It’s been a cold and snowy end to winter in Britain and much of Europe. The worst March snowfall for 30 years (according to The Telegraph) caused significant disruption to much of the UK, and lead to heavy loss of sheep and lambs in Wales. The UK Met Office reports that March is likely to [...]
Posts Tagged UK
Mr Morrison invites us all to come on home, and have a Celtic new year — which is always a good thing, as I can testify, being a Celt of many generations standing. While I wait for the ham to subside and the cabernet merlot to wash out of the system1, I’ll point you to the thoughts of George Monbiot, who is less than impressed with the old year:
It was the year of living dangerously. In 2012 governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority over an immediate concern, however trivial. I believe there has been no worse year for the natural world in the past half-century.
Nor do the efforts of the British government bring him much cheer:
In the UK in 2012, the vandals were given the keys to the art gallery. Environmental policy is now in the hands of people – such as George Osborne, Owen Paterson, Richard Benyon and Eric Pickles – who have no more feeling for the natural world than the Puritans had for fine art. They are busy defacing the old masters and smashing the ancient sculptures.
There is only one answer, he reckons:
To avoid another terrible year like 2012, we must translate these passive concerns into a mass mobilisation. Groups such as 350.org show how it might be done. If this annus horribilis tells us anything, it is that action, in the absence of such mobilisation, is simply not going to happen. Governments care only as much as their citizens force them to care. Nothing changes unless we change.
A very fair point, and very well made. Meanwhile, others have been looking back at the “year of living dangerously”. Skeptical Science provides a very nice review of the main events in climate science and the denial campaign, a fine counterpoint to the piece posted here last week.
For a laugh, check out Media Matters’ list of the 10 Dumbest Things Fox Said About Climate Change In 2012. The first example should suffice to demonstrate what passes for considered opinion in US
1. Fox Reporter: “The Temperature Basically Hasn’t Changed Much Since The Ice Age.”
Ahem. That would be the ice age when Wisconsin was covered by mile thick ice. Fox might like to take a look now…
Even more amusing is Heartland head honcho Joe Bast’s response2 to an item in last week’s roundup, in which we remembered with some affection the giant-sized PR fail that accompanied their “Unabomber” billboard. It appears Bast is spinning like a top, and as unrepentant as Malcolm Tucker:
The billboard simply pointed out that Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, still believes in global warming, and asked viewers if they do, too. We know why lefties went nuts over it – Kaczynski, after all, is one of their own – but it wasn’t inaccurate or offensive.
Sorry, Joe, it was — and grossly so. Trying to pretend otherwise is pure propaganda — as is the assertion that 2012 was “a breakthrough year”. That would be for definitions of “breakthrough” that encompass the loss of 21 corporate sponsors and $1 million income — the most recent being the withdrawal of support by Pfizer only a few weeks ago.
- Tomorrow, of course.
- Also posted at µWatts by Heartland-funded propagandist blogger Anthony Watts.
A new world record(?) Dec 23Join the conversation at Hot Topic
Last week the UK Meteorological Office issued its annual forecast for the global average temperature for the year ahead. They’re expecting a warm year, but very few people seemed to notice just how hot. Here’s what the press release had to say:
2013 is expected to be between 0.43 °C and 0.71 °C warmer than the long-term (1961-1990) global average of 14.0 °C, with a best estimate of around 0.57 °C, according to the Met Office annual global temperature forecast.
Taking into account the range of uncertainty in the forecast and observations, it is very likely that 2013 will be one of the warmest ten years in the record which goes back to 1850, and it is likely to be warmer than 2012.
Most press coverage ran with the “one of the warmest years” line, a simple elaboration of the press release, but few noticed that the Met Office were actually predicting a new global temperature record — perhaps because the Met Office wasn’t exactly trumpeting the fact from the rooftops. Admirable caution, you might say.
The Met Office “best estimate” for 2013 is that global average temperature will be 0.57ºC above the long term average (1961-1990), and that’s a comfortable 0.03ºC above the previous record years of 2005 and 2010. Take a look at the graph above. I’ve plotted global temperatures from 1993 to 2012 (data here), and added a line showing the linear trend over that period. The Met Office’s projection is just above an extension of the trend line. The grey “whiskers” on 2012 and 2013 show the full range covered by the projections. 2012 came in 0.03ºC below the December 2011 forecast.
2012 will end up as the ninth warmest year in the long term record, mainly because the year started out with a strong La Niña (which has a cooling effect on global temperature, with a six to nine month lag), and the El Niño (warming effect) which seemed to be on the way in mid year has all but fizzled out. Nevertheless, 2013 will start without a La Nina, and unless a strong one develops early in the year, the Met Office are clearly expecting that the long term warming trend will exert itself.
It’s a bold forecast — but one that’s in line with the warming of the last 20 years. Carbon dioxide continues to accumulate in the atmosphere, and energy continues to pile up in the climate system. New high temperature records are inevitable and unavoidable until the climate gets back into energy balance, and that isn’t going to happen any time soon1. We ain’t seen nothing yet, and that’s not good news.
- 30 years is the usual period estimated to allow the upper layers of the ocean to “catch up” with warming
The truth is molten Jul 05Join the conversation at Hot Topic
Extreme weather events are where the climate change rubber hits the road, and if events over the last month are anything to go by, global warming is currently doing doughnuts and burnouts on tarmac right round the globe. Kevin Trenberth put it rather nicely in an interview with PBS Newshour in the US: “This is a view of the future, so watch out.” John Vidal in The Guardian sums up the situation rather well:
…how much more extreme weather does it take for governments and individuals to act, or for the oil companies to withdraw from the Arctic, or the media to link global warming with the events now being witnessed around the world? Must the sea boil, the Seine run dry, New York flood and the London Olympics be consumed by fire before countries are shocked into taking concerted action?
Damn good question.
Let’s review the recent evidence. The extraordinary heatwave in the USA, coupled with horrendous forest fires, occurring in parallel with torrential rainfall and flooding and a rare but incredibly fierce derecho event1, has been making all the headlines, but the rest of the world has also been suffering. In India, heavy monsoon rains have drowned Assam, killing 77 people and driving over two million people from their homes. Britain and much of Europe has had a record wet spring and early summer. Huge forest fires have been burning in Siberia, and the Arctic sea ice is in record low territory for the time of year. It’s on track for a new record minimum come September2.
All of these events are taking place in an atmosphere that has already changed. Weather is being generated in a measurably different context to the recent past. There’s more water vapour — 4% more, globally, since the 1970s — available to drive storms and fall as rain. The retreat of sea ice in the Arctic is changing seasonal surface to atmosphere energy flows dramatically. As a consequence, northern hemisphere weather patterns are changing.
The atmosphere has already changed, and with it, our climate. Climate change is not some far off thing we can chose to ignore: it’s happening now. It’s here. Weather extremes are the most visible symptom of these changes, the most dramatic of near term impacts. Current events should be driving us towards taking action, but instead we have politicians paying lip service to reality while doing nothing of substance.
Bill McKibben got close to the truth in a piece earlier this week, in which he finally exposed climate change as a hoax:
It looks real, but it isn’t—it’s just nature trying to compete with James Cameron. So please don’t shout fire in the global 3-D theater. Stay cool. And get a big tub of popcorn—in this epic disaster flick we’re not even close to the finale.
Bill’s “hoax” may have been tongue in the cheek, but he’s right about the ending. We ain’t seen nothing yet3.
Tim Groser, the new Minister for Climate Change Issues, is adamant in his defence of the intention to further delay bringing the agricultural sector into the Emissions Trading Scheme beyond the current date of 2015 unless there are adequate abatement options open to them by then and unless other countries step up to the mark with mitigation measures. His remarks on Morning Report on Thursday made it clear that the interests of the overall economy were more important than mitigation of the 0.2% of the global greenhouse gas emissions that New Zealand is responsible for. He spoke of the difficulty of managing the economy through tough times.
But he also claimed New Zealand was playing a very significant role in the Global Research Alliance on agricultural greenhouse gases and in the reform of fossil fuel subsidies. Indeed we’re probably playing a larger role in international negotiations than any single country. It’s absurd, he concluded, to charge that we’re not pulling our weight. The part New Zealand is playing in the international negotiations was also highlighted in a NZ Herald report on Thursday.
With Kiwi diplomat Adrian Macey chairing last December’s Durban talks, Groser claims New Zealand “ended up with 100 per cent of the responsibility for the mitigation equation,” the core of the climate change debate.
As a long-serving diplomat and ambassador before entering Parliament, the International Trade and Climate Change Negotiations Minister said this achievement was “quite extraordinary in terms of my experience of international negotiations and New Zealand’s contribution.”
One can only be pleased if New Zealand is playing a positive role in international negotiations and the other initiatives Groser draws attention to. And it’s true that this is a global problem which needs global agreement to be dealt with effectively. But that doesn’t mean we should therefore be happy with the go-slow policy at home. Groser appears to be saying that action on emissions will put strains on the economy and that we will therefore only act when everyone does. His stance is outdated and unhelpful. The economy can flourish with a different orientation. Why should the mild pressure that the ETS would put on agriculture not lead to changes in farming practice that would enhance New Zealand’s competitive position in world trade as well as lower our greenhouse gas emissions? What expert opinion says that lower emissions mean lower farming income? And even if it was lower, how much lower would it be, and how would that stack up against the benefits to the economy overall of reduced emissions? Groser speaks of the government’s over-riding responsibility to manage the New Zealand economy soundly, and says dismissively that extravagant or overly costly solutions will not fly. No one will argue with sound management, but does that mean business as usual? There are plenty of reasons to say that business as usual is unsound and leading down a blind alley. It’s too easy to throw around adjectives like extravagant or overly costly. Groser is over-assertive.
Compare Groser’s stance with what Nick Clegg had to say in the UK this week.
There is a myth doing the rounds in political debate today: that, here in the UK, environmentalism has hit a wall, that green is for the good times, that we cannot up our efforts to protect our environment while simultaneously growing our economy, that we have to make a choice.
…this new wisdom, however widely held, is utterly wrong. Yes, right now climate change may be lower down some people’s thoughts. Yes, we need to be sensitive to businesses’ needs. But in so many ways, for so many consumers, for so many firms, going green has never made so much sense.
There is no choice, Clegg concludes, between protecting the environment and growing the economy. Groser, and the Government he represents, appears stuck with the notion that there is.
The other factor that weighs against Groser’s gradualism is the magnitude of the threat of climate change. Groser has made it clear in the past that he has no argument with the science. He will know then that global warming doesn’t slow down while the negotiators catch up. These aren’t leisurely trade negotiations working towards useful improvements. They are urgent, and if we are playing the significant role in them that Groser claims then our own actions at home ought to reflect that urgency. The science is pretty clear that if emissions reductions don’t begin very soon it must be doubtful that we can stay below a 2ºC temperature rise. It will be little cause for congratulation to have played an important role in negotiations which allowed that state of affairs to develop.
There was a suggestion in the radio interview that the smallness of our share of global emissions lessens any need for us to be overly concerned with mitigation. That is a contemptible notion. Anything New Zealand can offer by way of example, particularly in the area of agriculture, is of value and will surely only add to whatever status Groser claims we have in international negotiations. But in any case it can only be a solemn human duty to take every reasonable measure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with all possible urgency. The continuing dilution of an already weak ETS is not the responsible economic management Groser asserts. It’s an evasion of responsibilities which we should be facing up to determinedly.
Appalling. It’s a free world, so even the ’leaders’ in climatology are entitled to express the opinion they like. But I draw attention to those who willingly follow these atrocious examples. Such people sabotage science, ransack reason and in the end destroy democracy. Though they imagine they do these things entirely for our own good, they must feel the heat of public opprobrium before they destroy us.
Change one word in that elegant little diatribe, and I would agree one hundred percent. The word? Climatology. Strike that through, and replace it with your word of choice for those would try to persuade us to do nothing.
It really is a looking-glass world on “the other side”: a world where the direction we know as up is called down, black appears to be white, and the laws of physics are puzzling Alice2.
- Interestingly, his horror is at the mundane reality of an author promising to put together a first draft of a summary for policymakers, which before publication will go through numerous drafts and which will be fought over line by line by the representatives of every government participating in the IPCC process, before being explicitly approved by them all.
- “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less. Source.
In a comment on Tom Bennion’s recent post on the water crisis in Tuvalu and Tokelau Gareth drew attention to an article in the Economist which sounded similar themes. Small island states are well aware of the danger in which they stand and of how grudging any help is likely to prove:
Australia has turned down Tuvalu’s request for an emergency migration programme that would resettle the islanders. Even a â‚¬90m ($119m) aid package to tackle regional climate change pledged earlier this year by the European Union has done little to tamp down its fears.
The leaders of countries as far afield as Barbados and Grenada joined Tuvalu in raising the alarm over the issue in a series of impassioned speeches to the United Nations General Assembly last month. Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, laid the blame for the current debacle squarely at the feet of developed economies.
