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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Police Statement

My name is Kevin Lister, and I am writing this statement in response to my arrest in August of 2010 on charges of fraud and criminal damage.

I was interviewed in August 2010 were I answered all questions put. I was first bailed to appear in October, then November, then January, then March and now April. No charges have yet been pressed against me and this statement is in preparation for my return bail hearing on the 12th April and in place of any interview.

The fraud allegation was made against me because of a spoof web site that I posted which purported that the Air Show in 2010 would be the last Air Show ever due to concerns about the carbon foot print of an event such as this. I posted this to challenge the legality and morality of an event of this nature which is both highly polluting and is an advertisement for other highly polluting industries and ways of life. Despite the supposedly charitable nature of the event, one of its charitable objectives was "to support aviation in all its guises." It should be noted that aviation doubles greenhouse gas emissions every 17 years whilst simultaneously enjoying high degrees of tax protection; it therefore hardly warrants charitable support.

It is now clear that the planet, our home, is on target to exceed the worst case scenarios of the 2007 IPCC report (ref 1). Latest measurements show CO2 levels in the atmosphere are increasing at the rate of 3.4% per annum, which will lead to a doubling of CO2 within 20 years. (ref 2). With this rate of increase it is inconceivable that the planet will still be habitable at the end of this century. Recent ideas on super exponential growth of CO2 emissions are further reinforcing this argument (ref 3) and indicate we have even less time to act than we previously thought.

Therefore the requirement for all people to speak out about the injustice of climate change grows by the day as the science solidifies and every new piece of emerging evidence supports the worst case conclusion. In fact, it is a moral obligation to speak out; to quote both George Osborne and Barrack Obama, “we are all in this together.” Furthermore, staying quiet is not an option as being quiet is effectively being complicit to the ecocidal destruction of our planet.

Despite the overwhelming evidence of the science, it is still legal and acceptable by large corporations to add to the planet's pollution overload. Not only is it legal to add to the planet's pollution load, but the legal system as it is currently structured actively supports this aberration by making any attempt to make effective protest a criminal act.

Our legal system, and that of the Western word was initially based on the protection of rights for the individual. Equivalent legal protection for corporations was only granted towards the end of the industrial revolution, which gave the corporation the legal status of a “fictional person.” This was given without any proper legal, moral or economic consideration.

Treating corporations as a fictional person arms them with constitutional prerogatives designed to protect people, yet corporations do not have to consider the moral implications of their actions and it is these moral implications which normally acts as a natural constraint to human actions. They are therefore free to maximise profits, irrespective of the damage they do in the process.

The balance of power to the corporation is further reinforced by the strict liability clause. As a consequence of this clause the human being who is suffering at the hand of the corporation can be at risk of imprisonment for protest, yet the corporation can not be imprisoned for its damages as it is only a fictional person.

When the concept of fictional person was introduced, there was no concept of runaway climate change, no concept of peak oil and resource depletion and no concept of the necessary reduction of liberties due to over population. It is therefore wholly incompatible with the environmental reality of today.

By allowing corporations equal rights to people yet subjecting them to lesser punishment, legal imbalances automatically develop, which people are now experiencing across the planet. This is leading to growing discontent and anger across all stratas of society, especially amongst those people that have  made all the possible sacrifices to their lifestyles that their governments have asked of them in their attempts to be responsible global citizens and to reduce their CO2 emissions, or are already suffering as a direct consequence of climate change.

I site my own unsuccessful experiences of using the available legal channels to try and effect the the changes necessary to stop corporations abusing their right to pollute;

  1. Gloucestershire Police were unprepared to investigate a fraud claim against Gloucestershire Airport after they falsely claimed they would impose a 4,000 tonne annual limit on their CO2 ceiling to achieve planning consent, yet simultaneously presented a conservative business case to the Council for funding that at a minimum would produce 7,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum.
  2. The Advertising Standards Agency would not act on my complaints regarding misleading Airbus adverts in the National Geographic that falsely claimed Airbus was working towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions, when they are selling A380 Super Jumbos as private jets.
  3. The serious Fraud Office would not act on complaints against the pro-aviation lobby group Flying Matters who falsely claimed that the aviation industry will be able to reduce its emissions by 2050 to 2000 levels, despite their intention to triple growth over this same period and who also claimed that a result of their false lobbying environmental taxes were dropped.

Given the above failures, my arrest under the fraud act is wholly inappropriate and serves to demonstrates a one sided application of the law, where corporations are clearly given more protection that the citizens for whom the law is ultimately supposed to protect.

By definition of the fraud act, I am guilty if I intend to cause loss through false representation. However, the objective of the web site was not about intending to cause loss to another. Instead the objective of the web site is to encourage the Air Tattoo and its supporters to join with the others that are already making the sacrifices necessary to minimise our collective CO2 footprints.

The world wide distribution of income demonstrates the top 5% of society create 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions through their excess consumption. It is hard to think of any event that more blatantly supports the immoral concept of excess consumption than the Air Tattoo, yet cutting excess consumption is the quickest, least environmentally damaging and most socially acceptable method of making greenhouse gas emission cuts. Thus contrary to the assertion that my action is intended to cause loss, in reality my action is intended to prevent the biggest loss to us all which is the loss of the environment and for which there is no legal protection against the perils of climate change.

Given the above facts which outline that the law is not fit for purpose in addressing the challenges of climate change and that my act was intended to prevent a far greater loss from which none of us can escape, I will make no further comment during any further police interview on the issue of fraud.

As regards the criminal damage charges for defacing the advertising banners with CO2 logos, there is no evidence linking me to these crimes and I will plead not guilty.

References:

Note 1


Note 2


Note 3

Super exponential growth in CO2 emissions: http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1101/1101.2832v2.pdf

Note 4

Correspondence with Flying Matters
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