Extinction Rebellion blockades UK's largest private airport
Farnborough airport barricaded by activists locked to a stretch limousine, fuel barrels and a giant steel tripod in call for polluter elite to cut their emissions
Extinction Rebellion activists have blocked all major entrances to Farnborough Airport in Hampshire today (2nd October) to protest against the shockingly high levels of CO2 that private flights emit per passenger.
As world leaders gather for the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow this month, protestors are calling on the world's super-rich elite of celebrities, oligarchs and business leaders to ditch private flights. These private flyers, just 1% of the world’s population, cause half of aviation’s global emissions. Extinction Rebellion is also demanding the government stops private flights now.
The 30,000 private flights to and from Farnborough Airport each year carry an average of just 2.3 passengers, with each passenger responsible for the emission of nine times as much carbon as an economy flight to the US and 20 times that to Spain. The airport has permission to increase flight movements to 50,000 a year.
In protest at this wanton level of pollution by the super-rich, Extinction Rebellion has today blockaded three key airport entrances with activists locked on top of a 3 metre high steel tripod at one gateway and to fuel barrels at a second. The third entrance is barricaded by a stretch limousine, with the driver locked on to the steering wheel and a protestor dressed as a media mogul glued to the roof. Other demonstrators from across the South East, including a former airline pilot, are also protesting at the gates of the airport with banners exclaiming Private Flights Cost The Earth; Stop Private Flights Now; Private Jets = Public Deaths.
The airport’s recent move to offer “Sustainable” Aviation Fuels (SAF) to aircraft is condemned as utter greenwash, since the sheer amount of SAF needed to fuel the aviation industry would result in the mass destruction of forests and biodiversity.
Protestor Sarah Hart, 40, a sales manager and resident of Farnborough, said: “I am taking this action against the airport to highlight the damage private flying is doing to the environment and the lack of accountability by the users who avoid public scrutiny. I am demanding the government act now and ban private flights.”
Activist Marion Malcher, 66, a project manager from Woking, said: “It's madness that a tiny number of very rich people, just 1%, are creating half of aviation’s carbon emissions, whilst the poorest people suffer and die because of climate breakdown. They're inflicting massive damage to all life on our beautiful planet. Luxury private flights must stop, they are literally costing us the earth.”
Protestor Todd Smith, 32, a former airline pilot from Reading, criticised Farnborough Airport’s move to offer SAF as a so-called alternative fuel.
He said: “The term ‘Sustainable Aviation Fuel’ was coined by the aviation and fossil fuel industry to deceive the public and greenwash the utterly destructive nature of biofuels.
“Biofuels result in land grabs, deforestation, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, rising food prices and land-use emissions which can be worse than the fossil fuel they are replacing. The most optimistic forecasts say there are only sufficient global resources to support approximately 5.5% of projected EU jet fuel demand in 2030.“The alternative fuel that SAF producer Neste plans to supply to Farnborough would be used much more efficiently in ships and trucks and given there’s only small quantities available, should be prioritized to decarbonise more essential activities than private jet use.” Mike Grant, 61, a former serviceman, from Rosewell near Edinburgh said "Private jets are an environmental disaster. Those who use private jets have the wealth and power to know and do so much better. They boast about being leaders of society and drivers of the economy. They are also drivers of the climate crisis. We call upon them to show real leadership, to take responsibility for their actions, to tell the truth about the impact of private jets on the environment and to do the right thing….park them."
One of the key recommendations made to the government by the Climate Assembly UK in its report The Path to Net Zero is to ban polluting private jets and helicopters, moving to electric when possible. They also called for frequent fliers and those that fly further to be made to pay more. The government has shown no sign of acting on either demand.
Research by think tank Transport and Environment, revealed that CO2 emissions from private jets in Europe rose by nearly a third between 2005 and 2019 – outstripping scheduled flights. It found that the biggest source of pollution was from jets departing from the UK and France – accounting for 36% of all private flight emissions in Europe.
Climate charity Possible recently described the private jet as representing the most extreme end of the climate injustice that characterises air travel. It is calling for the banning of fossil-fuelled private jets at UK airports within the next five years.
The protest comes days before the Farnborough International Exhibition Centre, based at the airport, hosts the "Arms Fair", the DPRTE Defence Procurement and Supply Chain event on 5th October.
Notes for Editors:
Live stream taking place from around 7.00am. Available to view afterwards.
A key recommendation of the Climate Assembly UK is to ban polluting private jets and helicopters, moving to electric when possible. It also called for frequent fliers and those that fly further to be made to pay more.https://www.climateassembly.uk/report/read/final-report.pdf
Extinction Rebellion deliver strong message to Alok Sharma demanding immediate action on Climate Breakdown
On Thursday 25th June Extinction Rebellion marched from Tilehurst Road in Reading delivering a powerful, and pungent, message to Secretary of State Alok Sharma’s office to demand immediate action to halt climate and ecological breakdown.
