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Extinction Rebellion: How might ministers win over the protesters?–Harrabin

April 23, 2019

By Paul Homewood



Harrabin is off in the clouds again!


Protests by Extinction Rebellion’s seemingly inexhaustible army of activists made plenty of headlines last week.

They say politicians are out of touch with climate reality. But what do they want, and can ministers realistically make it happen?

Let’s consider XR’s three core demands: for the government to "tell the truth about climate change", to create a citizens’ assembly to oversee progress, and to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025.

  • If Mrs May regularly referred to a "climate crisis" or "climate emergency", that might fulfil their wish that the government should "tell the truth"
  • A citizens’ assembly looks unlikely, especially during the current constitutional mayhem of Brexit
  • The third objective of cutting CO2 emissions to almost zero by 2025 is surely unachievable.

So, if not all this, then what?

This weekend, I asked environmentalists on Twitter for their suggestions about what ministers can do to show XR they mean business.

Here – in no particular order – is my summary of some of the responses, with my own micro-analysis along the way.


I’m not quite sure who his environmentalist chums are, but they seem pottier than him judging by their replies, not least because they seem to think their ideas will make the slightest difference, or why ministers should want to convince this tiny motley band of middle class hippies.


But the final item is the one which really stands out:




Should the BBC be employing anybody who even thinks that capitalism should be overthrown?

  1. Charles Wardrop permalink
    April 23, 2019 7:13 pm

    Shocked, horrified but, I am afraid, not surprised!

  2. Broadlands permalink
    April 23, 2019 7:27 pm

    “….for the government to ‘tell the truth about climate change’, to create a citizens’ assembly to oversee progress, and to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025.”

    Again, the truth is that lowering emissions to zero does not lower CO2 already in the atmosphere. Nothing can do that long-term in the amounts required. CCS technology can only remove CO2 in the millions of tonnes, not the billions required. One ppmv of oxidized carbon is almost eight billion tonnes of CO2 to bury. Eight thousand million?

    That’s the truth that is missing while overseeing the progress that will be slow, regardless.

    • bobn permalink
      April 24, 2019 12:38 am

      And CO2 does not change climate ! So the truth is its all fighting them dragons (which dont exist by the way!)

  3. April 23, 2019 7:32 pm

    “How might ministers win over the protesters ?”

    By capitulating & giving in to all demands (current & future) & then taxing the rest of us to pay for the dismantling of our society; & if our glorious leaders think they can stay at the feeding bowl for a few more yrs…that’s exactly what they’ll do.

  4. The Man at the Back permalink
    April 23, 2019 7:36 pm

    Why would anyone at the BBC be keen on capitalism? Money just turns up when you need it.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      April 23, 2019 7:39 pm

      Not from me it won’t, I’ve finally had enough. Expires at end of April. Good riddance.

    • April 23, 2019 10:05 pm

      The BBC is the Civil Service broadcaster. They are keen on anything that benefits civil servants, maximises their number and serves their mean little civil servant interests.

  5. MrGrimNasty permalink
    April 23, 2019 7:37 pm

    It’s quite bizarre, the BBC is backing a full on anti-capitalist Marxist totalitarian coup attempt.

    Did they back the Occupy movement etc. before they morphed into XR?

    And why should we listen to a naive manipulated child (Greta – who the BBC also love) telling us to listen to the scientists, anymore than we should listen to the BBC and the eco-fascists and the scientists saying listen to the scientists?

    They don’t mean listen to ALL scientists anyway, they mean the political scientists who promote full on CAGW and none of the others.

    • Peter Plail permalink
      April 23, 2019 9:21 pm

      And they shut down debate so that the great unwashed don’t get to hear that there is a lot of dispute about the accuracy of the computer models that are the sole cause whole scam.

    • Kestrel27 permalink
      April 23, 2019 9:55 pm

      I don’t like to be nasty to or about children but on this occasion I think it’s necessary. Greta Thunberg is 16; she is a naive child who knows zip about anything including climate change. Typically of someone of her age she sees everything in stark black and white terms with no balance and no nuance. To see our politicians fawning over her as if she was some sort of Messiah is deeply depressing and, indeed, sickening.

      • alexei permalink
        April 24, 2019 2:03 am

        Actually, today it was the BBC World Service fawning all over her during a lengthy slot over here in the US. At this point, I’m just waiting for her to be anointed as a saint….
        Btw, the reason she sees everything in black and white is that she’s autistic and actually considers this to be a positive advantage over most people because she claims it enables her to see through lies! I kid you not. And that wasn’t the only advantage she claimed having over the rest of us; at this rate, I think someone needs to take her down a peg or two…

      • alexei permalink
        April 24, 2019 3:26 am

        Mea culpa,
        Greta has Asperger’s, not autism.

      • April 24, 2019 4:41 am

        Not nasty enough. Greta’s mum published a book in August 2018 berating the Swedish government for a) failing to provide her daughter with the educational assistance she needed, and b) failing to act on climate change. In October Greta started her strike. In December the paperback version of her mum’s book came out, with Greta on the cover. Later this year mum and daughter are writing a book together. Translation rights in several languages are being negotiated.
        Greta told the Graun she’s autistic, and that’s why she can tell when people are not telling the truth.

