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UK Parliament First in World to Declare Climate Emergency

UK Parliament First in World to Declare Climate Emergency
The UK parliament became the first national legislative body in the world to declare a climate change “emergency” Wednesday. The historic move closely follows Extinction Rebellion protests that blocked traffic in key parts of central London for a week in April.

The protest had three demands: that the UK government “tell the truth” about climate change, that it achieve carbon neutrality by 2025 and that it create a citizens’ assembly to help with that process. The protesters embraced parliament’s decision Wednesday as a step towards meeting their first demand.

The emergency declaration was proposed by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

“Today, we have the opportunity to say, ‘We hear you,'” Corbyn told parliament, according to Reuters. “By becoming the first parliament in the world to declare a climate emergency, we could, and I hope we do, set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments all around the world.”

The motion was approved without a vote and registers the views of the House of Commons without compelling the government to act on any particular policy proposal, BBC News explained. It also calls for the government to work towards carbon neutrality before 2050 and for ministers to draft proposals within the next six months to restore the country’s environment and create a “zero waste economy.”

Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May had chosen not to whip party members against the motion. Her Environment Secretary Michael Gove acknowledged the threat posed by climate change, but refused to outright declare an emergency, The Independent reported. He did promise legislation shortly to tackle both climate change and “broader ecological degradation.”

“Not only do I welcome the opportunity that this debate provides, I also want to make it clear that on this side of the house we recognise that the situation we face is an emergency. It is a crisis, it is a threat, that all of us have to unite to meet,” Gove said during the debate, as The Guardian reported.

However, Green Member of Parliament Caroline Lucas challenged the conservative record on climate during the debate, pointing to the party’s approval for a third runway at Heathrow airport. Also on Wednesday a judges ruled against green groups and local governments who had challenged the runway, partly on the grounds that it was a breach of the UK’s commitment to the Paris agreement, The Guardian reported.

Climate activists were cautiously optimistic about the declaration. Greta Thunberg, who addressed the UK’s parliament last week, tweeted her support.

“Now other nations must follow. And words must turn into immediate action,” she wrote.

Greenpeace UK Politics head Rebecca Newsom said the declaration was a long time coming.

“The best time to declare a climate emergency was 30 years ago; the second best time is now,” she said in a statement reported by Reuters.

Both Gove and Corbyn promised to challenge U.S. President Donald Trump on his climate denialism. Gove said he would raise the issue with Trump when he visits the UK in June, according to The Guardian.

“We pledge to work as closely as possible with countries that are serious about ending the climate catastrophe and make clear to US President Donald Trump that he cannot ignore international agreements and action on the climate crisis,” Corbyn said in his remarks Wednesday, as BBC News reported.

Regional and municipal UK governments have already declared climate emergencies, among them Wales, Scotland, Manchester and London.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: EcoWatch

By:  Olivia Rosane May. 02, 2019 07:00AM EST

LINK:  https://www.ecowatch.com/uk-parliament-climate-emergency-2636090140.html?rebelltitem=3#rebelltitem

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Its official.Ireland becomes 2nd country in the world to declare a #ClimateEmergency & Dáil also agreed to endorse all the recommendations of the Oireachtas Climate Action Report .Definitely one of the highlights for me as a @greenparty_ie TD .My children are thrilled.

Ireland Becomes Second Country to Declare Climate Emergency

The Republic of Ireland became the second country in the world to declare a climate emergency Thursday, The Independent Ireland reported. The declaration was passed Thursday evening when both the government and opposition parties agreed to an amendment to a climate action report.


“We’re reaching a tipping point in respect of climate deterioration,” Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton said. “Things will deteriorate very rapidly unless we move very swiftly and the window of opportunity to do that is fast closing.”

The Irish declaration follows a similar action from UK’s parliament May 1. The governments of Wales and Scotland have also declared climate emergencies.

Irish Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan pointed out that the declaration needed to be a starting point.

“Declaring an emergency means absolutely nothing unless there is action to back it up,’ he said, as BBC News reported. “That means the Government having to do things they don’t want to do.”

Climate Action Committee Chair Hildegarde Naughton said that Bruton would bring new climate action proposals before the Dáil, as the Irish parliament is called, and that she looked forward to working with her colleagues to assess them.

“Now we need action,” she said, as BBC News reported.

Bruton praised the efforts of young people around the world who have protested for greater action on climate change for giving the debate more urgency.

“It is justified that a level of urgency be injected into this debate,” he said, as The Independent Ireland reported.

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist who has been credited with inspiring the youth climate movement, in turn tweeted her support for Ireland’s decision.

“Great news from Ireland!!” she tweeted. “Who is next? And remember: #ClimateEmergency means leaving fossil fuels in the ground.”

The Dáil will have a chance to follow Thunberg’s advice next month, when it will have a chance to support a Climate Emergency Measures Bill put forward by Solidarity/People Before Profit Deputy Bríd Smith, which seeks to limit oil and gas exploration. Smith said she was “delighted” with the emergency declaration, but that it would be “interesting to see” if the government would take it further by supporting her bill, RTÉ reported.

The Oireachtas Climate Action report that spurred the declaration came from a Citizens’ Assembly report; another Citizens’ Assembly will consider the issue of a biodiversity emergency, RTÉ explained.

Fianna Fail’s climate action spokesman Timmy Dooley, who moved the amendment to declare an emergency, said that if the government followed the recommendations in the climate action report it would “bring an end to our laggardly response to climate change,” The Independent Ireland reported.

Source:  Ecowatch
By:  Olivia Rosane May. 10, 2019 06:46AM EST
LINK:  https://www.ecowatch.com/ireland-declares-climate-emergency-2636765627.html?rebelltitem=1#rebelltitem1

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