UK becomes first parliament to declare climate emergency

British politicians hope other countries will follow after becoming the first parliament in the world to vote to declare a climate emergency

Climate Emergency Protest In Westminster

Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks at a Climate emergency protest in Parliament Square outside the Houses of Parliament on May 01, 2019 Source: Getty Images Europe

Britain's opposition Labour Party on Wednesday called for "real action" after parliament became the first in the world to vote to declare a climate emergency.

"Thanks to pressure from the Labour Party, the UK just became the first country to declare an environment and #climateemergency," the party said on its Twitter page.

"Now it's time for real action to tackle climate change."

Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said he hoped the vote "will trigger a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the world".

He hopes the move will increase pressure on the government and is demanding that the country takes action to help avoid more than 1.5 degrees centigrade of warming, requiring global emissions to be cut by almost half of 2010 levels by 2030.

"No time to waste"

In an address to parliament, Mr Corbyn said, "We have no time to waste. We are living in a climate crisis that will spiral dangerously out of control unless we take rapid and dramatic action now.

"This is no longer about a distant future we're talking about nothing less than the irreversible destruction of the environment within our lifetimes of members of this house. Young people know this. They have the most to lose."

The measure was passed as an opposition motion, using a procedure typically ignored by the ruling party, and has no direct consequences for policy.

But it represents a nod to an increasing vocal activist movement particularly among young people, who have staged school strikes and civil disobedience campaigns to demand action.

The vote was taken following 11 days of protests organised by climate activists Extinction Rebellion that brought several London sites to a standstill.

Extinction Rebellion called the vote a "first step in the government telling the truth about the climate and ecological emergency."

"Pressure on our politicians will now increase as nothing but decisive action will suffice," they added.

2 min read
Published 2 May 2019 at 7:46am
Source: Agencies