Climate campaigners bring peaceful protest to Heathrow

Posted by bex - 25 February 2008 at 11:41am - Comments

Greenpeace campaigners unfurl a banner on the tailfin

Climate emergency - no third runway

As the banner on top of this London - Manchester flight says, we're in the middle of a climate emergency. The fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions in the UK is just about to get another boost from Brown's government. On Wednesday, the consultation on whether to nearly double the size of Heathrow by building a new runway will close, and the government looks set to cave in to the aviation industry.

This morning, four of our volunteers have climbed on top of a plane at Heathrow and are wrapping a banner around the tailfin. The plane - one of 32 flights every day between London and Manchester - had just arrived in Heathrow and the passengers had disembarked when four volunteers walked through the double doors at Heathrow Terminal One, crossing an area of tarmac and climbing onto the fuselage of the British Airways flight.

100,000 flights a year go between Heathrow and destinations that are easily reachable by train (the most popular destination is Paris - easily reachable by the Eurostar). And, looking at the price of train travel in Britain, it's understandable that some people are still choosing to fly. If the £9 billion tax subsidies the aviation industry receives to make flying cheaper and airports bigger were spent on making trains cheaper and better, we could reduce the environmental impact of Heathrow instead of vastly increasing it.

Security threat? Yes, we've exposed a security hole at Heathrow, but we've done it to expose the gaping hole on Brown's climate change policy. Brown's carrying on as though climate change has never happened. The planet's leading scientists are warning us we only have a few years left to get climate change emissions down, yet, if the aviation industry is allowed to expand as predicted, aviation alone would destroy any hope of hitting his emissions reductions targets.

There's still time to stop Heathrow expansion - add your voice to the roar of opposition, and come along to the rally at Westminster tonight.

 


Update: You can also write to Gordon Brown asking him to get serious about tackling climate change and stop Heathrow expansion.

 


Update: here's the video:

 

 

Brilliant! Getting fantastic coverage on TV all morning! Anna is coming across as very articulate and intelligent and the point is being well made!

Have the team been arrested? Do they need support at the Police station? I'm 20 minutes away and I'd like to come down and support.

Al

I was shocked when I read "one fo 32 flights every day between London and Manchester" - that's just indefensible. It takes 2 hours 11 minutes by train - which is city centre to city centre. Perhaps if they stopped flying such short distances we wouldn't 'need' all these new airports / runways. Well done on the protest!

http://www.kimondo.co.uk

Just posted to your last comment here. But to update everyone, all the activists have been arrested, no word on charges or where they are.

But you can join a rally against Heathrow expansion tonight.

I'm amazed they got through security to do this! Think of all those armed police wandering around the place. Respect to the activists and organizers for their success and for GP in getting this out to the press. I read about this in the Guardian just now.
I think the runway will be built. As has been stated, this has already been fixed by the so-called government. But governing is not what they are doing. They have sold out to big business and we are going to pay the reward. If the latest Pentagon report about climate is true, we should all be on the streets demanding change before it's too late. More here:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment
/2004/feb/22/usnews.theobserver
.

They should have been shot on sight! what a stupid idiotic thing to do! I hope they are charged under teh terrorism act for this! There are better ways to campaign than break the law!!! Like the eco friendly village that everybody are campaining about.... cant win!

I agree that 32 flights is too much esp when you have train, good motorway network and buses.

Nice work.

There is nothing inevitable about continued growth in air travel. The longer we continue our obsession with flying, the longer we continue to recklessly endanger the lives of those around the planet who are already being affected by the food insecurity, water shortages and extreme weather being caused by the shifts in global climate we are creating.

It comes down to a choice between stopping flying, particularly short haul, or cooking the planet.

it's a shame the planes engines weren't still running - you could have lost a supporter then.
Support the cause, but irresponsible action like this just works against you.
I like the way that your protesters wouldn't even answer the sky news question about taking domestic flights..smells a bit of Hypocrisy.

How many of you went to Bali for the climate change conference?

i wonder how many have been abroad, on an aircraft........

