UK becomes first country to declare climate change emergency

MPs approved the motion yesterday put forward by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn

The Big Zero report

The UK has become the first country in the world to declare an “environment and climate emergency”.

MPs approved the motion yesterday put forward by Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn, who said it was a “huge step forward”.

He added: “Labour has just forced Parliament to declare a climate emergency. Now it’s time to get organising in our communities.

“In government, we’ll tackle climate change by investing renewable industries. We’ll reprogramme our economy so that it works for people, communities and our precious planet. But we can’t just wait until we’re in government, we’re kick starting our Green Industrial Revolution now.

“The Green Industrial Revolution will fight climate change and bring good, secure jobs to areas across the country. But it won’t be imposed top down, it will be for the many, by the many.”

While symbolic, the move does not legally compel the government to act, although it recognises the urgency needed to combat climate change.

The news follows a wave of protests launched by campaign group Extinction Rebellion, which put forward the declaration of an emergency as one of the key demands.

Extinction Rebellion tweeted following the announcement.

Speaking at the House of Commons, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the government recognises “the situation we face is an emergency”, however, did not meet Labour’s demands to officially declare one.

He added: “The environment belongs to all of us. The cause of climate change is a fight which unites us. All of us in the House have a common humanity that we need to defend.”

A government spokesperson told ELN: “It’s not about the words we use but the action we take to tackle this issue urgently.

“We already lead the world in tackling climate change, being the first country to introduce long-term legally-binding climate reduction targets and cutting emissions further than all other G20 countries. This report now sets us on a path to become the first major economy to legislate to end our contribution to global warming entirely.”

The Committee on Climate Change today called on the government to set a net-zero emissions target for 2050.

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