Cop26 climate change summit: Extinction Rebellion needs to make sure its message is not obscured by disruptive protests – Steve Cardownie

With the Cop26 UN climate change summit in Glasgow nearly upon us, protest groups have signalled their intention to mount demonstrations and take disruptive action to ram home their message that action is required now if the impending climate crisis is to be averted.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 4:55 am

Extinction Rebellion has already taken to the streets of the city, disrupting traffic on main routes and seriously inconveniencing members of the public going about their daily lives in Edinburgh.

I wrote at the time, and re-iterate it now, that such groups have to be careful not to alienate the very people they hope to bring to their side by causing traffic gridlock and such like by their planned protests.

It is undeniable that world leaders have to take immediate, drastic action on climate change if this planet is not to be plunged into an environmental disaster of our own making.

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From severe flooding in Asia and elsewhere to huge unrelenting forest fires in North America, the message is stark and real. Surely no sensible person can deny the irrefutable evidence that we have witnessed on our TV screens.

Public support for action is a given and it would be a pity if it was jeopardised by inappropriate action that hits the wrong target.

Extinction Rebellion should take legitimate forms of action – the public shares your fears and frustrations about climate change and governments’ inertia.

Climate change protesters block Edinburgh's North Bridge in 2019 (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

But public support should be garnered and nurtured, not risked by elevating protest activity to such a level that the message is lost amid news reports of chaos and disruption.

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