I’m sick of hearing about global warming caused by CO2. THERE IS NO PROVEN LINK!!!! And as for your moronic behaviour, what can I say? No wonder the majority of people cant stand you. I wish one of you fell off the plane, now that would have been news. Do your selves a favour and do some research into the global warming thing (something both you and the government would benefit from).

Geeky Prats!

This is a "publicity stunt" in the best possible sense. This news has been splashed across the media and now many thousands more people will be aware of the 3rd runway consultation and the fact that it ends on Wednesday.

If this gets even just one more response to the consultation it will have been worth it.

The proposed 3rd runway is wrong in so many ways and we must make this clear!

Why?

Rank_90.

Have you been in a coma for the past 20 years? I suggest you need to get out more...

'There is no proven link between CO2 and climate change' - I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, you accidentally wrote 'no' instead of 'a'.

Read a book.

Floonds.

That is the most idiotic thing I have ever seen. Your "volunteers" should be lucky they weren't shot dead by anti-terrorist police. It would have been justified too! I also hope the protestors are charged under the terrorism act.

I'm sorry, but by SUPPORTING this moronic behavior, Greenpeace are simply making themselves look incredibly lame and stupid. It's NOT raising awareness, it's NOT making people think about climate change, it's making people think about what a pointless organisation you are.

Don't get me wrong, I think climate change is an issue, but some of the ways you people are going about putting your points across are just pathetic. If a protestor had fallen off that plane it would have made my day.

I think it was a good thing. The press coverage is a good thing. They have also shown how easy it is for ANYONE to get past airport security. They are very brave and those saying the 4 are stupid really arent seeing the big picture.

I read that only 3% of global Co2 emissions are caused by aviation. So why is it such a big deal if it the fastest growing source? My theory is that groups like Greenpeace give a reason for being to people who lack meaning in their life. If global warming was solved tomorrow, they would all be devastated because there would be no 'just cause' to fight for any more.

Some people seem to think we're calling for all flying to stop, tomorrow. We're not - what we’re opposed to is Gordon Brown’s dash to double the size of Heathrow, in the face of climate change. If we don’t put a cap on emissions, at predicted rates of expansion the aviation industry will be emitting our total carbon budget by 2050. That means we wouldn't be able to emit C02 anywhere else in the country if we want to hit the emission reduction targets set by the government.

This isn't about telling people they can or can't fly. This is about stabilising the number of flights from UK airports, which is why we're calling for the government to stop all plans for airport expansion, for a ban on domestic flights, for a cap on long haul flights and for a transfer of the £9 billion subsidies the aviation industry gets over to rail, to make train travel better and cheaper (at the moment, per person, Britons emit more from flying than any other people on the planet...).

On Greenpeace's flying habits: We never take domestic flights in the UK or fly to continental destinations which are reachable by train in a day. We’re also making better use of video and phone conferencing but, yep, as an international organisation, it still is necessary for us to fly sometimes, unfortunately.

On irresponsibility: Journalists have gone into restricted zones in airports several times to expose security holes, and technicians walk on top of aircraft all the time. We just did it for different reasons: to expose government irresponsibility when it comes to climate change. We waited until all passengers had left the plane, and we told BAA of the protest just before the campaigners climbed onto the plane.

It's the government that's being irresponsible here - the consultation's a sham; the government's in bed with BAA to the extent that BAA actually wrote parts of the consultation document. The so-called consultation ignores the views of millions of Londoners and doesn’t even consider the (huge) climate change impacts of a new runway.

Cheers,

Bex
gpuk

I think its brilliant the lengths that they have gone to to protect this world - putting themselves in the position where they are bargaining their freedom for the sake of those around them. Well done and I hope the protest raises enough awareness about the third runway at Heathrow. Once again, well done and good luck! X:DX

I don't get why a 3rd runway is such a bad idea when Amsterdam Airport Schiphol already has 6 + a general aviation runway with another one planned. How can we compete with that with only two?

Hi Alex,

Although Schipol has six runways, a maximum of two are used at the same time. This is because of wind and the way the flight routes are set out. Therefore, in essence, Amsterdam only has two runways.

As for the others' comment "Greenpeace members take domestic flights" that's bull. Your volunteers this morning took a MAN-LHR flight?! What the hell? Engage brain before opening mouth.

