Climate Activist Glues Hand to Plane Roof During Airport Protest

Extinction Rebellion protesters have been taking to the streets of London for the second time this year to oppose government inaction on climate change. However, one protester decided to take his demonstration to the skies.

The man climbed atop a British Airways plane and glued his hand to the roof during a protest at London City Airport. He has now been identified as Irish paralympian James Brown, who Brown is registered as visually impaired and won the bronze medal for cycling in the 2012 Olympics.

"I hate heights," he said. "This is about the climate ecological crisis. They [the British government] declare a climate emergency and then do nothing about it. In fact, they go the opposite direction. They sanction the expansion of airports. We can't let this go on."

"Oh good. Security is coming. I can see that," Brown said to the camera as he spotted airport security guards make their way to the plane. "I can't see how they're going to get me down from here but I hope it doesn't take too long because this is f***ing scary and it is also a bit cold."

James Brown was live.

Extinction rebellion have said on Twitter that they plan to shut the airport down for three days, saying the U.K. government's continued support for the expansion of air travel is not compatible with the human-driven climate change emergency we are now facing.

Organizers chose London City—"the airport for big business," in their own words—because 70 percent of climate damaging flights in the U.K. are taken by the wealtheist 15 percent in society, a stat based on a 2014 government survey, according to independent fact checking charity Full Fact.

"We apologise for the disruption we are causing today at @LondonCityAir," the group tweeted. "We are doing it to avoid the greater disruption expected if we don't take urgent action."

One of those protesting is 83-year-old Phil Kingston, who is protesting at the airport for his grandchildren and their generation as well as the poorest in society "who have done the least to cause climate breakdown and are suffering the most."

"I am here to help us tell the truth and prepare for what we need to prepare together," he said.

83 YO Rebel Phil Kingston of @CClimateAction is one of the people aiming to shut down @LondonCityAir today

City Airport plans to double its capacity. Continued Govt support for expansion of air travel incompatible with the Climate & Ecological Emergency

— Extinction Rebellion UK 🌍 (@XRebellionUK) October 10, 2019

Another protester had to be escorted off a plane after he snuck aboard a flight to Dublin and refused to take a seat when it was time for take off.

"I don't wish to travel with you but I don't wish to get off [the plane]," he told passengers and crew aboard the plane.

Nicholas Watt, the Political Editor at BBC Newsnight (a news and current affairs program), was on the flight and shared the story with his Twitter followers as events unfolded.

"On runway and about to take off when smartly dressed man in late middle age stood up with iPhone to deliver lecture on climate change up and down aisle," he tweeted.

"Cabin crew calmly and very politely asked protestor to resume his seat. Politely but persistently he declined and proceeded to deliver his lecture on climate change in aisle. Some passengers annoyed, others listened to lecture with humour as cabin crew alerted pilot."

There was no skirmish, he added, as the protester left the plane. Watt's takeaway from the episode: The best way to skirt security is to "dress smartly and act as a normal passenger."

Meanwhile, the protests led by Extinction Rebellion that started on Monday continue across London and are expected to continue until 19 October 2019.

The IPCC released a report last year warning of potentially catastrophic dangers of exceeding 1.5 degrees Celsius warming above pre-industrial levels—a target that will take "transformational" change.

Extinction rebellion london
Activists block a road into Trafalgar square with a mobile scaffold on October 7, 2019 in London, England during the Extinction Rebellion protests. (Photo by Guy Smallman/Getty images) Guy Smallman/Getty