Thirteen protesters who chained themselves to London Heathrow’s northern runway to oppose airport expansion have narrowly escaped jail Wednesday.
Despite earlier warnings they could face custodial sentences, the group were given six weeks suspended sentences, after receiving huge support from green groups, politicians and concerned citizens who gathered outside court today, chanting Prime Minister David Cameron’s election promise – “no ifs, no buts… no third runway”.
Aviation emissions are rising globally, while new UN rules to curb emissions have been labelled “too weak to have a meaningful impact,” and with legally binding commitments to cut emissions 80 per cent by 2050, airport expansion could undermine the UK’s national targets as well as its commitment under the UN climate agreement made in Paris last December.
But Heathrow is just one battleground and as support for the climate movement grows globally, 2016 will see more and more people are preparing to take action against dirty energy and join the unstoppable movement accelerating the shift away from a fossil fuel culture towards a safer, cleaner future.
- “No ifs, no buts… no third runway”. London’s Heathrow airport already produces illegal levels of air pollution. An additional runway is expected to treble Heathrow’s air pollution – bringing huge health impacts – and could make the airport on of the UK’s biggest single sources of carbon dioxide. Committing to a new runway would leave the UK falling short of its own commitment to cut emissions 80 per cent by 2050, and its contribution to the Paris Agreement.
- Airport expansion is inconceivable in a Post-Paris World. Aviation accounts for between two and five per cent of CO2 emissions globally, a figure which would could rise to 22 per cent of global emissions by 2050 as the industry grows. In Europe alone, aviation emissions are expected to almost double by 2035. This is inconsistent with experts warnings that these emissions must hit near-zero if world leaders are to keep their Paris promise of limiting warming “well-below 2DegC”.
- The calls for climate action are louder than ever. People from all walks of life are already choosing a clean energy future, and from the UK to France, to Turkey, concerned citizens are opposing dangerous airport expansion. As the renewable transition gets stronger and faster in a post-Paris world, people from around the globe will come together this spring to target the fossil fuel industry and strengthen their call for a clean and safe energy future.