Drax29 - climate activists on trial

Last June, 29 people stopped a train loaded with coal that was heading for Drax power station. Today their trial began at Leeds Crown Court.

Drax power station is the largest single source of carbon dioxide emissions in the British Isles. There is overwhelming evidence that carbon dioxide emissions are the cause of climate change which is already causing environmental devastation across the globe [0]. Unless carbon dioxide emissions are massively and urgently reduced, climate chaos is likely to lead to an irreversible collapse of the Earth's ecosystem.

Today emergency health warnings were being broadcast about the latest potentially fatal heatwave to hit the UK [1].

The UK government and power industry have dragged their feet throughout efforts to bring emissions down to safe levels, or even to reduce their rate of growth. Despite decades of reassurances from government and industry, the UK is producing more emissions now than ever. In the face of this global emergency, it's a source of great hope (perhaps our only hope) that a small but growing number of people are willing to take matters into their own hands at great personal risk.

The "Drax 29" are twenty-nine ordinary people who took direct action against the fossil fuel madness last summer. As was widely-reported at the time [2] [3] [4] [5], they stopped a train-load of coal on its way to the power station.

The defendants are unable to discuss the bizarre strictures imposed on their defense until after the trial. They arrived by bicycle at Leeds Crown Court today. A large crowd gathered outside to show their support, with banners saying, "Burning coal is killing us," "Stopping climate change is not a crime," and "Drax power station kills 180 people per year."

One of the people who came to show their support said, "Direct action is the only option left, everything else has been tried and failed. What people need to understand is that this is an emergency."

The trial is expected to last up to two weeks.

[0] United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
http://www.ipcc.ch/

[1] NHS: Heatwave amber alert
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Summerhealth/Pages/Heatwaveamberalert.aspx

[2] Leave it in the Ground: Drax Coal Train Halted
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield/2008/06/401022.html

[3] Pictures from Drax train action
http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/leedsbradford/2008/06/401011.html

[4] Guardian: Climate change protesters hijack coal train
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jun/13/activists.climatechange

[5] BBC: Climate protest halts coal train
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/north_yorkshire/7452395.stm