a sham, BD says he designed and printed this. It contained directions and preparations for the action.  He also helped with the ‘Important notice for those working at the power station’ leaflet.  Distributed to all involved in the action.  Included within this is mention of the required transition to a low carbon future. Reassuring existing staff about job creation in ‘green industries’.  Not just about wrecking their prospects for those already employed. BD say he had also dealt with the ‘operational plan’, distributed to the Green team, whose task it was to ascend the chimney and to safely deal with all eventualities.

BD had been involved in briefings at the Iona School to help and ensure a ‘safe and effective’ action.  He added that it was a condition of those taking part that no violence would be shown to police in attendance or to power station staff.

Turning to the mobile phones, discovered at the School during the police raid, he agreed he had been involved with their organisation, adding relevant numbers and labels to ensure the right groups got the right phone. To explain which phones were for what purposes.

Miss Gerry rises for cross-examination. BD, if you took the trouble to engage with meeting in Oxfordshire, why didn’t you do this in Nottinghamshire? He replies that in this instance, out purpose was to simply stop CO2 emissions at Ratcliffe. He adds that his efforts in Oxfordshire, had been in a more optimistic time.  She continues with the notion that without public meetings in Nottinghamshire, he could have had no idea on what the effects of organising the action could be [thus still suggesting irresponsibility].

BD had made ‘no comment’ during interviews with the police. She says that you knew that police would have to respond, hence publicity for your action was intended for after your arrival. Thus, all was secret before. You could have said to police much of what we have learned during this trial. People of Nottinghamshire should have been informed through public meetings if you wanted to act responsibly.  BD says that the object of this exercise was to reduce carbon emissions from the 2nd largest coal-fired power station in the UK, Drax being the biggest.  It was owned by E-on, but that was a secondary concern.

Miss Gerry says, but you made no effort to thing of reasonable alternatives? He says but this action was reasonable. I say you made no investigations on what else could have been done in Nottinghamshire. He again disagrees saying much else had been done, but those at this action and many people in this locality for years previously.

Miss Gerry sits down very abruptly, without further acknowledgment. To all, it’s not obvious she’d finished!

Mr Rees re-examines: You’ve just been sneered at!  That criticism, was any of that fair?  BD says no, it wasn’t. We and others had tried at every stage to stop substantial CO2 emissions and had also taken other alternative actions and public engagements.

Witness is excused and court adjourns

After lunch, Mr Rees calls Dr Geoffrey Meaden now retired, recently been Principle Lecturer in the Department of Geographical and Life Science at Canterbury Christ Church University in Kent. Additionally, he provides consultancy to the United Nations. His specialties are specifically:
•    Biogeography – The study of the distribution of plants and animals around the planet.
•    Local physically geography of Kent, including coastal geography and water supplies in the region.
•    Geographical Information Systems [GIS]. Computer based mapping and analysis. Helpful in siting a variety of service and systems.

He says that there is an increasing body of evidence, backed by the Royal Society, to suggest that the world temperatures are significantly raised compared with the last 10,000 years. More recent rises are unprecedented in history.  Mr Rees says it cold outside, more snow and ice for a November in more than 70 years, can you help the jury [and the rest of us] why this is so if the planet is getting hotter?  Dr Meaden, I’m glad you asked me that  The current difference between sea and land temperatures are quite exaggerated, at the moment there is much evaporation.  This results when passing over colder lands, tuning to snow.  The point of this current weather forecast is of course to illustrate that climate change and weather are two different things.  Throughout seasons and years, we have allsorts of changes up and down a scale, but implied by the average trend, the planet is warming.

The use of coal is growing on a world-wide scale and now contributes about 40% of power generation and about 20% of the total carbon emissions.

There are a number of climate change indicators that help us qualify observations we’re looking at:

1.    Greenhouse gas emissions        rising exponentially
2.    Generally increasing temperatures    in 85% of the earth
3.    Drought heat waves & forest fires        becoming more frequent
4.    Rainfall                    concentrated precipitation events
5.    Severe storm events            rise in energy within storms
6.    Sea temperatures                increasing, but far more recently
7.    Ocean acidification                killing plankton base of marine web
8.    Sea level rise                increasing & more rapidly recently
9.    Polar ice cover                 25% reduction of arctic in 30 years
10.    Melting of glaciers                30% loss in volume in 40 years
11.    Day of snow [or ice] cover            Ski resorts season shortened
12.    Total length of growing season        increase can be both pos & neg
13.    Earlier leafing or flowering            can affect species feeding patterns
14.    Species migrations                changes in animal migration habits
15.    Increased human mortality            cover this in Dr Roberts evidence

During this listing, in noted Dr. Meaden said increasing or exponential rise and increase, lots.

