Aviation is the pinnacle of climate injustice. But what specifically is climate justice, why is flying one of the gravest examples of it, and how can we achieve climate justice? What is climate (in)justice? We are living in times of deep ecological and climate...
Where is the crime? Judging those responsible for ecocide, acquitting those who defend the planet!
This article was originally published in Portuguese on 10 January 2022 on the ATERRA website to call for a solidarity protest at the trial of the Portuguese activist Kiko, who protested against the construction of a new airport in the metropolitan area of Lisbon back in 2019. Kiko’s trial was held on 13 January at 14:00 (Lisbon time) and the verdict is to be announced.
The ATERRA campaign invites everyone to a people’s court in front of the Lisbon Local Criminal Court: a creative action in solidarity with Kiko who in 2019 interrupted a speech by the Prime Minister to publicly denounce the crime of the expansion of Lisbon airport. Kiko is now being tried for “qualified disobedience” – a sentence that can result in up to two years in prison.
Faced with the absurdity inside the courtroom, we will hold a serious trial at the door. We will indict for ecocide those responsible for the Montijo airport project and the expansion of Lisbon airport, and for the growth in air traffic. In the dock of the courtroom will sit the multinational Vinci (ANA Aeroportos), the parties that defend aviation and fossil fuels, the airlines and the big oil companies.
To the public prosecutor, who accuses Kiko of “disturbing public order and tranquillity” as he “had not communicated the holding of the demonstration to Lisbon City Council”, we propose a basic idea of justice in the 21st century: those responsible for climate crimes should be judged; the people who defend the planet should be supported and protected.
Less planes, more imagination!
Of all means of transport, the plane is the most unfair and elitist; it is the one which pollutes the most and whose emissions have increased the most. Aviation accounts for 6% of the human contribution to climate change – three times more than what has been officially assumed. A future that allows for the existence of human life and so many other species on Earth implies a present with fewer planes, as well as fewer and smaller airports.
The Portuguese government insists on building a new airport and has put forward a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) subjugated to the idea of tourism and aviation growth, which compares only three scenarios  (Lisbon + Montijo, Montijo + Lisbon, and Alcochete). Instead of responding to the capitalist need to expand Lisbon’s airport capacity, an SEA should respond to the planetary need to reduce aviation, and to foster alternatives, such as rail transport and local economies.
Article about the trial day including a video (Portuguese link): https://www.publico.pt/2022/01/13/p3/noticia/importante-desobedecer-interrompeu-costa-protesto-aeroporto-sentase-banco-reus-1991806
 All scenarios include the construction of a new airport, but in different locations. In two of the scenarios the current Lisbon airport would continue in operation.