Friday, November 29, 2019

Climate Change: Europe declares an emergency

The European Parliament has voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency:

The European parliament has declared a global “climate and environmental emergency” as it urged all EU countries to commit to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The vote came as scientists warned that the world may have already crossed a series of climate tipping points, resulting in “a state of planetary emergency”.

Intended to demonstrate Europe’s green credentials days before a crucial UN climate conference in Madrid, the vote also ratchets up pressure on Ursula von der Leyen, the incoming president of the European commission, who declared this week that the EU would lead the fight against “the existential threat” of the climate crisis.

The next step of course is to follow this up with action: more ambitious targets, and tougher policies to reach them. Most of Europe has agreed to phase out coal, which is a good start, but they need to do a lot more.

Meanwhile, I'm once again asking: what about New Zealand? Where's our emergency? Because while its symbolic, symbols matter. They drive action, say "we are going to take this seriously", and enable the government to be held to account for failing to do so. So, why isn't prime Minister who famously declared climate change to be "my generations' nuclear free moment" pushing this here?