'Why we occupied Norfolk County Council meeting' - arrested climate change campaigners speak out
PUBLISHED: 10:48 13 February 2019 | UPDATED: 11:32 13 February 2019
Four members of the campaign group Extinction Rebellion were arrested after staging a four hour protest in Norfolk County Council's chamber on Monday. Here they explain why they took that action.
“We are living in an emergency. Climate change is happening far faster and its effects may be far worse than anyone had previously thought.
“The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, made up of experts, last year warned that we have just 12 years to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
“Anything above that level of warming would mean catastrophic damage to life on earth.
“At 2°C of warming, large parts of Great Yarmouth would disappear under rising seas. At 3°C or 4°C, the whole town would be gone.
“Couple rising seas with more extreme weather events like the deadly wildfires that killed hundreds last year and with the decimation of insect populations, and we risk mass extinction.
“What are our politicians doing about this emergency? The primary duty of any government is to protect its citizens.
“Our leaders are not only failing to protect us by not acting to mitigate climate change, they are actively making the crisis worse.
“Norfolk County Council wants to spend upwards of £160m on the Norwich Western Link Road, investing in more polluting cars, when all the evidence shows that we have to drastically cut carbon emissions from transport if we are to limit temperature rises.
“In a democracy such as the one we are lucky to live in, politicians have a duty to act as leaders and to acknowledge when crisis is coming, not hide their heads in the sand and pretend that our safety is not their responsibility.
“Until that happens, we are willing to put our bodies and our liberty on the line, to draw attention to the emergency.
“We are not and do not want to be antidemocratic. We are willing to talk to councillors and other politicians; we have already been talking to them, repeatedly.
“But they must wake up to the real, immediate nature of the threat.
“The day-to-day business of the council will not stop because of our actions on Monday, February 11. But climate change is not something that can be relegated to being dealt with another day. Acting on the climate emergency cannot be postponed for another day.
“The clock is ticking and every day of continued denial makes it harder to deal with.
“We know that the solutions to the crisis are there. Investing in warmer homes, green jobs, cleaner energy, public transport and public services instead of spending hundreds of millions to support polluters means a better world for all of us, and for our children.
“We ask the council to acknowledge that. We are doing this for our children and yours.”
Three of the protesters were cautioned by police. Mr Possnett, 57, from Great Barton in Suffolk has been charged with a public order offence and bailed to Norwich Magistrates Court on Friday, March 15.