Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Activists inflated a huge warming earth globe outside Scottish government headquarters at St Andrew's House in Edinburgh in 2017 to highlight the emergency of climate change.

Activists inflated a huge warming earth globe outside Scottish government headquarters at St Andrew's House in Edinburgh in 2017 to highlight the emergency of climate change.  (Photo: Friends of the Earth Scotland/flickr/cc)

Citing Recent Protests, Wales Declares Climate Emergency

Announcement comes days before UK vote in Commons on possible climate emergency declaration.

Andrea Germanos

The Welsh government on Monday declared a climate emergency in hopes that doing so would "trigger a wave of action at home and internationally."

The declaration comes a day after the Scottish first minister made a similar pronouncement.

"Tackling climate change is not an issue which can be left to individuals or to the free market," Welsh environment minister Lesley Griffiths said in a statement. "It requires collective action and the government has a central role to making that collective action possible."

"No nation in the world has yet fully grasped this challenge but just as Wales played a leading role in the first industrial revolution," said Griffiths, "I believe Wales can provide an example to others of what it means to achieve environmental growth."

"Our sustainable development and environmental legislation is already recognized as world-leading ," she added, "and now we must use that legislation to set a new pace of change."

The statement also "highlights the recent climate protests across the U.K."

The Welsh declaration drew the attention of Swedish climate protester Greta Thunberg, who catalyzed the school climate strikes. "Activism works. So act," she tweeted.

Others, like Shadow Minister for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Andrew R.T. Davies, expressed skepticism.

"Only recently Labour's environment minister set emissions targets that actually fell short of those demanded by the Paris Agreement," said Davies, "so we await to see what action will be taken to ensure this isn't just another empty pledge from a Welsh Labour government that has consistently failed to deliver on its promises during its twenty years in government."

Climate mobilization Extinction Rebellion gave the announcement a tepid welcome.

"This has seen them start to #TellTheTruth about some of the climate and ecological crisis," the group said. "They must now halt biodiversity loss, go net #ZeroCarbon2025, and create a #CitizensAssembly."

The U.K.-based Youth Strike for Climate, meanwhile, pointed to Wednesday as a possible turning point.

That's when Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party will force a Commons vote on whether to declare a climate emergency, and put "Conservative MPs under pressure to back the plan, or explain why they refuse to do so," the Guardian reported.

"If our Parliament does the right thing and declares a climate emergency," said Corbyn, "it could trigger... [a]ctions that could save our planet."

Pointing to the kind of sustained actions young people like Thunberg have taken, Corbyn added, "The inspiring climate activism we've seen in recent weeks must serve as a massive and necessary wake up call for rapid and dramatic action."

Others, however, wonder whether Labour was ready to go beyond a climate declaration and really walk the climate walk.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas welcomed the upcoming vote, but wrote that "with the clock ticking we must be honest about the need to go much further, about a bold vision that puts an end to the 'growth at all costs' economic model."

She added:

We cannot tackle climate change whilst at the same time backing new fossil fuel extraction. Britain's first new deep coal mine in 30 years has been given the go-ahead by Cumbria County Council—backed by Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Conservative councillors. This decision is a slap in the face for the young people striking for a future.

Corbyn, for his part, said the vote gives Parliament "the chance to be the first in the world to declare an environment and climate emergency, which we hope will trigger a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the world."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Analysis Shows Facebook Allows 99% of Climate Disinformation to Go Unchecked

The new study coincided with Facebook's new initiative to combat climate lies, which civil society groups criticized as "too little, too late."

Jake Johnson ·


Sanders Says There's 'No Excuse' for Any Democrat to Oppose Lowering Drug Prices

"Now is the time for Congress to show courage and stand up to the greed of the pharmaceutical industry."

Jake Johnson ·


Covid-19 Vaccine Makers Blasted for 'Unconscionable Profits,' Monopolies, and Low Taxes

"Big Pharma's business model—receive billions in public investments, charge exorbitant prices for lifesaving medicines, pay little tax—is gold dust for wealthy investors and corporate executives but devastating for global public health."

Common Dreams staff ·


UN Human Rights Chief Calls for Global Halt to Sales of Dangerous AI Technologies

"The power of AI to serve people is undeniable, but so is AI's ability to feed human rights violations at an enormous scale with virtually no visibility."

Brett Wilkins ·


ICC Approves Probe Into 'Drug War' Atrocities Carried Out by Duterte Regime

"Duterte along with his co-accused henchmen of the war on drugs will be facing justice."

Andrea Germanos ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo