Extinction Rebellion (XR) has announced it is pausing its campaign of civil disruption in 2023 but vowed to continue to protest against the “abuse of power” by vested interests.
Hundreds of members of the environmental group have been arrested for causing disruption to further political action on climate change. On Sunday (Jan 1) XR said it will “temporarily” move away from using disruption as a principle tactic.
In their statement, titled “We quit”, Extinction Rebellion said that in the four years since it formed very little has changed, with greenhouse gas emissions continuing to rise.
The Met Office confirmed last week that 2022 will be the hottest year on record. Provisional figures show every month was warmer than average, apart from December which experienced a period of minus temperatures.
Record temperatures above 40C were recorded in the UK in July, causing wildfires and issuance of a red weather warning. The Met Office’s senior climate scientist Dr Mark McCarthy said the extreme heat would be “extremely unlikely in the pre-industrial period – the era before humanity started emitting lots of greenhouse gases.”
Extinction Rebellion to surround parliament with 100,000 people
In its statement, XR said: “As we ring in the new year, we make a controversial resolution to temporarily shift away from public disruption as a primary tactic.”
“What’s needed now most is to disrupt the abuse of power and imbalance, to bring about a transition to a fair society that works together to end the fossil fuel era.
“Our politicians, addicted to greed and bloated on profits, won’t do it without pressure.”
In its statement XR said: “This year, we prioritise attendance over arrest and relationships over roadblocks, as we stand together and become impossible to ignore.”
The response must be “radical”, the group said, adding: “In a time when speaking out and taking action are criminalised, building collective power, strengthening in number and thriving through bridge-building is a radical act.”
New legislation to curb protests
An Extinction Rebellion protestor is facing trial for criminal damage following a Court of Appeal ruling on December 20. Gail Bradbrook is accused of smashing a plate-glass window costing £27,500 at the Department of Transport building in London.
The Court of Appeal ruled on whether a protestor can rely on a human rights defence when they are accused of criminal damage.
New legislation is currently in the Lords that will create criminal offences for “locking on” or “going equipped to lock on” – where protestors attach themselves to buildings and infrastructure to cause disruption.
Conviction will carry a maximum six months in jail or unlimited fine.
Just Stop Oil calls on cops and judges to ‘defect’
Just Stop Oil, which formed in February and blocked motorways and roads as part of its protests, signalled it will continue with its tactics to force action on climate change.
It has appealed to judges and police officers to “defect” to their side and join the cause, calling it “the only moral course” for the judiciary and law enforcement to take.
“You don’t have to arrest brave students and pensioners. You don’t have to lock up these courageous, skilled, loving members of society.
“If you choose to do that, know what you’re doing. You’re working for death, not life. For power and profit, not care and reason. Is that what you want your life’s legacy to be?
“If you make that terrible choice, you are complicit in signing the death sentences of billions of people in the years to come. You are allowing the breakdown of law and order on your watch. You will be complicit in genocide.
“In 2023, defection and resistance … are the only moral course of action for police and judiciary to take. The actions Just Stop Oil supporters take would not be acceptable under normal circumstances, but right now, ordinary people are left with no choice.
“This is not about polar bears and puffins, it’s about who gets to eat and how we will survive. Under British law, people have a legal right to protect themselves, to protect the legacy of their ancestors who came before them and to protect the common inheritance of the people yet to come.”