On Monday 28th Nov. 2019, members of the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly to declare a climate emergency.
Changing weather patterns and extreme weather events linked to climate change has put this on most government’s agenda. The vote comes just before the 25th United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP25) which is being held in Spain on 2nd to 13th Dec.
The European Union is the first continent to declare a climate emergency. United Kingdom was the first country to declare the emergency in May 2019 followed by Ireland. “Five years ago, no one would have expected the European Parliament to declare a climate emergency, so there’s some progress,” said Greenpeace’s Sebastian Mang
The new President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen will speak on the first day of the Madrid summit. She wants to see billions of euro invested into making Europe the first “climate neutral” continent by 2050.
As of 19 May 2019, 548 councils with 64 million constituents in 12 countries had adopted the climate emergency language, though what this means varies from full community mobilisation to statements of increased ambition with a general common goal of zero emissions by 2030.
But scientists and activists have warned that countries are lagging behind on the Paris Agreement targets and not enough is being done to meet the three climate goals: reducing emissions 45 per cent by 2030; achieving climate neutrality by 2050 (which means a net zero carbon footprint), and stabilizing global temperature rise at 1.5°C by the end of the century. Declaring a climate emergency needs to be followed by urgent, decisive actions otherwise it will be of little use in the fight against climate change.