Friday, May 10, 2019

Ireland declares a climate emergency

Last week, the UK Parliament became the first in the world to recognise the seriousness and urgency of the environmental situation by declaring a climate emergency. And last night, Ireland followed suit:

Ireland has become only the second country in the world to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency.

The development came after a Fianna Fáil amendment to the Oireachtas report on Climate Action was accepted by both the Government and Opposition parties without a vote.

Chair of the Climate Action Committee, Fine Gael's Hildegarde Naughton, welcomed the outcome as "an important statement" but added "now we need action."

She said Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton would speedily return to the Dáil with new proposals, and she looked forward to working "with all parties and none" to scrutinise them.

This isn't meaningless. It is a signal of intent, and as the article notes, will lead to new policies being put forward to reduce emissions. Its about focusing the mind of politicians on the problem that really matters, rather than the ones that don't - on the iceberg, rather than the deckchairs.

So, to ask the obvious question: when is New Zealand following suit? When will an MP even seek leave to put the motion to the House?