  6. It doesn't add up... permalink
    April 23, 2019 7:41 pm

    The petition to investigate the BBC nears its debate in Parliament threshold:

    Mind you, by the time you read this, the petition above it calling for Parliament to be prorogued will have got there.

  7. Bidefordcamel permalink
    April 23, 2019 7:43 pm

    Indeed Paul, that last suggestion exposes what this lot really desire – a government that follows a Marxist ideology. We’ve seen it before, left wing activism masquerading as a protest movement – CND, Stop the War and now Climate Change.
    The other offerings are barmy beyond belief.
    Farmers will effectively have to stop producing food and the rest of us will have to live in darkness without heating so the grid can cope with all those electric cars.

  8. belsay bugle permalink
    April 23, 2019 7:43 pm

    They don’t want to hear the truth.
    The problem is the political class doesn’t want to hear it either.
    Nobody in authority (apart from you Mr Homewood) is telling them the truth.

    So the only issue between the authorities and the eco-loons is the measures to be taken ‘to combat climate change’.

    That’s why these naughty children are behaving like this. The delinquent loves the policeman, but here the policeman is just as delinquent as they are. So they push and push and find that there is nothing to restrain them and so they fall into existential despair.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      April 24, 2019 9:59 am

      Politicians are in broadcast mode where they expect you to listen to their great words but not to offer any kind of information in return. In their view, Paul has no authority and more importantly, no prestige. Brexit has shown us how broken our system is where 3 years on the same lies and ignorance are still circulating in the lame media, in academia, in think tanks and in what passes for a brain in MPs. All the correct information is in various blogs but without prestige you are not allowed in the bubble.

  9. April 23, 2019 7:48 pm

    “Severity of the crisis in nature”. Huh, this concept has gone from nowhere to MSM obsession in the space of a few years. Even the Daily Telegraph has adopted it, such as today they have several photos taken by Prince Harry, all of which show animals in wilderness settings, but the article claims that they show the “plight of the planet”. They also have an article by William Hague, regurgitating alarmist soundbites, and the usual dull litany of tripe about the energy transition, electric car batteries and carbon offsets.

    • April 24, 2019 12:33 am

      Yesterday young climate loon William Hague got a kicking in the comments after his telegraph article and on Twitter
      which said “The time for denial is over. Conservatives have to take the climate crisis seriously”.

      • Derek Buxton permalink
        April 24, 2019 9:40 am

        This “government take climate change far too seriously and the poor and vulnerable are paying the price. Time to stop it once and for all.

  10. Douglas Brodie permalink
    April 23, 2019 7:55 pm

    This afternoon MPs debated an urgent question from Ed Miliband praising Extinction Rebellion and calling on the government to declare a “climate emergency”. The overwhelming majority of the speakers were on the opposition/left-wing benches, by and large the same democracy-denying economic incompetents who are determined to thwart Brexit. I never thought I would ever see the day when climate minister Claire Perry was one of the very few voices of sanity amongst the overwhelming majority of hysterical muppets calling on the government to commit economic suicide even faster than already planned under the Climate Change Act.

    • Broadlands permalink
      April 23, 2019 9:17 pm

      “…calling on the government to declare a “climate emergency”. Well, OK, it’s an emergency. Now what? Name a few things that will make a difference.

      • angryscotonfragglerock permalink
        April 24, 2019 9:24 am

        The giveaway of freedoms and rights is quite shocking when a government declares ‘an emergency’. It really is not a path we should let our numbskull political classes embark on.

    • martinbrumby permalink
      April 23, 2019 10:44 pm

      Claire Perry?
      She of “good, productive chat” fame?
      We need to be honest here.
      The lunatics are firmly in charge of the asylum and the BBC will pull out all the stops to empower and promote them.
      Meanwhile, we were promised that those conspiring to cause massive disruption would be persued with ‘the full force of the law’.
      How has that worked out?
      Has anyone been fined more than a fiver, I wonder?
      If that?

  11. Huw T permalink
    April 23, 2019 8:10 pm

    The central problem here is ( as usual) the BBC. They allow Extinction Rebellion and the beloved Greta enormous amounts of airtime to air their lunatic views on climate change. Yet anyone with contrary views is not permitted to even pose a question about this madness. A balanced view is needed and the only way to achieve that is the elimination of the BBC bias. Any ideas on how this can be done???

  12. Athelstan. permalink
    April 23, 2019 8:23 pm

    If you’ve had a chance to read the main opinion piece in today’s DT, then make no mistake the green loons have the ears of some senior (albeit ex) politicians and many of whom should know better not least Mr. Hague. Ah but then, what we’d all love to know, how much silver crossed his palm, was the quid pro quo nigh thirty pieces – perhaps?