What a bunch of crackpots,those activists could so easily have been shot off the roof of that plane by the heathrow police as suspect terrorists for staging such an ill conceived idiotic stunt.That was so dangerous and counter productive to the environmental cause.I hope the four of them get locked up for a considerable amount of time under anti terror laws.I for one will not support such an extremist organistion like Greenpeace anymore and will devote myself to other more worthwhile environmental organisations and issues from now on.

Quote from text "the most popular destination is Paris - easily reachable by the Eurostar"

Have you tried this from say Aberdeen or somewhere in Scotland?

FLIGHT
Flight - Aberdeen - Paris £97 incl taxes under 5 hours inc checkin, security flight

TRAIN
Train - Aberdeen - London £117 inc taxes
London - Paris - £114.50

So - to fly it will cost £97 but by train it will cost £231.50

and yes, that is the cheapest way and yes, both are return.

Would you greenpease people be willing to pay me the difference of £134.50? and that is for one person. So if it was a couple it would be a total of £194 flight or £463 train. with a difference of £269 which is more than double the price of the flight! so come on be real. Yes it is easily reachable (over 12 hours) but not convienient and defo not cheap!

People want to save money to have more money to spend on holiday - ask people what they would prefer and im pretty sure the majority would say to fly and save money AND time rather than be stuck in a train for hours and hours and hours

I would also edit your title from "Climate campaigners bring peaceful protest to Heathrow" to "Climate campaigners bring illegal peaceful protest to Heathrow" - or even better "Climate campaigners bring illegal, stupid and idotic protest to Heathrow"

The impact of flying on the climate has been muddied somewhat by industry propaganda. For example, they will frequently claim that aviation only contributes 2% of global carbon emissions, and state that this is a figure from the IPCC, the world's leading authority on climate change. This is almost true, but not quite. This is an IPCC figure, but from 1992, and emissions from aviation have been growing at around 4-5% a year. Furthermore, there's also the altitude issue - CO2 emitted at altitude has a bigger impact on the climate - and CO2 isn't the only greenhouse gas produced by aeroplanes.

There are so many factors to consider that it is quite a complex issue, but to avoid getting bogged down in the details of radiative forcing, Greenpeace accept the government's figures, which are that aviation contributes 13% of our climate impact.

However, the real issue here isn't the magnitude of the current problem, but the fact that it is growing so quickly, and that the government is encouraging this. Heathrow will almost double if they're allowed to go ahead with their plans, and if we want to maintain this growth and stick to the government's emissions targets, then we'll have to ban everything else which creates CO2 by around 2030; cars, cookers, computers, everything. That's not very likely, so the reality is that the government's aviation expansion plans mean that we just can't prevent catastrophic climate change. It's that simple.

Cheers,

graham, gpuk

not only was it stupid and an idiotic act. do they even begin to understand what other benefits the new runway will bring, other than the jobs the business and the continued growth of this country, but also cut the times that aircraft are circling the air and waiting on the ground cutting the amount of fuel burnt . we all know that global warming is coming but do this and just campaign about it is also stupid the airline business is here to stay and grow larger like it or not. as an aircraft design student i based alot of my work on changing aircraft to be more environmentally friendly and lessen the impact as it the industry expands just writing and looking into it at university has done alot more towards making the airline business a greener one than these fools get a life hippies
P.S
what a waste of police time as well

Do you not think 3% is a considerable amount? If it's growth can be prevented by sourcing money into different forms of transport surely this is a good thing.
If global warming was 'solved' tomorrow i am sure greenpeace and others would be very happy, and if they fancied supporting another cause they believed in, i'm sure they would. Supporting and taking action on anything you believe in is positive, someone who did not stand up to what they believed in would lack meaning.

I think that what ya [greenpeace] did was cool, but slightly foolish. I wouldnt climb on a plane myself, and risk getting done in by the police as a terrorist or something similar.

I wont go anywhere near planes anyway. I HATE them. They are awfull and are totally un-needed. if people want to get to another country, the might as well get a ship. i have only been on a plane twice in my life and never will again. They are so bad.

