Extinction Rebellion Scotland block Edinburgh Roads in Non-Violent Direct Action to demand a better Climate Bill

Extinction Rebellion Scotland are blocking Lothian Road in Edinburgh to demand a better Climate Bill, which is being discussed by the Scottish Parliament this week.

Activists from the Holyrood Rebel Camp, a five-day protest outside Parliament running 16–20 June, split into three teams and blocked traffic by standing in the street and holding banners, which read “Tell The Truth” and “Climate Emergency”.

Two road blocks were swiftly broken up by the police. On Lothian Road, activists have been blocking the road outside the Usher Hall for an hour now, causing disruption. 

Some activists are using tubes to lock themselves together on the road so that they cannot easily be forcibly removed by the police.

This is one of several acts of civil disobedience in which the group will take part in an effort to influence discussions about the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Bill. Amendments to this bill will be debated on 18 June 2019 and 25 June 2019 in Scottish Parliament, and Extinction Rebellion Scotland are demanding the net zero emissions target be brought forward to 2025, instead of the current recommendation of 2045, and for the creation of a Climate Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes necessary to respond to the climate crisis and enable the transition to a just, carbon-free society.

Malcolm White, 32, medical doctor and XR Scotland activist, said: We’re blocking traffic and disrupting people’s daily lives because we are so afraid of the consequences of the climate emergency and the fact that the government is not taking nearly enough action. Their commitment to 2045 is unfortunately ecocide, it is going to be completely inadequate and it relies on technologies which are not prepared, they’re not up to scale, and some of them don’t even exist yet. It’s just counting on technology coming along to save the day. Whereas actually, we really need to change the system that we live in and work in, in order to make it a more ecologically friendly and more just society.’

Jessica Cowell, 28, student and XR Scotland activist said: ‘This bill does not do nearly enough to overhaul our transport system, which could be made cheaper, more efficient and run on renewables. This would decrease harmful air pollution and make public transport more accessible. Electric vehicles remain woefully underfunded, expensive and off limits to the wider public. Further, the publicising of tree planting targets to offset carbon emissions fails to mention that huge plantations of only one species, which the government is currently doing, does very little for biodiversity rates or Scotland’s wildlife.’

Tomorrow (18 June 2019) at 9:30am activists are planning a sit-in at the entrance to Parliament, carrying placards and banners and singing songs reminding MSPs as they enter the building that life on Earth is under threat due to the climate crisis and ecological breakdown.

Find out more about the Holyrood Rebel Camp here.