Climate change campaigners cleared

Six Greenpeace activists have been cleared of causing criminal damage at a coal-fired power station.

A jury at Maidstone Crown Court ruled in favour of the climate change campaigners, who used the ‘lawful excuse' defence by arguing that they were acting to prevent climate change causing greater damage to property around the world.

Five of the six activists climbed a 200m chimney at Kingsnorth power station in Kent in October 2007 and tried to shut the station down.

Climate scientist professor James Hansen told the court that the 20,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emitted daily by Kingsnorth could be responsible for the extinction of up to 400 species.

Zac Goldsmith, Conservative leader David Cameron's environment adviser, told the court that climate change was already seriously affecting life around the world.

The jury heard that Kingsnorth emits the same amount of carbon dioxide as the 30 least polluting countries in the world combined - and that there were advanced plans to build a new coal-fired power station next to the existing site on the Hoo Peninsula in Kent.

The six activists were Ben Stewart, Will Rose, Kevin Drake, Tim Hewke, Huw Williams and Emily Hall.

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