Mr Rees then takes him onto the effects of climate change on sea levels.  As far as the UK is concerned, a rise of 1cm per year had been observed but this is increasing exponentially.

More locally, the Ratcliffe power station is located close to the confluence of the River Trent and River Soar.  There are several characteristics of the Trent basin making it particularly susceptible to flooding. Area has impervious rock structures.  Further, there are large areas of urbanised towns and cities. Again, these provide for larger areas of impervious structures from which vast amounts of ‘run off’ could be expected, rather than ground absorption.

Nottingham and area can expect that flooding will occur more frequently and such events will become more severe and problematic. A 1 in 100 year event, might result in 40% of the city flooded. We might not have to wait for 100 years for such an event, it might be next year or quite soon.  It is becoming more likely because of the rise in urbanisation, building on flood plains etc

Climate is moving to warmer summers and very wet winters that may include what I’ve called ‘concentrated precipitation events’.  These are likely to lead to severe flooding and more likely in prevalence. Insurance figures are showing these trends.  Flood defences are become more vital, but are going to be progressively more expensive to build or maintain as the heights required to deal with become progressively higher. As I said ocean level rises are accelerating.

The coast of Britain has a ‘shoreline management plan’.  Drawn up by local authorities and the Environment Agency and reviewed every couple of years.  But priorities have to be made in which areas are to be chosen for protection. Urban over rural etc .. But, loosing increasing areas of low lying farmland would thus result in diminishing food production.

Miss Gerry cross-examines.  Has anyone of the defendants in the dock asked you to come to Nottingham before.  No.  She then says what if the UK took measures to ‘go-eco’, what would that do to global changes you’ve described. Not very much!

Dr. Geoff Meaden   Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent
http://kentgreenparty.org/geoffmeaden.php

Later in the afternoon, Mr Rees for the defence now calls another of the defendants to the witness box. Mr OB. He has a doctorate in Prehistoric Landscape Archaeology. He say he first became concerted around 86-87 about climate change matters. His concern had been enlarged on reading ‘Heat; How to stop the Planet Burning’ – George Monbiot [2006],

Mr Rees says dealing with the prosecution usual suggestion that no emissions would have been saved by the action, it this true. No he says, the book describes the slack and spare capacity inherent in the grid. Its resilience in fact.  When the power stations manager, Mr Raymond Smith said that other stations might have been fired up to replace Ratcliffe loss in generation, these would also produce emissions. But coal-burning stations provides the baseline of supply in the UK, since the fuel is cheaper.  Replacements would thus most probably come from gas-fired stations, since the coal-fired ones would already be online and generating.

Mr Rees asks what would your action have achieved? OB says a quantifiable amount of CO2 emissions would have been prevented by stopping the burning of coat at the Ratcliffe power station.  The Stern Report says that every ton of CO2 emitted has a knock-on effect. It equates to a measureable cost and effect on lives lost.

With respect to this specific action, OB say he had first been involved from about March 2009 on hearing of the plan to try to shut down the plant.  Convinced it would offer him the best chance of reducing emissions personally.  Mr Rees reminds the court that the prosecution suggests the whole thing was a bit of a jolly! No, certainly not.  This was very serious.

OB says he’s been a climber for about 10 years. He is skilled in ‘single rope’ techniques. Was part of the ‘black team’, the object of which was to shut down the coal conveyor.  People would have pressed the emergency stop buttons and locked-on to the plant there through the arm-tubes.  These would have prevented their easy removal.  As a climber, he would have been suspended in a position to prevent the operation of the coal conveyor and again to make their removal harder.

The climbing harness is displayed to the jury and OB makes quite a lengthy explanation of its operation, components and purpose. Much of which was about the safety features in the equipment to avoid injury during the action.

