More than 20 scientists were detained by UK police on Wednesday after a protest outside the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in Victoria Street, London.
Eight scientists from Scientists for XR glued their hands onto the glass facade of the building, while others pasted scientific papers and quotations, which they say government representatives have completely ignored in the latest Energy Security Strategy document published last week.
The protest was part of a week of actions called by Extinction Rebellion.
Real Media interviewed several scientists at the scene, including Professor Jeff Waage OBE, an eminent ecologist who has been an advisor to governments for many years and specialises in agriculture, environment and food systems, and Dr. Emily Cox, a social science post-doctoral researcher into public perception of climate, energy and environment.
The evidence from the scientists is overwhelmingly that the government knows the gravity of the situation and understands the policy solutions we urgently need. But it is ignoring urgent calls from the IPCC, the UN Secretary General, and the International Energy Agency, instead pushing ahead with licensing new oil and gas exploration for years to come, mainly because of lobbying by some of the richest and most powerful fossil-fuel corporations.
Our media (for much the same reason – strong financial connections with powerful corporations) is massively downplaying the climate and ecological crisis, but the government’s own studies have shown that the UK public is overwhelmingly in favour of moving to renewable energies.
Among the scientists detained by police was Emma Smart, an ecologist, who was also one of the Highway 9 Insulate Britain activists who spent time in prison over Christmas for breaking the government’s controversial private injunction. Although the other scientists were released (some charged with criminal damage), she has been held without bail at Charing Cross police station, awaiting a court appearance possibly on Saturday morning. She is refusing food and water in protest.
Following on from the action at Shell’s London HQ last week, once again our government, beholden to fossil fuel oligarchs, is clamping down on peaceful protest and imprisoning scientists rather than listening to them.