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Climate activists chain themselves to entries at Charlotte private jet terminal

Scientist Peter Kalmus (right) and activist Deborah Kushner chained themselves to the front entrance at Wilson Air.
Peter Kalmus
Scientist Peter Kalmus (right) and activist Deborah Kushner chained themselves to the front entrance at Wilson Air.

Several climate protesters chained themselves to a door and a gate Thursday morning at Charlotte Douglas International Airport's private jet terminal.

The incident began around 9:30 a.m. at Wilson Air Center, opposite the airport's main terminal. It was one of 17 private airport protests worldwide organized by a group called Scientist Rebellion. A group of protesters carried signs saying "Ban Private Jets" and "Tax Frequent Fliers."

Peter Kalmus, an astrophysicist with NASA, posted a video on social media while chained to the terminal's main door. He said the world isn't taking climate change seriously enough.

"We need to switch into emergency mode as a society. We also have to do things like banning private jets. And it means ramping down aviation," Kalmus said.

Kalmus and three other people were charged with trespassing.

Air travel accounts for about 3% of the pollution that causes global warming, and it's growing. The protest was aimed at bringing local attention to climate change during this month's United Nations climate conference in Egypt.

A woman who answered the phone at Wilson Air said the incident did not affect operations but had no further comment.

A spokesperson for Scientist Rebellion called private jets "luxury flying" and said the protesters had three demands: ban private jets, tax frequent flying and "make polluters pay."

The group reported other protests at private airports in 12 countries: Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

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David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.