The Cost of Climate Change Protest

Last year the Metropolitan Police in London had to spend £27 million in policing protests by the extinction rebellion supporters. It is significantly more, it seems, than the police spend in London on its violent crime task force. The policing of extinction rebellion is not at all effective. Protesters are allowed to block major intersections and bridges. Recently they have dig up lawns in London and Cambridge causing criminal damage and dumped the soil elsewhere which is illegal fly tipping. These criminal activities are carried out under the watchful eye of the police who do not restrain these crimes committed by perpetrators that the police observe and could stop, if they were minded to carry out their duties.

But the £27 million was not the only cost. Tens of thousands of Londoners lost wages and leisure time due to the disruption caused. Many tens of thousands of carbon dioxide emissions and particulates were pumped into the atmosphere by cars blocked in traffic brought to a halt by extinction rebellion protests. The atmospheric pollution caused by the protesters and the environmental damage is substantial. It cannot be justified by their actions because their demands are nonsensical as we shall see.

Extinction Rebellion have three demands:

  1. Tell the Truth: truth in matters of such scientific complexity as climate change is not straightforward. Who is to “tell the truth” and who is telling the truth? Governments, scientists or the extinction protesters?
  2. Act now reduce emissions to net zero by 2025 is the demand but there is no solution offered as to how this can be achieved.
  3. Beyond Politics: government to be led by citizens’ assemblies. This is the most chilling demand of all as it seeks to subvert the democratic will of the people.

Now, the right to peaceful protest is an important right. In major cities there are laws about such protests which enable them to take place with the minimum of disruption. It is the job of the police to enforce these laws, made by democratically elected politicians; the police must not stand by while they observe serious crimes being committed. It brings to doubt the competence of the Commissioner, Cressida Dick and her judgment as well as the sincerity and true motivation of the leaders of extinction rebellion protesters.