In a decision that anti-coal activists say is a gamechanger, six Greenpeace protesters have been acquitted of nearly $53,000 in criminal-damage charges for painting “Gordon” on a British coal plant. The activists climbed a 650-foot coal-plant chimney last year with the intent to paint “Gordon bin it” in huge letters, aiming to pressure Prime Minister Gordon Brown to disallow new coal plants. They only got to “Gordon” before being served with a high court injunction. In court, the six used a “lawful excuse” defense, arguing that burning coal exacerbates climate change, thus putting property around the world “in immediate need of protection.” Climate scientist James Hansen testified on their behalf, and the jury found in their favor. “This verdict marks a tipping point for the climate change movement,” says chimney-scaler Ben Stewart. “If jurors from the heart of Middle England say it’s legitimate for a direct action group to shut down a coal-fired power station because of the harm it does to our planet, then where does that leave government energy policy?”