RSTV: THE BIG PICTURE- CLIMATE EMERGENCY
Lawmakers in the UK Parliament have declared “an environment and climate emergency,” making it the first country in the world to do so. The motion was called by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. The move comes a week after 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg addressed UK lawmakers to demand more climate action, and in the wake of protests by climate action group Extinction Rebellion, who blocked major landmarks in London. Earlier this week the Welsh and Scottish governments had both declared a climate emergency. There’s no clear definition of what declaring a “climate emergency” means, but several cities, including Bristol and London, have already declared their own. This week’s Labour motion also called on the government to set a target of reaching zero emissions before 2050.
What is Climate Emergency?
There is no single definition of what that means but many local areas say they want to be carbon-neutral by 2030. It’s a much more ambitious target than the UK government’s, which is to reduce carbon emissions by 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050.
Why declare an emergency?
The United Nations says we could have just 11 years left to limit a climate change catastrophe. It’s not just about reducing carbon emissions on a local scale, but also raising awareness about climate change and trying to convince MPs so that changes can be made.
The national government needs to declare an emergency and put resources in place to enable councils to help reduce carbon emissions. It’s the first step to radical action.
Failures on our end:
- This proposal, which demonstrates the will of the Commons on the issue but does not legally compel the government to act, was approved without a vote.
- The governments are not acting sufficiently and actively to tackle this issue
- The commitment of environment action particularly climate has come down.
- Every assessment of climate change which we are receiving is more and more alarming than the previous one.
- Response to the lack of action particularly in the West.
- After 2015 Paris agreement= we have slided down on many parameters across the world
- Change in Attitude is noticed:
- 1980-92= movement rapid because of NGOs which lead to UNFCCC, Kyoto Protocol.
- 2008= economic crises, emigration in Europe raised due to which government lost enthusiasm and public pressure too came down.
- 2014= Weak Paris Agreement
- Present= public opinion and pressure is back.
- It is the very serious issues which the civilized, contemporary, industrial world is facing for which we donot have solution.
Consequences of Climate Change:
- With the planet to experience further warming from the heat held by the oceans, there is increasing international focus on meeting the United Nation’s Paris Agreement which was signed by 197 countries in 2016. This ground-breaking agreement has the ambitious global aim of preventing global temperatures from reaching 2˚C above pre-industrial levels (the late nineteenth century) by 2100, and ideally should be no more than 1.5˚C.
- From economic point of view too it is going to cost us a lot.
- 2018 records to be the warmest year and worst calamities we have seen like cyclones, drought, hot spots events, wild fires etc.
- Threat to global biodiversity.
- Water table falling, glaciers melting, pollution are some of the other consequences.
- Immediate impact on water system and agriculture
- There is a change in market system, investment in renewable sector exceed than that of fossil fuel which is a welcome step.
- We are now focusing on electric vehicles and energy efficiency.
- Markets, corporations and public are moving faster in a positive way in many areas to tackle the issue.
- It is not power or energy sector which is responsible for today’s scenario but even land use changes which is far more serious too.
- Every sector has to work in a time bound manner.
- We need to take action regardless of what international agreements are.
- Infrastructure should be planned taking into consideration climate change.
- Research needs to be done on system of agriculture which accounts for 24% of carbon dioxide emission
There is a closing window of time available with us and the time is limited.
When a 16-year-old speaks (in Europe protest) with far greater clarity and conviction than the thousands of dithering policy wonks who have been debating for over three decades, we know the politics of the climate crisis must undergo a radical transformation.