Miss Gerry for the prosecution cross-examines. She asks about the purpose of being there?  OB replies the same as all the other defendants, to do his best to save emissions from the power station. She says the banners you had with you were all about coal.  The people of Nottingham are not shown any alternatives are they?

Moving on to a publication, she initially asks if an address in Cherwell Street, Oxford means anything to him. Yes it’s the offices of Corporate Watch.  Did you author a report from there called ‘Broken Promises: why the nuclear industry wont deliver’.  She is seeking to demonstrate OB media experience, since there previously been much questioning of others about the press release, prepared ahead of the action. Although he replies his was a minor role in the Corporate Watch publication, Mr Rees objects, since this appeared to be a ‘back-door method’ of introducing the document. He had been ambushed. This had not been initially disclosed to the defence. There was then a bit of legal argument, but the prosecution say that nothing is outstanding to be introduced.

Miss Gerry goes back to the events.  This action wasn’t about saving carbon was it, It was just a media stunt? OB says no, it wasn’t. That because of the scale and immediacy of the situation, we need to take action on CO2 emission right now.  She questions if he had tried canvasing the public on these issues.  He said he had, but had seen the limitations of such a process.  Next to the scale of the present situation, it could be nowhere near as effective in stopping these emissions.

‘Heat; How to stop the Planet Burning’ – George Monbiot 2006, Penguin Press
http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2006/11/07/heat

‘Broken Promises: why the nuclear industry wont deliver’. Corporate Watch 2007
http://www.corporatewatch.org.uk/?lid=2968

2 December 2010     Nottingham Crown Court

Mr Edward Rees QC for the defence, calls the first witness of the day.  He is Alan Simpson, former MP for Nottingham South between 1992 to this last election 2010.  During this time, he campaigned for a more serious response to climate change issues, by the UK government. He didn’t contest the last election in May 2010 wanting to devote his time on climate change and renewable energy policies.  He remains pessimistic in bringing about required changes through his previous post.  He is now the renewable energy policy advisor, to the Friends of the Earth. He does however, continue to have parliamentary contact, advising the coalition government on the consequences of runaway climate change, and the required shift to renewable sources.

At a total of 39% of all carbon emissions produced by the UK, coal is by far the biggest single contributor. This must not remain so and measures need to be taken.

Mr Rees asks him “is there a democratic deficit?” Mr Simpson insists yes there is, absolutely!!

During the Labour government, what was their attitude to the projected tipping points?  Ed Miliband, the then Energy Secretary, pioneered the Climate Change Act 2008. This was world leading legislation. Together with the current coalition government, there is a virtual cross party agreement on the need to reduce global CO2 emissions. This act and a number of other important steps have been taken by government. But none however match the scale of the problems that we face. The future threats to life and our wellbeing are posed to future generations.

There is again agreement in the need to at least remain under a 2degC increase in temperatures. He refers to Dr Hansen of NASA research on these issues and the possible climate tipping points that can be predicted to occur between 2013 – 2015 if nothing is done. At this threshold, there could be the start of massive changes, for example once the Arctic tundra ice gives up methane on its melting, beyond that point it is clear we will not be able to do anything about it. Many climate protestors legitimately question whether there is anything in current government action plans that would see UK annual carbon emissions declining by this point in time.

Mr Rees takes Alan Simpson back to the Climate Change Act.  He says the object was to change the relationship of individuals and communities to attempt to contribute to solutions. Thus, since the Act came into force in April this year, people and communities who are able to generate electric power by wind turbine, or solar panels etc can contribute to the grid. It should no longer be a one-way system.  However the energy companies opposed and campaigned against such moves. E-on lobbied against such similar changes in Germany. They object claiming ‘intrusion into trade’. The European Union eventually found against the company on enquiry.

Simpson says there are six big energy companies and they do have a disproportionate influence in opposing any measures they disapprove of.  The ideas behind the passing of the act had cross-party support.  But, at the administration bit of the process were the legislation gets poured over by committees and civil servants, the levels of the caps proposed were obstructed at a variety of stages. The energy companies were able to lobby decision makers at various levels.  It’s an unequal process. Their money means they can open offices near to government, they can employ research and lobbying companies to put a shine in their case. They can find ‘experts’ to argue to keep operations as they are for maximum profits and dividends for shareholders.  Further to frighten politicians with job losses.

