GMB: Richard Madeley compares Chris Packham's eco campaigning to terrorism

The Springwatch presenter appeared on Good Morning Britain to defend the human right to protest in relation to climate change.

Watch: Richard Madeley and Chris Packham clash over climate protests

What did you miss?

Richard Madeley has likened Just Stop Oil campaigners to terrorists in a heated debate with Chris Packham.

The Springwatch presenter appeared on Good Morning Britain to defend the human right to protest in relation to climate change.

In a heated interview, Madeley compared the action taken by some environmental activists to the IRA or Isis.

What, how, and why?

Richard Madeley challenged Chris Packham over Just Stop Oil protests. (ITV/Sky)
Richard Madeley, left, compared Just Stop Oil protests to terrorism in a heated debate with Chris Packham, right. (ITV/Sky)

Packham appeared on the ITV breakfast show to discuss his new Channel 4 documentary, Is It Time To Break The Law?, which looks at the extremes of activism taken by climate change protesters in recent years.

Referring to road blockades that had prevented ambulances getting through, Madeley challenged him: "You are a respected and respectable environmentalist and broadcaster.

"It's you that's endorsing it and saying, 'I don't condemn you if you do this' — it might sway them to do something that could end up killing somebody."

Chris Packham makes a speech on top of a bus stop during the Extinction Rebellion demonstration on Waterloo Bridge in London. (Photo by Victoria Jones/PA Images via Getty Images)
Chris Packham has joined Extinction Rebellion protests in the past. (Getty Images)

Referring to the recent deadly flooding in Libya, Packham said: "The whole point is that at the moment, 10,000 people have been washed away. I don't need to give you the figures.

"You've shown people on your programme the world is being flooded, it's on fire. Millions of people's lives are at risk and politicians are making the wrong decisions.

"I continue to protest peacefully — I will use my imagination, my creativity to come up with peaceful democratic means to protest.

"But what the documentary says is — if we are not listened to, there will be those who have to have their voice heard and they will make louder a noise."

Madeley replied: "But what gives you the right to make that call?

"For example, there will be those that draw the parallel between what you are saying and what the political wing of the IRA or Isis would say to justify violence in support of their cause.

"They believed in it passionately with all their heart and soul and were prepared to risk an army bullet for the sake of the cause. It was their choice to break the law and they had to take the consequence.

Chris Packham: Is It Time to Break the Law? (Channel 4)
Chris Packham presents a new documentary called Is It Time To Break the Law? (Channel 4)

"What gives you the right to say you have the overview that gives the authority to say, 'You can do this. You have my support'?"

Packham, who has previously taken part in Extinction Rebellion protests, responded: "I have no right and no overview, and nor do I profess to have it.

"I merely ask the question, 'Is this the right time to break the law?'

Just Stop Oil climate activists block traffic on the 7th of October 2022, Central London, United Kingdom. The activists sat down in the road, some super glued to the road. An ambulance is let through the blockade. The peaceful action created traffic chaos in the morning while police cleared the road. A number of activists were arrested. The action is part of an ongoing campaign by Just Stop Oil. The activists demand the UK government takes the climate crisis serious and stop all new oil and gas extraction. In spite of the ongoing climate crisis and potential cataclysmic climate change due to fossil fuel emissions, the UK government is planning to open up more than 100 new oil and gas fields and potentially fracking as well. Just Stop Oil aim to disrupt Westminster in Central London with civil disobedience through-out October to get their demands heard. (photo by Kristian Buus/In Pictures via Getty Images)
Just Stop Oil climate activists let an ambulance pass while blocking traffic in protest against climate change. (Getty Images)

"As you say, climate protesters are already breaking the law. We've changed the law so rapidly in this country to impact on protest — you can't even stand in the street with a T-shirt on without being dragged away.

"Is that the country you want to live in? Is that the degrees of freedom we want taken away from us. At the core of our democracy is our human right to protest."

What happened the last time Richard Madeley interviewed Chris Packham?

Richard Madeley on Good Morning Britain. (ITV/Shutterstock)
Richard Madeley claimed climate change protests target the wrong people. (ITV/Shutterstock)

Madeley and Packham clashed when they last met on the show in July 2023 and the GMB host challenged the wildlife presenter that climate change protests were targeted at the wrong people.

Madeley asked Packham: "Are these protests aimed at the right target, Chris? Because, in this country, we’ve pretty much eliminated coal fired energy from our energy supply mix, we’re investing squillions in wind power.

"Our CO2 emissions, by general agreement, are now per capita at the lowest in the UK since the mid-1850s.

"But China is burning more and more coal and next year China will burn more coal to produce power than every other country in the world put together.

"Why isn’t Just Stop Oil, instead of in a sense preaching to the converted, because we get it, why aren’t they demonstrating outside the Chinese embassy?."

Springwatch Chris Packham
Springwatch presenter Chris Packham has said protesting is a human right. (BBC)

Packham replied: "Two points there. Firstly, I think you’re wrong, with respect, about the achievements we’re seeing in the UK. The climate change committee has said we’re not meeting any of our targets.

"Second point, valid question: Are they targeting the right people? If the tactics aren’t working, do we need to change the tactics?"

Good Morning Britain airs on ITV from 6am to 9am from Monday to Friday.

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