Thursday, May 02, 2019

A climate emergency in the UK

Two weeks ago, protestors from Extinction Rebellion seized four sites in London, causing major traffic disruption. They held those sites for over a week, despite more than a thousand arrests, while demanding that the UK parliament declare a climate emergency. And today, their parliament has done just that, becoming the first country in the world to do so:

MPs have passed a motion making the UK parliament the first in the world to declare an “environment and climate emergency”.

The symbolic move – recognising the urgency needed to combat the climate crisis – follows a wave of protests launched by the Extinction Rebellion strikers in recent weeks.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for the motion to “set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the globe”.

He added: “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.”

Which sounds good, but it needs to be followed with concrete action to end fossil fuels, limit air travel, and sharply reduce emissions to zero - otherwise, it is just more hot air. Its do-able, but it requires a WW2-scale mobilisation to decarbonise the economy. Hopefully the UK has taken the first step towards that today.

Meanwhile, where's New Zealand? Wasn't climate change supposed to be "my generation's nuclear free moment"? But as we're seeing from the government's actual actions, that seems to have just been talk.