The Committee on Climate Change (https://www.theccc.org.uk/2020/06/25/covid-19-can-be-an-historic-turning-point-in-tackling-the-global-climate-crisis/) had earlier in the day reported that the UK is not even on track to meet their target of carbon net zero by 2050, a date that will be too late to save most of humanity and the natural world from destruction. Chair of the CCC’s Adaptation Committee, Baroness Brown of Cambridge, said: “COVID-19 has shown that planning for systemic risks is unavoidable. We have warned repeatedly that the UK is poorly prepared for the very serious impacts of climate change, including flooding, overheating and water shortages. Now is the moment to get our house in order, coordinate national planning, and prepare for the inevitable changes ahead. The UK’s domestic ambition can be the basis for strong international climate leadership, but the delivery of effective new policies must accelerate dramatically if we’re to seize this chance.”
Despite this, and the fact that Parliament has declared a Climate Emergency, the Government has not been alert to the breakdown in the environment happening all around us, both in our own country and across the globe.
Protestors marched with wheelbarrows of horse manure and placards to emphasise their key demands: “Climate Action Now – No more Horseshit !” plus a legally binding Citizens Assembly to “Decide Together” on the way forward.
The peaceful protest was one of many demonstrations across the country to show in various ways that inaction on the climate emergency will lead to millions of human deaths, the mass extinction of species and huge suffering worldwide.
The science is clear, climate breakdown is happening as predicted. The Government described last year’s floods in the UK as unprecedented, yet as with the global pandemic, the danger was predicted. Without prompt action, the future is simply terrifying.
One rebel said “The climate’s already in crisis, wildfires in Australia and the Amazon, the poles are melting - it’s hotter in the Arctic than Rio de Janeiro! We want action, a legally binding Citizens Assembly, because right now the Government is leading us “up shit creek without a paddle”
Rebels from seven Extinction Rebellion groups took part in the "Barrow March" : Staines, Bracknell, Reading, Swindon, Wantage, Woking and Wallingford. Letters were delivered to Mr Sharma’s office and the area was left clean after the protest.
On July 11th, Extinction Rebellion Hastings and St Leonards (XRHSL) temporarily installed 1,200 pairs of children’s shoes on Hastings Pier, in a performance installation entitled GONE.
Echoing a recent Extinction Rebellion action in Trafalgar Square (London), the empty shoes, the rising tide, and the haunting sense of absent children drew attention to the fact that young people are most vulnerable to the climate and ecological emergency.
For this action, XRHSL was represented by 56 local people, whose ages ranged from three to 92 years old, and who - despite the excellent weather - dressed in black to express a powerful sense of mourning for the loss of all our children’s future.
All participants followed social distancing guidelines, with many visibly moved as the visual impact of hundreds of pairs of empty shoes gradually built up.
Climate Change may have been displaced by Covid-19 but it has not gone away and is worsening. Children will starve in their millions. People in the global south are likely to suffer most, but climate change will have enormous impacts everywhere, including here in Hastings. We demand that government takes action, now.
Activist and grandmother, La Pethick, 83
But, in face of scientific consensus, the UK government continues to support the use and extraction of fossil fuels, our carbon footprint is rising, and carbon-intense industries are offered tax-payer funded bailouts to help them recover from lockdown.
Extinction Rebellion demand that government act immediately in response to this existential threat, which is globally significantly more serious than the ongoing, and devastating Covid-19 crisis.
In a recent polls, only 9% of the UK population want to go back to the way things were before the pandemic, and 48% agree that the government should respond with the same urgency to the climate and ecological crisis as the coronavirus crisis.
When our film crew had finished, all the shoes were gathered up, and 200 pairs were donated to a local families charity. XRHSL returned the pier to the state in which they found it, and would like to thank Hastings Pier for granting permission for this event.
On July 11th, Extinction Rebellion Hastings and St Leonards (XRHSL) temporarily installed 1,200 pairs of children’s shoes on Hastings Pier, in a performance installation entitled GONE. Echoing a recent Extinction Rebellion action in Trafalgar Square (London), the empty shoes, the rising tide, and the haunting sense of absent children drew attention to the fact that […]
Extinction Rebellion deliver strong message to Alok Sharma demanding immediate action on Climate Breakdown On Thursday 25th June Extinction Rebellion marched from Tilehurst Road in Reading delivering a powerful, and pungent, message to Secretary of State Alok Sharma’s office to demand immediate action to halt climate and ecological breakdown. The Committee on Climate Change (https://www.theccc.org.uk/2020/06/25/covid-19-can-be-an-historic-turning-point-in-tackling-the-global-climate-crisis/) […]
Two Olympians use pink boat to blockade main entrance to Fawley Oil refinery as other activists swarm into site and scale two 50 foot oil silos Protestors demand Government listens to the people and bans all fossil fuels investments NOW Eco-campaigners have broken into ExxonMobil’s Fawley Oil terminal in Hampshire today (28 October), just three days […]