Today I acquired a criminal record. I was convicted of two public order offences (refusing to move until arrested) as part of Extinction Rebellion’s actions in London in April. I was given a fine of £500 and ordered to pay £300 prosecution costs.
Prof Paul Ekins OBE, who has advised many national and international bodies on energy and climate change, appeared as an expert witness. In a move which astonished the court the Crown Prosecutor stated that the prosecution accepted his evidence, evidence which says that the government is failing on climate change. Prof Ekins wrote:
“the Government is currently set to miss the fourth and fifth carbon budgets which have been legislated into law. This will make more difficult and expensive the task of a future Government, which will require even steeper emissions reductions to meet the sixth and subsequent carbon budgets… .”
I wanted to make sure I hadn’t misheard so I asked the prosecutor twice: does the prosecution accept Prof Ekins’ evidence? She replied: yes. Whatever she meant, that is what she said. “We accept” is not the same as “we do not wish to contest”.