Climate justice groups have joined RMT picket lines across Great Britain to support the rail strike and argue the government must invest in public transport to avoid the worst impacts of global heating.

Hundreds of activists from several groups including Just Stop Oil, War on Want, Extinction Rebellion [XR] and Friends of the Earth Scotland have joined striking workers on more than 40 picket lines in towns and cities, with more expected to turn out in the coming days.

They argue that well-funded, publicly owned and affordable public transport will be essential to reduce the UK’s dependence on fossil fuels, moving people away from cars to more energy-efficient trains.

But they warn the cuts and redundancies proposed by the government will not only hit workers in the middle of a cost of living crisis but also weaken the rail network, locking in high carbon transport such as cars for decades to come.

According to government figures, transport is the UK’s largest source of emissions, responsible for 27% of greenhouse gases in 2019. Of this, 55% comes from cars and most of the remainder is from vans and lorries.

Bruce Murphy, an organiser with Just Stop Oil, is one of scores of the group’s activists who have been on picket lines in the past few days.

“You can’t separate the cost of living crisis and the climate crisis and I think more people are understanding that in both the green movement and the progressive labour movement,” he said.

Murphy, who was on a picket line in Manchester, said trade unions were Britain’s biggest social movement and that strikes were “a powerful tool of civil resistance for workers and communities being forced to pay for a crisis they didn’t cause.

“I’m proud to stand with trade unions because I know that

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