Stroud Extinction Rebellion founder Gail Bradbrook and Ecotricity’s Dale Vince clashed on Talk Radio after XR activists cracked the windows of a Barclays Bank in London.
Seven women from XR were arrested after police say they used hammers to cause damage to windows and wrote slogans on the walls as part of their ‘money rebellion’ protest against economic actors that contribute to climate change.
On Talk Radio with Ian Collins, Dr Bradbrook said business leaders like Mr Vince should recognise the UK’s economic system incentivises harm to the planet, but Mr Vince called XR’s tactics “violent” and said he would not be “pigeon-holed” as a business leader.
“I’m a fan of XR, I love what they’ve done, I love what they’ve brought to this debate,” said Mr Vince, before going on to criticise the damage to the Barclays in Canary Wharf.
“This is a bit violent for my liking, a bit aggressive. There are a lot of people in the world that are responsible for the climate crisis, a lot of businesses – you can’t just go around smashing their windows.
Gail Bradbrook pointed to the role of banks in global warming, in particular that Barclays has financed fossil fuel companies with $145 billion since the Paris Climate Agreement, according to the Rainforest Action Network.
She said that if the planet was to warm by two degrees, entire countries will go under, cities will flood and people will die.
“We think cracking windows in a safe way is a proportionate response,” said Ms Bradbrook, who was charged with causing criminal damaged to a property following an incident at Barclays bank in Stroud last month.
“He [Dale Vince] is not running a social movement, he’s not trying to support social change in the same way,” she said.
“What we want banks like Barclays to say, and other business leaders like Dale, is that the current political economy that we have actually incentivises harm.”
In response, Mr Vince said: “I want to challenge the claim that I’m a businessman. I’m not, I’m an environmentalist and I’ve been working on these issues for 30 years.
“I am trying to bring about social change and social justice and a more sustainable country so I don’t want to be pigeon-holed as ‘business leader’, that’s not correct,” he added.
He said Barclays had a lot to answer for but he didn’t agree with breaking their windows.
“This wins headlines but I don’t think it wins hearts and minds. I don’t think it’s the right way to talk to people who you disagree with.”