Imagine the nerve - debating climate change as a national emergency. Britain's Labour Party intends to force a debate on the issue this week in Parliament.
Labour will this week force a vote in parliament to declare a national environmental and climate change emergency...
Jeremy Corbyn’s party will demand on Wednesday that the country wakes up to the threat and acts with urgency to avoid more than 1.5°C of warming, which will require global emissions to fall by about 45% from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching “net zero” before 2050.
The move will place Conservative MPs under pressure to back the plan, or explain why they refuse to do so, now fears over the combined problems of air pollution and climate change have risen to the top of the political agenda.
On Saturday night Corbyn said the recent wave of protests were “a massive and necessary wake-up call” that demanded “rapid and dramatic action, which only concerted government action and a green industrial revolution can deliver.” He said that if parliament backed the move and became the first national legislature to declare a climate emergency it would “trigger a wave of action from governments around the world”.Why not bring the Extinction Rebellion right to the floor of the House of Commons? How many nations are not already experiencing climate change emergencies? Certainly not Canada. Definitely not the United States either.
Governments, especially in petro-states like our own, have resisted recognizing reality but we do exist in a state of climate change emergency, a national emergency that manifests in a variety of ways - droughts, floods, severe weather events, sea level rise, species and pest migrations, on and on and on.
Canada lives in a state of climate emergency and it's not going away. Every national academy of sciences will tell you that. NASA, NOAA, NCAR and others carry the same message, even spelling it all out very bluntly in the recent National Climate Assessment that Trump dismissed with a profoundly ignorant, "I don't believe it." Environment Canada will tell you that. The British Met Office tells you that. The governor of the Bank of England and his predecessor have been telling us that for years.
Trump may have the ignorance to say, "I don't believe it." We do the same thing only not so directly. Instead of treating climate change as a national emergency we fall back on sops such as a minuscule carbon tax to give the public false hope and then we build pipelines and subsidize the fossil energy giants to the tune of billions of dollars every year.
The motion was welcomed by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who has criticised the inaction of the world’s politicians. “It is a great first step because it sends a clear signal that we are in a crisis and that the ongoing climate and ecological crises must be our first priority,” she said. “We can not solve an emergency without treating it like an emergency. “I hope the other UK political parties join in and together pass this motion in parliament – and that political parties in other countries will follow their example.”