Break­ing the law may be next for cli­mate con­trol

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HOW to push green is­sues up the po­lit­i­cal agenda is a ques­tion that has ex­er­cised en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists for decades. Do dark warn­ings about car­bon emis­sions and the need to pro­tect forests and oceans, mo­ti­vate peo­ple to act, or scare them off?

Opin­ion is di­vided, as events of the past week have il­lus­trated. In ad­vance of his lat­est wildlife tele­vi­sion se­ries, Dy­nas­ties, David At­ten­bor­ough said at the week­end that too many warn­ings about en­dan­gered species are a “real turn-off”. A few days ear­lier, the ac­tivist group Ex­tinc­tion Re­bel­lion launched a cam­paign of civil dis­obe­di­ence by

Civil dis­obe­di­ence is the fi­nal op­tion for ac­tivists

de­mand­ing a zero-car­bon econ­omy by 2025. Writ­ing in ad­vance of a protest in Lon­don where 15 peo­ple ar­rested, Green MEP Molly Scott Cato said she and oth­ers have been driven to break the law af­ter spend­ing years of be­ing ig­nored. Elected politi­cians, goes the ar­gu­ment, have failed, as have busi­nesses and other or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal char­i­ties. Car­bon emis­sions and bio­di­ver­sity loss are out of con­trol. The “unimag­in­able hor­rors” of unchecked warm­ing and habi­tat de­struc­tion mean more rad­i­cal tac­tics that are morally jus­ti­fied by pro­test­ers.

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