Anyway [as i was saying] i think that its well brave of you to actually get up on a plane and stand up for what ya believe in. You could of been shot, or something, but you stuck with it, even when the police came. i feel really pleased to think that people actually go to those lengths to save the environment. Its brilliant!!!!

Go Greenpeace!! keep up with the good work!!

How dare you insult greenpeace like that. I think what they did was slightly silly, but also totally cool! I am still at school, but i know what i want to do with my life. i want to become a zoologist but also want to join greenpeace fully [if they'll accept me] and help them with their campaigns to make the world a better place. I think that you have to be mad to think greenpeace is horrid. its not!! Itas well good!!!!!!

i get a load of rubbish from people in my year about greenpeace saying its stypid and all that, but i stick with what i believe and just tell them 'you'lle be thanking them in a few years, when the world is a better place!!'

Im totally ashamed that people in this world can think so negatively about greenpeace. i think its wonderfull!!

Go Greenpeace!! keep up with the good work!!

why change the title? it was peace full, and not really that idiotic atall. it was more risky than idiotic. i think that it was a pretty good idea!!
Who cares if it was illegal its doing something good, so it doesnt matter. i would go to any lengths to sop something i am so totally against!!!

Go Greenpeace!! keep up with the good work!!

Hi arabzac

On "the jobs and the business and the continued growth of this country". Firstly, a report published just last week suggests the government's seriously overstated the economic benefits of a third runway. Then there's the fact that any short term economic benefits of expanding Heathrow will be massively outweighed by the costs of climate change. (Last summer’s floods cost the UK £3bn, and extreme weather events like floods are expected to become much more regular.) And, obviously, investing in railways will also bring economic benefits - but much less damaging to the climate.

On environmentally friendly flights, big reductions in pollution from planes are decades away (according to an influential Royal Commission), by which time, say scientists, it will be too late to beat climate change - and any small efficiency savings on planes would be more than wiped out by unrestrained aviation expansion. The only way to make efficiency gains mean anything is to place a cap on the total number of flights.

Cheers,

Bex
gpuk

Macca

Yep, it's a rubbish state of affairs that flying's so much more expensive than trains and, with prices like that, it's not really surprising so many people choose to fly. Which is why we're not asking people not to fly - we're calling on government to transfer the £9 billion pound subsidy aviation gets over to making trains cheaper and better - a genuinely low carbon transport system.

On convenience / time - weigh that up against the impacts of climate change that are already happening (150,000 human deaths a year and counting, according to the UN - and one-third of all land-based species could face extinction within 50 years).

Cheers,

Bex
gpuk

I'd argue your point that the protest was dangerous. Firstly, we told BAA (the airport authority) what we were doing just before we climbed onto the plane. We also waited until all passengers had disembarked before boarding, so as not to scare them.

It's an accusation we often receive so I'm going to quote a comment from graham when he was responding to the same accusation on a completely different direct action:

We have about thirty offices around the world, all doing direct actions on a regular basis, and after every one representatives or sympathisers with the target industry or organisation claim that we are recklessly putting people’s lives at risk. So, if so many people are telling us this, why aren’t Greenpeace listening?

Well, we always respond that we plan these things very carefully in accordance with our core principle of non-violence so that no-one, neither our activists nor the target nor any third parties, are put at risk. We exist to change opinions, and we’re fully aware that deaths or serious injuries wouldn’t help our cause.

So who do you believe? Well, fortunately it doesn’t have to come down to trust – using the internet, anyone can pretty easily find out how often activists and others are killed or seriously injured on Greenpeace actions. Have a look for yourself, then see if you can find any job, occupation or hobby which is safer, statistically, than taking part in a Greenpeace action.

If you still maintain that we are irresponsibly reckless, and the lack of accidents is merely down to a thirty year lucky streak, well, perhaps we’ve got someone watching over us.

Cheers,

Bex
gpuk

personally bex, i'd prefer to fly due to saving the money - but i do see the point of GP too.

The problem is though, is with GP doing so many stupid stunts, its giveing itself a bad name.

How many peopel supported GP before this stunt and now? It was like fathers for justice - loads of people supported it, untill it went further and further and finally was closed down as an organistation.