    • Peter Plail permalink
      April 23, 2019 9:36 pm

      Have never managed to get past the title of any of Vague’s pieces in the DT. If he is a Conservative, then it just confirms my decision to leave the party. We are not ideologically suited. When oh when will at least one of our representatives stand up and question what has happened to all the past “emergencies” that have required action in 5,10,12, 15 years and have now passed without any sign of the disaster?

  13. It doesn't add up... permalink
    April 23, 2019 8:30 pm

    Will Harrabin be confined to barracks for the duration of election campaigns, or will the BBC continue to push out political polemics?

  14. BLACK PEARL permalink
    April 23, 2019 9:46 pm

    Maybe the BBC needs a few to be arrested for comments provoking incitement.
    As for the politicians ….. how many ‘normal commonsense’ thinking people become or ‘want to aspire’ to become one.
    Perhaps the beginning of the end of the deranged political animal activist is at hand !

  15. April 23, 2019 9:51 pm

    It’s true that capitalism is the worst system – apart from all the others.

    • Bidefordcamel permalink
      April 23, 2019 10:01 pm

      It’s also the unequal sharing of riches, unlike socialism which equally shares misery.
      I do like a bit of Winston.

  16. April 24, 2019 12:31 am

    you arrogant discredited metropolitan-liberal media mob
    Don’t give me your “listen to the kids” plea on Greta and Begum
    ..when you did your upmost to hide the voice of kids groomed/raped/traded/prostituted in all those English towns
    … 5,000 plus isn’t it ?
    And to this day the rule is you wait till the last day of the court case, then read out the names once or twice and quickly move on

    • angryscotonfragglerock permalink
      April 24, 2019 9:30 am

      Well said stewgreen. Can I add my particular beef, being an ex-fighter pilot? None of the MSM carried the stories of the marches in many towns and cities by thousands of ex-service personnel in support of our colleagues who have been hounded by the NI judiciary. No, the Swede and her colleagues get full coverage for their beliefs and time with the political sub-class 🤯🤯🤯🤯

    • martinbrumby permalink
      April 24, 2019 9:36 am

      Absolutely agree.

      But if the ‘official’ figure for Rotherham is now 1500+, you can bet diamonds that the national figure is at least 10 times your 5000.

      Ask Lord Ahmed? He might know.

  17. April 24, 2019 12:32 am

    And how you metro-liberals can plead urgence on Climate
    .. when you spend most of your life dragging your feet on Brexit
    is beyond me

    We had a vote, so the priority is to get on with Brexit
    ..and then free from EU corruption we will be free to get on with other matters.

    • April 24, 2019 12:35 am

      How can the government ignore the 17.4m
      …. yet be so obsessed about pleasing the hundreth of that who ar with XR ?

    • bobn permalink
      April 24, 2019 12:50 am

      Others matters. Number one: reform of our medieval political system. Scrap the nominated friends as Lords and replace with elected representative.s Scrap the failed medieval ‘first past post’ non-democratic system and replace with proportional representation so all votes get represented.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        April 24, 2019 5:59 pm

        I would be in no rush to move to PR. Is there a country that uses it you admire? PR is riven with all sorts of problems: it encourages narrow factions which means that every policy is a fudge at best – no-one gets what they voted for, and PR can easily give the balance of power to a small faction with undesirable consequences. The problem is that narrow elites have captured political parties. To solve it, they have to be kicked out of those positions. That will require a level of political engagement we haven’t seen in the UK in at least 50 years. Perhaps we’re starting to see it with the grassroots moves to have a no confidence vote in May.

  18. April 24, 2019 12:37 am

    \\ At a time when there is instant global communication, and just after they do a piece on XR,
    … the BBC present the news from Colombo, with a specially flown over news anchor.
    .. Irony doesn’t exist in the BBC! //
    h/t @Ian

  19. Up2snuff permalink
    April 24, 2019 8:28 am

    “Should the BBC be employing anybody who even thinks that capitalism should be overthrown?”

    Obviously, the answer is “No.”.

    Consumerist capitalism pays the Licence Fee. 😦

  20. europeanonion permalink
    April 24, 2019 9:04 am

    There used to be a television series/soap about aliens taking-over human beings…

  21. Phoenix44 permalink
    April 24, 2019 9:54 am

    Let’s have socialism rather than capitalism because the socialist countries had much better environments than capitalist countries!

    That’s what drives me mad about this nonsense – there is no evidence whatsoever that “capitalism” wrecks the environment, and no theoretical reason why it should – the market (us) can demand non-wrecking and the capitalists have to respond to that. By contrast, socialism has wrecked plenty of environments and has no means of changing that unless the socialist overlords decide to.

    These claims are fantasies that misunderstand market economic systems and are delusional about non-market systems. They are obviously and demonstrably so, yet the BBC takes them seriously.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      April 24, 2019 6:02 pm

      There is plenty of evidence that socialist systems destroy environments. Just try visiting some of them (Communist bloc countries, Venezuela..). A clean environment is a luxury good that you can only afford if you already have a high standard of living.

  22. April 25, 2019 1:06 am

    One way the ministers can win over the protesters is to acknowledge the FACTS about climate change that have been clearly presented by climate scientists.

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