It’s the first parliament in the world to pass a motion of this kind
The UK parliament has become the first in the world to officially declare a climate emergency. MPs have passed a motion in the commons declaring an “environment and climate emergency” tabled by Labour and introduced by leader Jeremy Corbyn. In his speech he calls on MPs to take on their “historic duty” and act now to tackle the emergency.
“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”, he adds in his speech to the commons, “Are we content to hand down a broken planet to our children? That is the question members must ask themselves today. We have the chance to act before it’s too late. It’s a chance that won’t be available to succeeding generations. It is our historic duty to take it.”
In his statement Corbyn is full of adoration for the School Strike for Climate, headed by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg – currently listed in Dazed 100 – and young activists in general who he says: “grasp the threat to their own future. And in fact they want to be taught more about it as part of their curriculum.”
It’s a historic day for climate activists Extinction Rebellion (XR) as Lorna Greenwood, a spokesperson for the group tells Dazed: “this is amazing progress considering where we were just a few weeks ago, but it is purely symbolic and doesn't put any legal impetus on the Government. But what they've done by declaring this emergency is put the pressure on themselves, because now that they've started telling the truth about how bad things are, nothing but serious action is going to suffice.”
Labour has just forced the UK Parliament to declare a #ClimateEmergency.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 1, 2019
Real politics comes from the ground up, and that's what today has shown.
An emergency does not have to be a catastrophe - we now need a Green Industrial Revolution that will reprogramme our economy. pic.twitter.com/jbY0ywB3YU
One major concern for Lorna and XR is that the announcement focuses on reaching near zero emissions by 2050, whereas the climate group are calling for zero emissions by 2025. “The reality is that 2050 still damns us to a bleak future. We're a long way away from being in a situation where the issue of climate change and the ecological emergency is being dealt with,” Lorna says.
She adds, “as Clare Farrell one of the co-founders of XR said yesterday, now they've got to show us the money, now it's about what they do. XR is reflecting on how the last few weeks have gone, but we will be coming back in full force very shortly.”