May 01, 2019
The U.K. Parliament made history on Wednesday by becoming the first to declare an environment and climate emergency.
MPs in the House of Commons passed the motion put forth by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn following debate.
"This can set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe," Corbyn said in a statement, which called attention to the recent wave of actions demanding urgent action on the climate crisis.
"Protesters and school-strikers told us to act," he said. "Governments never act without pressure and we must keep the pressure up. I'm proud that the Labour Party brought this motion to the House, and now we will carry on this work by developing our plans to deliver a Green Industrial Revolution."
"Now it's time for real action to tackle climate change," Labour added on Twitter.
Climate activists welcomed the development--and the grassroots power that made it happen--but also stressed that it must be followed by a dismantling of business-as-usual to truly behave as though it's an emergency.
This is extraordinary. A people's emergency was declared from below and the politicians were forced to follow. Huge congrats to everyone who was part of this. https://t.co/njLG6BkAS3
\u201cBREAKING - UK MPs pass a motion to declare an environment & climate emergency. This has seen them start to #TellTheTruth about the climate & ecological crisis. They must now halt biodiversity loss, go net #ZeroCarbon2025 & create a #CitizensAssembly.\nhttps://t.co/qXR7vEJwpG\u201d— Extinction Rebellion (@Extinction Rebellion) 1556734853
\u201cThe UK Parliament has declared an \u201cenvironment and #ClimateEmergency\u201d. Now we must act on it. It means:\nNo 3rd Runway at Heathrow\nNo fracking\nLeave fossils in the ground\nRetiring fossil fuel based infrastructure\nEncouraging a shift to a plant-based diet\nAn end to economic growth\u201d— George Monbiot (@George Monbiot) 1556738620
\u201cI\u2019m pleased Parliament has declared a #ClimateEmergency \n\nBut words are cheap - we need urgent action\n\nSo to be clear\n\nYou can\u2019t declare #climate emergency AND continue business as usual - fracking, building new runways, industrialised farming etc etc \n https://t.co/mO0GtLMp9A\u201d— Caroline Lucas (@Caroline Lucas) 1556738772
\u201c\u201cMPs have passed a motion making the UK parliament the first in the world to declare an \u201cenvironment and climate emergency\u201d. \n \nHistoric and very hopeful news. Now other nations must follow. And words must turn into immediate action. #ClimateBreakdown https://t.co/9CUv7jt0gm\u201d— Greta Thunberg (@Greta Thunberg) 1556740082
\u201cThe noise in Parliament Square as UK Parliament becomes first country to declare a #ClimateEmergency\n\nBut this is not just about words, it is about actions. We'll be right here until that happens.\u201d— UK Youth Climate Coalition (@UK Youth Climate Coalition) 1556734408
\u201cWE DID IT!!!\n\nThe UK Government has declared a #ClimateEmergency.\n\nActivism works. \ud83c\udf89\ud83c\udf89\ud83c\udf89\n\n#YouthStrike4Climate #ExtinctionRebellion #ClimateChange\u201d— UK Youth Climate Coalition (@UK Youth Climate Coalition) 1556734560
The U.K. Parliament will vote Wednesday on a Labour Party motion to declare a climate emergency.
"We have no time to waste," Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said in prepared remarks. "We are living in a climate crisis that will spiral dangerously out of control unless we take rapid and dramatic action now."
Corbyn also praised youth who've led recent climate strikes.
"The truth is they are ahead of the politicians on this--the most important issue of our times," said Corbyn.
"By becoming the first parliament in the world to declare a climate emergency," he added, "we could set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe."
Watch the debate in the House of Commons currently underway:
A number of environmental groups, including UK Student Climate Network, Extinction Rebellion, and Friends of the Earth, are supporting a demonstration outside Parliament at 5pm.
"The first step to mitigating the worst impacts of climate change is making the government admit the scale and urgency of the situation," the groups said in a call-to-action. "This is our chance to make that happen."
In a tweet posted Tuesday, Corbyn gave a sense of urgency to his party's motion. "It's time to act," he said.
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