Feet firmly on the ground: a response to the editor of The Times
BAA is seeking to stop me and my fellow protesters from approaching Heathrow. But there is nothing 'wild' about our claims - quite the opposite.
It is not often that you wake up to find yourself described in a Times editorial as a "semi-socialist" flat-earther but on the second day of our high court hearing in which BAA is seeking to injunct me (and Lord knows how many more Britons) from even approaching Heathrow, that is the turn of phrase the Thunderer has reached for.
Leaving aside the long history of climate change denial articulated by Times leader writers until recently (who is the flat-earther?), I would like to address the writer's claim that aviation protesters are engaging in "a wild postulation" that must be challenged "by fact". Here are those "wild" claims:
- Aviation accounts for 13% of the UK's climate impact. Not figures dreamed up by "dogmatists" but instead by our own New Labour government (a group no one could accurately describe as semi-socialist).
- If government gives the go ahead to a third run way at Heathrow the climate impact of UK aviation will dramatically increase.
- Emission reductions from technological advances in aircraft design will be wiped out by aviation expansion. Waiting for an aeroplane that doesn't cause climate change is like holding out for a cigarette that doesn't cause cancer.
- As things stand there is a grave danger that the government will not listen to reason. New Labour's links to the aviation industry are so deep, the revolving door between the two so active, that peer-reviewed climate science is now being ignored by ministers in the aviation debate.
The most famous Times editorial in history was entitled: "Who breaks a butterfly on a wheel?" As BAA attempts to stifle protest and debate one might reasonably ask: who, indeed?
This was first published on commentisfree.co.uk on August 2nd 2007