Aberdeen Climate 9 remain defiant after Court sentence of only small fines

25/08/2010   (Climate 9 press release)
 
Nine Plane Stupid protesters who shut down Aberdeen airport on the morning of
March 3rd 2009 appeared in court today to finally receive their sentences. The
judge and court took the protesters’ urgent message on climate change seriously
and gave out very modest fines ranging from £300 to £700 each adding up to a total
cost of around £4000 – £5000.

Crowds of activists, local supporters and press gathered outside Aberdeen Sheriff
Court at 10am for the sentencing hearing of the Climate 9, the group recently
found guilty of Breach of the Peace for occupying the city’s airport last year.
During the two week trial in June, expert witnesses explained how aviation emissions
are fuelling climate change and detailed some of the local effects, including
flooding impacts.

In anticipation of the sentencing one of the trial’s expert witnesses Dr Geoff
Meaden said:

"Society’s problem is that, other than through civil disobedience, there are
often no legitimate means of getting governments (at any level) to ‘act correctly’
or to act in the best long term interests of people, environments or indeed the
planet. In the absence of such a ‘jury’ or ‘commission’, then we have to be glad
that there are groups such as Climate9 who are bold enough to bring to the public’s
attention existing injustices."

Since the trial the group has also received support from communities around the
world, suffering from climate change effects, with commitment to keep the 9 active
in taking action to stop runaway climate change. The group have vowed to continue
their campaign highlighting the danger of aviation carbon emissions.

Dan Glass, one of the Climate9 members said:

“Against the backdrop of the Copenhagen Summit failures and new waves of climate
chaos, all over the world people demanding climate justice have complained to
the politicians and to the judges. It’s time we did something for ourselves. The
Climate9 will not uphold increasing state and police repression and camouflage
the struggle that is climate injustice. The Climate9 provide an opportunity to
spread the need for urgent action, to halt airport growth and to challenge the
authorities with pride and confidence. Whatever we received today, this climate
court trial won’t be the last time. Our future and the health of every species
is too important to leave it in the hands of the few."

One such group is The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland who passed this
in the AGM in response to the Climate9 movement.

“Affirm that there are times when non violent direct action   involving potential
and actual civil disobedience in the form of deliberate lawbreaking, may be regarded
as a legitimate approach to expressing the Gospel.”  

2 days before sentencing one of Britain’s best-known defence barristers also
threw his weight behind the Climate9 before they were due to be sentenced in Aberdeen
Crown Court.   Michael Mansfield QC said:

 "As I write one fifth of Pakistan, already blighted by earthquakes, is covered
with flood waters threatening the health and safety of over six million people.
Without conscientious and principled protest which focuses on the undoubted factors
which contribute to this decimation of the environment, the urgency of the problem
will not be addressed. I trust these entirely legitimate and selfless objectives
will be reflected in the way the Climate 9 are judged by the court.”

Jimmy Kerr, one of the Climate9 members said:

"The trial generated public support from many corners keeping up the pressure
on the legal system to one day recognise the importance of environmental action.
Indeed we need to keep that momentum up. There is so much knowledge to be shared
as a result of this case, from and legal issues, to public health to popular education
and much much more. We can offer talks, workshops or advice and you can help by
arranging an event and inviting us to take part."

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors:

(1) Michael Mansfield QC’s full statement is “There is an environmental clock
ticking towards irretrievable global disaster for future generations – it is nothing
less than a breach of world peace on a massive scale. Political summits like Kyoto
and Copenhagen can’t even agree satisfactory targets let alone effect implementation.
As a consequence individual and collective action to curtail our destructive footprints
is a categorical and immediate imperative for everyone. Remaining silent or doing
nothing are not options. As I write one fifth of Pakistan, already blighted by
earthquakes, is covered with flood waters threatening the health and safety of
over six million people. Without conscientious and principled protest which focuses
on the undoubted factors which contribute to this decimation of the environment,
the urgency of the problem will not be addressed. I trust these entirely legitimate
and selfless objectives will be reflected in the way the Climate 9 are judged
by the court.”

For all the Climate9 statements of support please see (http://www.climate9.com/statements-of-support/)

Interviews with key witnesses and the 9 available throughout this week



Other relevant links

Climate 9
http://www.climate9.com

Plane Stupid http://www.planestupid.com

Recent coverage: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/jun/23/uk-emission-cuts-airport-protest-trial

Aberdeen Action http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/north_east/7924952.stm

http://www.airportwatch.org.uk/?p=3230

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/north_east/7924952.stm

 

see also

 

Yes, we broke the law as climate change activists. And this is why. Dan Glass

 26th August 2010           Dan Glass, one of the Climate9, writing in the Guardian, says the group are not
“terrorists” but people who believe delivering their message on climate change
is worth being charged and fined. The Climate9 are ordinary people, but part of
a growing movement of concerned citizens prepared to put their bodies in the way
of dangerous high-carbon developments – and know this is justified, proportionate
and necessary in the face of catastrophic climate change.       Click here to view full story…

 

see also

Climate 9: Found guilty of breach of the peace at Aberdeen Airport

 

The Climate 9 have been found guilty of breach of the peace. More serious charges
of vandalism were dropped. The charges were significantly reduced over the course
of the 2 week trial. Sentence was deferred until August. The protesters were campaigning
against any expansion of the airport, claiming it would lead to more harmful carbon
emissions. The 9 are celebrating their victory in showing that peaceful protest
is a necessary and legitimate way to take the action needed on climate change.    
25.6.2010   More …..

 
 

 

 

see also

 

 

Climate activism: is the trial more important than the protest?   (Ecologist)

Date Added: 26th August 2010

The Ecologist’s analysis of the Climate 9 trial suggests that the courtroom manoeuvres
form a crucial part of the package. The Aberdeen airport defendants were given
only modest fines. It seems activists may only be more highly motivated by stiffer
sentences. Modern, savvy campaigners know the trial is a significant part of the
whole protest. Campaigning around the trial enabled the group to make links to
a wide range of organisations, even including the Church

Click here to view full story…