Stephen Fry urges people to stand with Extinction Rebellion against 'sickening' climate science deniers

Exclusive: Climate activist group plans day of nonviolent civil disobedience targeting those it accuses of ‘catastrophic climate science denial’

Sean Russell
Monday 24 August 2020 11:01 BST
Stephen Fry teams up with Writers Rebel to discuss man-made climate change: 'We have to expose the lies'

Stephen Fry has called for people to stand up and support the Extinction Rebellion group Writers Rebel as they launch new action targeting lobby groups, think tanks, and climate science deniers.

In the address, provided to The Independent, Fry says that “It’s sickening how much money is being spent on think tanks and professional lobbyists to spread confusion, lies and doubt on the subject of man-made climate change and its horribly real threat. These people, and their huge corporations funding them, are utilising exactly the same playbook that big tobacco used to sow doubt and confusion over the clear scientific evidence that emerged about smoking.”

He also says that, like big tobacco, the truth will come out eventually and the longer these groups lie and obfuscate, the more damage will be done to the planet.

“We can’t keep letting this deliberate climate denial stand,” he says. “We have to stand up and expose the lies.”

20 high profile writers including Peter Pomerantsev, author of This is not Propaganda, Ruth Padel, an award-winning poet, and Sir Mark Rylance the actor and first artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, will be involved in the event, which is set to take place in London on Wednesday 2 September.

The event, which is likely to consist of readings and talks introduced and hosted by Rylance and actor Juliet Stevenson, will be followed by an action of nonviolent civil disobedience targeting lobby and think tank groups and individuals that Extinction Rebellion accuses of engaging in “catastrophic climate science denial”, including Baron Lawson of Blaby, Nigel Lawson, who launched The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) in 2009, a think tank sceptical of the science behind man-made global warming as well as the policies that are being implemented to curb climate change.

“Climate science denial runs through the very core of British politics,” says Jessica Townsend, the Writers Rebel event coordinator. “Many of those who sit on the boards of these secretive lobby groups are also members of the House of Commons and other major UK institutions such as the Bank of England. During the last October Rebellion they managed to escape the spotlight. But we’re bringing the truth to them this time.”

Writers Rebel was set up within Extinction Rebellion to bring together writers and members of the the publishing, literary and creative industries to use their voices to tell the truth about the climate emergency, in order to inspire readers and the public to take action. Amongst its supporters are Zadie Smith, Sir Simon Schama, Ali Smith, and Margaret Atwood.

In October 2019 Writers Rebel launched a marathon reading session in Trafalgar Square which included Robert Macfarlane, Philip Hoare and Naomi Alderman.

“Writers are articulate people with big vocabularies, but sometimes they need to put that at the service of a very simple message: We have no time left,” said Toby Litt, a writer and academic from Birkbeck University.

The action will take place at 18:30 and the location will be revealed at a later date

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