He was ’baffled’ he said, ’by the intransigence of major emitters and developed nations that refuse to shoulder the burden for arresting climate changes that are linked to the excesses of their own wasteful policies.’ As it happens, the first states to experience the effects of climate change as an existential threat are among the world’s smallest, most isolated and least powerful.
What particularly caught my attention in the Economist article was a link back to a past story published in the magazine in 1997. It was revealing both of how long the island states have been anxious and of how summarily those concerns have been treated by the more powerful.
Fourteen years ago at the South Pacific Forum meeting the small island states banded together to push for a Forum position at the then forthcoming Kyoto conference. They wanted the Forum to press for a world-wide cut of 20% of 1990 emission levels by 2005, tougher even than the target of 15% proposed by the European Union by 2010. They stood no show, of course. After days of heated argument with Australian PM John Howard, with New Zealand’s PM Jim Bolger trying to steer a course down the middle, the island leaders eventually reluctantly agreed to a statement in which the forum ’recognised’ the concerns of low-lying island nations, but accepted that there should be different reduction targets for different countries. The Economist commented that this ’differentiation’ was what Australia had been pushing for.
There was little choice for the aid-dependent island nations, though that didn’t stop Tuvalu’s PM expressing his frustration with Australia: ’There was no compromise. It was just no, no, no, no, no.’
Mr Howard dismissed the islanders’ fears as ’exaggerated’ and ’apocalyptic’. Australia argues that it depends heavily on energy-intensive industries, and that binding greenhouse-gas limits would hit it unfairly. Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of black coal. Other raw and semi-processed commodities figure highly in exports to Asia, its biggest market. Mr Howard claims that 90,000 jobs in Australia could be lost if it were forced to reduce its emissions.
Well, the Islanders’ fears in 1997 were not exaggerated, as is becoming all too apparent. And this year’s meeting of the Forum saw no attempt to downplay those fears, all the more, perhaps, because of the presence of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. He had come via endangered Kiribati and said ’Climate change is not about tomorrow. It is lapping at our feet — quite literally in Kiribati and elsewhere.’
The Forum called for ’an ambitious reduction of greenhouse gas emissions sufficient to enable the survival and viability of all Pacific small island developing states.’ Fourteen years ago it might as well have urged a reduction of greenhouse emissions small enough to allow business as usual to continue in Australia. However although today’s rhetoric is more on the mark there’s little evidence that it will be reflected in action.
Where did Howard get the confidence to use words like exaggerated and apocalyptic in dismissing the small island fears in 1997? It seems to have been the perceived threat to the Australian economy that gave him such boldness. No doubt it was mingled with science denial, or at least the assumption that the scientists must be overplaying the picture. And perhaps a touch of political swagger. Today’s politicians may be more circumspect in their language (or not, in the case of American Republicans), but perceived threats to the economy of developed countries still often outweigh in importance the need to address emissions reduction. Nick Smith has made it clear in New Zealand that the emissions trading scheme will not be permitted to pose any imagined threat to our major industries. In the UK the Chancellor George Osborne has recently and startlingly announced in the course of a speech to the Conservative Party conference:
Now we know that a decade of environmental laws and regulations are piling costs on the energy bills of households and companies. Yes, climate change is a man made disaster. Yes, we need international agreement to stop it. Yes, we must have investment in greener energy. And that’s why I gave the go ahead to the world’s first Green Investment Bank.
But Britain makes up less than 2% of the world’s carbon emissions to China and America’s 40%. We’re not going to save the planet by putting our country out of business. So let’s at the very least resolve that we’re going to cut our carbon emissions no slower but also no faster than our fellow countries in Europe. That’s what I’ve insisted on in the recent carbon budget.
That’s very reminiscent of the words used by New Zealand government politicians:
It is important that New Zealand does its fair share to combat climate change, but we don’t want to jump ahead of the rest of the world.
That is why our ETS will be regularly reviewed, so we can assess our approach relative to international progress and the latest science. Our very moderate ETS is the sensible way for New Zealand to go forward.
We may not be as brash as John Howard fourteen years ago, but there’s no comfort for the small island states in the cautious approaches to emissions reduction still typical of much of the developed world. No comfort indeed for any of us who are aware of just how real the threatened impacts of climate change are.
