UK government first in the world to declare an 'environment and climate emergency'
Following weeks of protests from the nonviolent resistance movement Extinction Rebellion, the UK government has become the first in the world to declare an "environment and climate emergency." On Wednesday night, members of Parliament passed the motion, a symbolic move that recognizes we must take urgent action to tackle the climate crisis.
While introducing the motion, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called on MP's to recognize the "devastating impact" of volatile and extreme weather on all walks of life. "We have no time to waste,” he said, as reported by The Independent. "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 are talking about nothing less than the irreversible destruction of the environment within our lifetimes."
Corbyn urged MP's to "declare an environment and climate emergency" and called for the motion to "set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe." "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 stated.
During the debate, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the government recognizes "the situation we face is an emergency," but fell short of officially declaring one. "It is a crisis. It is a threat that all of us have to unite to mee," Gove said. "Five of the warmest years that this planet has endured have happened since 2010. The consequences for all of us are visible."
"While statistics can sometimes be abstract and the impact can seem distant, we can all know that as individual citizens and as parents that the next generation will face the consequences if we do no take action now to deal with climate change," Gove continued. He insisted the legislation will be introduced “shortly” to ensure the UK has the “highest standards of environmental protection."
The UK's strong leadership on the environment and climate crisis starkly contrasts with the USA. Republican President Donald Trump is a notorious climate change denier whose policies have undone decades of environmentalism. 97% of climate scientists believe climate change is real and humans are causing it, yet many choose to stick their heads in the sand. A curious choice, since those people presumably trust scientific experts when they need medical treatment.