They are wrong. In Germany for example, they have created more that 300,000 jobs in renewable industries, more than those lost in older industries.  The UK efforts are lamentable. Mr Rees asks him about Vestas a company that used to operate on the Isle of Wight and left the UK because the market wasn’t sufficient for their turbine blade products. Mr Simpson sites another example of ineffectual policy. There are large wind farm of the Scottish coast, that cannot have their outputs connected to the grid for another 10 years!!  This is because of energy companies negotiating with government to give traditional generation priority for connection to the grid, over these renewable sources. Because they operate exclusively on their profit motive.

Energy companies are not even required to record and report power station emissions themselves. They are not doing this, because they are aware of possible public concerns. Mr Simpson says that governments aren’t insisting on such recording, even though there is an existing legal frameworks requiring them to do so. The Secretary of State for Energy now says he is intending to insist on reporting emission levels on new power stations.  But … this is no good since nearly 40% of carbon emissions are produced from the existing old coal-burning stations

On another issue, he says there were four carbon capture projects being considered in the UK.  Now that’s down to one and that has a question mark over it. E-on had pulled out as it being uneconomic to operate.

Mr Simpson says he was trying to get parliament to understand that it is government that should set standards and expect industry to follow them. Currently, things are the other way round. Further we must move to a statutory duty for companied to comply with regulations and for the public to have a right to know.

Mr Rees in finishing his examination asks, is there a shortfall on what is needed and what is done?  Yes, it’s why I stepped down from parliament. Government are not taking the measures required to protect us, our children or our grandchildren.

Miss Garry cross-examines. Referring to the Climate Change Act and Energy Acts 2008 & 2009, they set targets. Thus the various science committees and parliament ‘got it right’ in that session?  Yes, it was trailblazing legislation and these and other measures were looked at by other governments, as examples of good practice. But, the starting point of the UK was from the bottom, not much better than our position in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Can you say in terms of what individuals can do?  I have built an eco-house and produce more energy than I consume. Of course, this is beyond the capacity of many of us.  Mr Simpson then goes onto site the example of the Meadows estate in Nottingham. Saying that as a community, we helped to organise collectively to fit solar panels on roofs of houses and then selling power back to the grid.

Miss Gerry again seeks to point out that Mr Simpson took the community ‘with him’ through public consultation and engagement through organising many meetings. Her effort seems to be to seek to draw a distinction between these democratic methods and the direct action engaged in by the defendants. The Meadows community had to organise to overcome opposition and obstacles to achieve progress by engaging people in the locality, within their abilities.

Mr Simpson says that we have lots of information available to us, however, if we were on the Titanic, the main info we need is how to get off the boat. What people could do individually, just doesn’t match the 40% of emissions that power companies are creating.

She gets Simpson to agree that most of these efforts were achieved by knocking on lots of peoples’ doors. A team to canvas to communicate any message and to hold constituency meeting, surgeries etc…  He insists however, that people are so limited in what they can do individually, without parliament and government creating a framework that they can be effective within.  It is so unequal.  Energy companies are so much bigger and more able in lobbying than any individual or community group could handle. It is clear that to successfully lobby on an issue, people need to organise travel to London [sometime Europe], obtain science facts from experts, much time on research and parliamentary meetings.  It is beyond the capacity of the ordinary individual.  He sites the Suffragette movement and their campaign to get parliament to take measures on the wrong that needed to be put right.

Not responding to this point, Miss Gerry tries a few more examples to get Mr Simpson to agree that public engagement is best. He replies yes, it is best.  But since politics sometimes ignores them and their concerns, people need to protest as well !!!

Mr Rees re-examines:  What CO2 emission reduction have power companies actually made? None, to very little.  There was some reduction because of the loss of manufacturing, the older industries.  More recently, the recession means a reduction in the manufacturing output and this can expect to lead to a reduction also. But not, due to any intervention by the energy companies. Because of European Union directives, some of the older power stations may be forcibly closed, but this may result in a ‘dash for gas’.

Mr Rees asks Alan Simpson: Nothing personal … but in your experience do politicians do what they say they’ll do? Do they sometimes lie?  Grins all round  Its obvious that so many times, targets and policy remain politically aspirational, not what they’ll actually do.

Concluding with this witness, Mr Rees asks: will knocking on doors, really change any opinions of the power companies.  No, of course not.

He made a statement in finishing:
“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 protestors 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”.

Alan Simpson [former MP, Nottingham South]      http://www.alansimpson.org

Friends of the Earth  http://www.foe.co.uk

++

After lunch, a live video link is established from the Crown Court to the House of Commons. Mr Rees for the defence then introduces Caroline Lucas MP for Brighton and Leader of the Green Party of England and Wales.

She is a member of the all party Environmental Audit Committee, responsible for evaluating governments operations in meeting its objectives.

Prior to the UK elections in May 2010, between 1999 – 2010 was a Member of the European Parliament, Green MEP for The South East Region. She is also the Green Coordinator on the Climate Change Committee to reduce the impact of the aviation industry on the environment

Mr Rees get her to confirm that there is no serious challenge by elected members in either the UK or European Community that climate change is happening and that it is human driven. But, there is a huge difference between what politicians say and what actually happens. He asks are the targets that are set, commensurate with the perceived threat by emissions and the need for reductions. She says no. We know of the need to keep well within the 2 degC rise beyond which a tipping point will be reached. However, with businesses desire to maintain their activities, there is now no prospect of this if ‘business as usual’ continues.

Rees asks Ms Lucas, in Europe through its political structures, is it easy or difficult to get policy changes? Very difficult she says, it is a very unequal battle. Large companies lobby successfully and have such privileged access to committees and the European Parliament, than individuals or groups, and even the UK parliament gets.

Renewables and cleaner alternatives are currently more expensive and money is sometimes even found coming from a countries aid budgets. Further, sometimes doesn’t even arrive after being pledged.

Moving on to the emission trading schemes. These operate by making allocations to different industrial sectors. In practice these are open to much abuse since a rich company can buy their way out of their agreed obligations. Credits bought from poorer countries.  When the European Union require a reduction in emission by X%, much of that will be bought from developing countries, all resulting as ‘business as usual’.

Ms Lucas is asked: Are there penalties for exceeding agreed targets? No, such plans have never had a sufficient majority in the European Parliament and such ideas have always been defeated.

She moves onto describing the situation about Vestas, a company making wind turbine blades, that was based on the Isle of Wight and closed. The company couldn’t make a viable return on selling their product. There was simply a lack of a market for turbine blade in the UK. This of course is symbolic of government efforts in encouraging alternatives. A comparison in the use of renewables in other countries demonstrate out inadequate response. Further, the National Grid is centralised and makes it so difficult for renewable alternatives to adequately contribute.

Kyoto agreements are about to expire and there is no architecture in place to replace it.  Without the United States on-board, any proposals will be ineffective. Copenhagen was very disappointing, there was a complete absence of any binding agreement and will not deal with emission reductions within the required timescale. With regard to Cancún, Mexico happening now, expectations are rock-bottom. Agreements to reduce emissions are not even on the agenda, simply not on the table.

Mr Rees asks about current political interest. Lucas says that at a recent UK parliamentary debate, 12 MP’s attended. She is disparaging about this. No politics seems to be taking notice of these immediate tipping points and demonstrates a national complacency on such issues.

Miss Gerry cross-examines [well I think that’s what it was, she seemed to me to reinforce this last point]. She opens in pointing out that the Prime Minister David Cameron, David Beckham and Princes William are all in Zurich, Switzerland, presenting the British bid for a football match, instead of being in Cancún, Mexico. Newspapers and television are full of Zurich and not Cancún. She says that more of the public interest appears to be on football, rather than on climate change. Lucas explains that people feel a remoteness, in that individuals ability to influence European policy processes

Caroline Lucas MP, Leader of the Green Party      http://www.carolinelucas.com

Green Party     http://www.greenparty.org.uk

UK Parliament Environmental Audit Committee
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-archive/environmental-audit-committee/eacom

Snowing much outside, court rises a little early. [14:45]

Ratcliffe on Trial Blog    http://ratcliffeontrial.org/blog

No Ratcliffe trial today, snow seizes everything up, jurors couldn’t make it in …. we all go home.

Caroline Lucas MP tomorrow via a video link.