The new leader of New Zealand’s far-right ACT Party — the former National Party leader, Don Brash — has confirmed that he’s a fully paid up member of the climate cluelessâ„¢, a worthy successor to Rodney Hide, and perfectly on side with major ACT Party backer, millionaire Alan Gibbs (who just happens to be on the policy advisory panel of the International Climate Science Coalition). But Brash hasn’t troubled himself with working on a new script for his climate denial, he’s retreading some of the oldest canards in the denial play book. In a speech this afternoon to the annual conference of Federated Farmers, Brash trotted out this remarkable sequence of untruths, half truths and straightforward lies, annotated below for your reading pleasure…
Early in his speech, Brash joined in with the denial meme du jour, accusing lowly local government officials of being “little Hitlers“, but then got into his stride with a robust attack on government policy.
[...]finally, ACT will press for the abandonment of the Emissions Trading Scheme.
Why do we have an ETS? I have to admit I know of no good reason at all.
One might wonder why an intelligent man who has led two political parties and been governor of the reserve bank could be so unaware of the facts, but thankfully he proceeds to explain what he does understand: clearly and obviously nothing.
To be sure, it seems pretty clear that on average temperatures around the world have been increasing. But they’ve been increasing for at least the last 200 years, since the days when the Thames regularly froze over, and that warming began long before greenhouse gases caused by human activity could’ve had a significant influence on the climate.
Do I hear echoes of Bryan Leyland and the NZ Climate Science Coalition here? Has Brash been outsourcing his denial to the friends of his backer, Alan Gibbs? Couple of points Don. The Thames never “regularly froze over”. It happened only in the coldest winters, and after the demolition of the old London Bridge (which acted as kind of weir) not at all.
And we know temperatures were very warm in the medieval period, and in Roman times, when grapes were routinely grown in what is now the United Kingdom. And greenhouse gases could hardly explain that, or the cooling which took place between those warm periods.
Oh dear, the old canard about grapes in the UK. There’s almost certainly a greater acreage of vineyards in Britain now than at any time in recorded history. Did Lord Lawson forget to mention that, the last time you met?
Even if a case can be made that human activity is behind the gradual increase in global temperature, it isn’t obvious that an increased temperature is necessarily a bad thing for life on the planet.
Time for Don to don the blinkers. You’d think he must have been asleep during the record breaking weather extremes of the last 18 months, which just happen to have been exactly the sort of thing you expect from a warming climate, and which many experts suggest are an ominous harbinger of things to come.
We know that plant life thrives on an atmosphere high in carbon dioxide — which is why many market gardeners deliberately pump carbon dioxide into their glass houses.
But Don, you must have noticed (as a good kiwifruit grower) that not all plants live in greenhouses, pampered and spoiled by their growers. Out in the real world, they thrive under the limits ordained by Liebig’s Law of the Minimum, and CO2 is seldom one of those.
And we know that human societies thrive both in Singapore and in Finland, though average temperatures in the two places could hardly be more different.
Brilliant. Global warming affecting you? Install air conditioning. Got a Fujitsu franchise, Don? Doesn’t help the plants or the ecosystems that are under threat, especially when the pace of change is so rapid. Or your kiwifruit plants, which need some winter chilling to produce fruit.
Incurring the many trillions of dollars in cost which would be involved in any serious global attempt to slow the increase in average temperature would place an enormous burden on all societies, especially those already living on the margins of existence.
Cynical in the extreme, Don. The worst off people in the world are the ones expected to suffer most as the climate warms, and it’s the well off in the developed world, who got rich without penalty on their carbon emissions who are to blame. So to avoid some economic cost — and not as much as you might have us believe — we are to condemn the poor to suffer. The rich might be able to afford to adapt, if only in the short term. Tell that to the people living in the Asian megadeltas, who will be the first to see their livelihoods destroyed by rising seas.
And even if it were accepted that human activity is causing the planet to warm, and that the enormous cost of trying to slow that warming is justified, it’s entirely unclear why New Zealand should be at the forefront of that effort, at considerable cost to all New Zealanders, including New Zealand farmers.
At last, a reasonable argument. Accept the facts, and argue about what we do. That’s some kind of progress. But we should — morally and ethically — do our bit, do our fair share. If we listen to the siren voices of Gibbs and his Climate Science Coalitions, ignore what’s coming down the road, and lock our economy into a high carbon pathway, we will lose money on the way to losing our planet. How stupid is that?