Same will happen to GP if it continues.

While we need to get carbons down, we need to look at it in another way and come up with other plans rather than asking the goverment to do things such as get a plan together.

You say that trains could be cheaper and better - but in what way? Do you mean electic trains or diesel? If you're talking electirc then what will power the line? Perosnally i'd say neuclear power as its cleaner than what we have and can power alot more than 1 windfarm yet people are against it.

So lets look at power for a second (as we need this to power the lines)

Windfarms - kill birds? how many farms would it take to do the entire ECML/WCML?

Nuclear - clean and can power much much more than anything else - people against it for some reason

coal - too much carbons

water currnets - so many flaws it wouldnt be feesable imo

so what else?

Im not trying to be rude, (i have learning difficulties so am trying to understand at same time) and if we can get something, then i'd back it.

What i wont back is stunts like what you done with the aircraft (could have damaged any part of it including the alerons) -

i have a question to the people on the plane though - how would you feel, if that plane you jumped on, was to crash and kill all on board? knowing you were on board that exact plane at the tailfin, the fact that it crashed, would you not feel guilty in the fact you COULD have done something without meaning to?

What i'd suggest, is not to bother about the 3rd runway - it will happen no matter what but to start getting the goverment to get more cars withLPG, and start getting more LPG filling stations about the UK. Not only is it cheaper but its much more enviromently friendly :)

50 million cars on the road pumping out diesel and petrol with about 2% on LPG or would you like 50 million cars on the road with approx 75% on LPG. Yeah, i know you'd like less cars on the road full stop but that just wont ever happen.

Buses too - why are they black diesel? why not LPG themself? then we have taxis - dont get me started on them!

How long, do we have before the world is "doomed"? You mention 5o years and other people say 100 years and even 200 years and even that a few scientists have said its BS

As for the 150,000 deaths per year - how many of that 150,000 are from old age? illness? nothing to do with pollutions.

what a post i put on! lol sorry, its long i know!

Until people begin to take some initiative and realise what a problem a warming climate is, nothing will happen.

How is what Greenpeace have done a 'Stupid waste of time'?

There is still too many people out there who still don't quite seem to have woken up to this serious issue.

Yes there are other contributors to climate change, but the expansion of Heathrow is a major set-back in reducing our and the world's emissions.

I myself think it is quite selfish of some people who think that this is not an issue or a problem we should have to deal with, when it quite obviously is.

Danny.

if anyone takes a closer look at the aviation industry they will see that alot of the new research and development is based on greener more efficient aircraft. this is probably more to do with the price of oil mind.
and unfortunately for me i am a big user (sufferer) of British public transport and i cant see it being any where near as good quick or as cheap as flying say from Aberdeen to Manchester any time in the near future but i use public transport for domestic travel as its more green than driving but its way to expensive to use for long journeys and i use lenor small and mighty i do care about the environment.
i think if people are forced off these domestic short flights the majority would drive them rather than take public transport and do we need any more cars on the road? i dont think so
yes i think the aviation industry can be greener but this can be achieved when the carbon trading scheme is introduced.
i know that clean flying aircraft are 20-30 years away but they are moving towards that. until then we are all going to have to turn off lights unplug unused electrical equipment and recycle.
and drive our cars less as these are the biggest contributors to global warming. until then aviation has to be alowed, like any other business, to expand at the rate it does.

"Who cares if it was illegal its doing something good, so it doesnt matter"

So, its okay for somebody to break the law aslong as its good?

So it would be okay for somebody to shoot a child dead because that child killed somebody else?

So it would be okay for you to run over a person because they accidently ran over somebody you know?

So it would be okay for you commit armed robbery and rob a bank as you are giving the money to charity?

Fact is - illegal is illegal. no right or wrong, it is pure 100% illegal so for you to say who cares if it was illegal as it was doing something good, need to learn the law.

The good old "who cares if it is illegal, it is doing something good" in court will work well

garyh well done to the volunteers.gordon brown and his cronies,need to put the future of the planet first. browns lies about bringing emissions down, and is only interested in lining the pockets of BAA and its shareholders.

Hey Floonds.

