Tyre Extinguishers – deflating SUV tyres as a form of climate action

Tyre Extinguishers – deflating SUV tyres as a form of climate action. By Damien Gayle.

The activists who took “climate action” against sports utility vehicles by flattening their tyres in the last two weeks have been receiving solidarity and calls for information from around the world.

Tyre Extinguishers provides instructions on how to deflate SUV tyres, offers guidance on who to target and collates reports of actions across the country. They have gauged the campaign’s reach by angry emails from SUV owners.

The group registered a website and started a Twitter account in July 2021.

Acting autonomously and, usually, under the cover of darkness, the activists have used lentils to deflate tyres by placing one inside the tyre valve, holding it open and slowly bleeding air until the tyre is flat. The group calculates they’ve deflated the tyres on at least a thousand vehicles in two weeks.

Helena Horton:

About 40 SUV-owning residents of Kensington and Chelsea, Dulwich, Primrose Hill and Marylebone woke to find their tyres flat, with fake “parking fines” on their windscreens informing them that “if SUV drivers were a nation, in 2018 they would have been ranked as the seventh biggest emitter of CO2”. …

The activists said the tyres were let down without damage, and that the action was necessary to educate the vehicle owners about the fossil fuels emitted by the large cars. …

A spokesperson … said: “ … To drive an SUV in an urban area with good public transport is a luxury — and it’s a luxury that has terrifying consequences for our planet…. If you are worried about getting your tyres deflated, our advice is: don’t own an SUV. We do not intend to stop, and many more will follow us.”

Leaving aside the civil rights, the bullying, and the un-sustainability (what happens when people do something back to them?), it is quite funny — what a silly bunch humans can be. A handful of climate modelers made a mistake in the 1960s that, indirectly and presumably unnoticed, greatly exaggerated the effect of carbon dioxide in the models. As a result, sixty years later activists are letting down people’s tyres. Meanwhile, in reality the temperature is mostly controlled by space weather and the Sun, and global cooling started in 2016.