Ozone is the centrepiece of our show this week, with Dr Olaf Morgenstern of NIWA’s Central Otago atmospheric science lab (celebrating its 50th birthday at the moment) explaining the ins and outs of the ozone holes north and south, and their impacts on the climate system. Plus tornadoes, heatwaves, UN negotiations at an impasse, more melting in the Arctic, airships, see-through solar cells and Google’s solar towers. No John Cook this time — he’s been too busy launching his book (good luck with that John!).
News & commentary:
Britain has hottest easter since records began (1960) and and the warmest April in more than 350 years: BBC.
Major polluters say 2011 climate deal “not doable”.
New analysis of Antarctic ice cores shows that CO2 increases start within a couple of hundred years of warming beginning at ice age terminations (the famous ’lag’ some sceptics claim disproves CO2/warming link much shorter than previously thought): New Scientist.
New Arctic report suggests sea level could rise by 1.6m by end of century:
“The observed changes in sea ice on the Arctic Ocean, in the mass of the Greenland ice sheet and Arctic ice caps and glaciers over the past 10 years are dramatic and represent an obvious departure from the long-term patterns,” AMAP said in the executive summary: CBS News.
Chinese icebreaker to circumnavigate Arctic this summer.
Ozone link to Aussie rainfall here, and this paper (not mentioned in the programme) explains some of the competition between ozone and greenhouse gas forcing (with good diagram of atmospheric circulation).
The defence of the Ratcliffe coal power plant protesters in the UK, charged with conspiracy to commit aggravated trespass, was that they were acting through ’necessity’ to prevent death and serious injury caused by carbon dioxide emissions and climate change. James Hansen was among the defence witnesses, testifying to the reality of the danger from climate change. The prosecution argued that the defendants were not really intending to stop carbon emissions, but instead engaged in a publicity stunt. I wrote in this post in January of the lenient sentencing from a judge who was clearly impressed by the motivation of these ’decent men and women with a genuine concern for others’. They were found guilty and had to be punished, albeit leniently.
Their conviction now appears likely to be overturned. The Director of Public Prosecutions, no less, has urged them to appeal their convictions after allegations that police suppressed potentially crucial evidence from an undercover police officer. “I have invited the defence to lodge an appeal and to include the issue of non-disclosure of material relating to the activities of an undercover police officer in any grounds of appeal.”
The story of the undercover officer has been extensively canvassed in the pages of The Guardian in recent months and I won’t try to disentangle it here, but it seems possible that tapes he secretly made of the protesters’ discussions may have helped their defence. The protesters are reported as wanting copies of those tapes and other reports of the undercover operations to help their appeal, and The Guardian comments that this is a move the CPS would now find it hard to resist.
The affair is a reminder of how strong are the forces lined up against climate change action. The law firm which represented the protesters observes:
“The impression remains that the establishment have sought to undermine those campaigning against the urgent and extreme perils of climate change and, once discovered, grudgingly are conceding only as much as they have to when they have to. It has taken two years to get this far and this has only come about as a result of the persistence of climate campaigners.”
George Monbiot is more direct in his trenchant comments yesterday on the issue. He points to the role of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in overseeing the National Public Order Intelligence Unit which ran the undercover operation. In effect, he says, they were running a private militia, and doing so in the interests of corporate power.
’…police chiefs in this country are out of control. They appear to see their role as protecting corporate power against the people, regardless of what the law says. To this end they are spending both public money and private money extracted from public hands, without obvious lines of accountability or constitutional authority.
’They are behaving as you would have expected the Guardia Civil under Francisco Franco to behave: working for private interests against the public interest.’
He wants them investigated:
’The police chiefs who commissioned the spy rings run by ACPO’s organisations must be held to account. If they have broken the law, they must be put on trial. Only then will we have some chance of believing that the law applies to everyone, and is not the exclusive property of corporations and secretive chief constables.’
If governments continue to play down the seriousness of the issue of climate change there will almost certainly be an increase in acts of civil disobedience as protesters challenge the corporations who carry on with damaging activities and the apathetic governments who permit them. Those who deliberately break the law in such circumstances expect to face the legal consequences. Their defence is likely to be on grounds of defending the welfare of those, some in future generations, who suffer the consequences of climate change. Such defence deserves to be given a full and fair hearing before judgement is declared. A democratic society requires no less and it should be no part of the state prosecution to hinder it even though arguing against it.