Seriously there are shed loads of scientist, and I mean shed loads of them being persecuted for their theories that the causes are entirely natural and this climb in temperature has happened before (obviously not in the last 20 year Floonds but stay with me) , they have actually gone further back than that and proven that the earth has experienced symptoms / patterns such as we are experiencing. Theses dates were pre car and planes! I know! Scary that you’re all talking crap isn’t it! But no one wants to believe them because this Global warming crap is supplying jobs and is probably the fastest growing religion today.

Morons! (especially you Floonds)

Way to go guys. Seriously lets climb on top of a plane to make a point. In a post 9/11 era or any era that sounds like a stupid idea. If these people are not arrested and prosecuted like terrorists that will be the biggest hypocracy of all. Just because climate change is a huge problem does not give idiots the right to climb on planes. And because you informed the BAA before hand doesn't make it any better. Rent a billboard if you want to do something peaceful. This protest just makes you all look like a bunch of morons.

Security that bad at Heathrow these days is it?

I have an issue with what you said....

this is what you said....''So, its okay for somebody to break the law aslong as its good?

So it would be okay for somebody to shoot a child dead because that child killed somebody else?

So it would be okay for you to run over a person because they accidently ran over somebody you know?

So it would be okay for you commit armed robbery and rob a bank as you are giving the money to charity?''

I didnt mean it like that. i was basically saying that I would do anything, EVEN if it was illegal, to save the world. i DIDNT mean that everything that is illegal is o.k if youre doing it for a good cause. I DO know the laws though

sorry i didnt explain it clearly.

No hard feelings? please? i like to keep peace with other people!!

Go Greenpeace!! keep up with the good work!!

You lot are a bunch of idiotic flatfoots if that aircraft had been damaged by your tree hugging friends you would have been liable for the deaths of everyone on board when it crashed. I want to put your pet in a blender and trick you into drinking it.
thanks hippie prats, for giving us all someone to laugh at.

Rank_90

Yep, you're correct. The climate's temperature has risen and dropped many times before us, and our cars and planes.

But...

What you'll find is, each time this has happened there has been a link between concentrations of CO2 and the global temperature.

You will also find that the temperature has never gone as high as it is now, and if it continues to go up.

It's always good to keep an open mind but I think until it is proven that it is not 'Man-made' we should do all we can to help reduce it.

Don't you agree?

Floonds.

I only read a few of the comments, and some of them were really stupid. I think you morons who are saying Greenpeace are extremists should just bog off and get a life.

If GP are extremists, why are they not supporting Sea Shepherd in the anti-whaling fight on the grounds that SS are extremists? Check facts before sounding off!

Greenpeace rule, and always will.

They arent supporting sea shepherd because sea shepherd are idiots who use violence!! I HATE SEA SHEPHERD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Go Greenpeace!! keep up with the good work!!

Brilliant! Getting fantastic coverage on TV all morning! Anna is coming across as very articulate and intelligent and the point is being well made! Have the team been arrested? Do they need support at the Police station? I'm 20 minutes away and I'd like to come down and support. Al

I was shocked when I read "one fo 32 flights every day between London and Manchester" - that's just indefensible. It takes 2 hours 11 minutes by train - which is city centre to city centre. Perhaps if they stopped flying such short distances we wouldn't 'need' all these new airports / runways. Well done on the protest! http://www.kimondo.co.uk

Just posted to your last comment here. But to update everyone, all the activists have been arrested, no word on charges or where they are. But you can join a rally against Heathrow expansion tonight.

I'm amazed they got through security to do this! Think of all those armed police wandering around the place. Respect to the activists and organizers for their success and for GP in getting this out to the press. I read about this in the Guardian just now. I think the runway will be built. As has been stated, this has already been fixed by the so-called government. But governing is not what they are doing. They have sold out to big business and we are going to pay the reward. If the latest Pentagon report about climate is true, we should all be on the streets demanding change before it's too late. More here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment /2004/feb/22/usnews.theobserver.

They should have been shot on sight! what a stupid idiotic thing to do! I hope they are charged under teh terrorism act for this! There are better ways to campaign than break the law!!! Like the eco friendly village that everybody are campaining about.... cant win!

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