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LABOUR declared “a national environment and climate emergency” today.
Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman made the comments in the Commons as she asked the government whether it would join Labour in doing the same.
She also called on the government to meet with young climate strikers, who have previously had their meeting with Energy Minister Claire Perry cancelled.
Extinction Rebellion’s (XR) Friederike Lurken said it is “important” Labour is taking this step.
She said: “We are living through a climate emergency because governments and industry have not shown the necessary leadership and so far have not acted fast enough.
Fortunately thousands upon thousands of people are rising up with XR, and cultural institutions are joining with us.
“Dozens of local councils around Britain have already declared a climate emergency – both inspired by and through grassroots pressure from XR and the global School Strike For Climate.”
Labour’s intervention came as a major UN report warned today that the world is seeing record sea level rises and devastating floods, storms, heatwaves and wildfires as climate change impacts grow.
UN secretary general Antonio Guterres said “there is no longer any time for delay” on tackling climate change as the World Meteorological Organisation’s (WMO) state of the climate 2018 report was published.
The physical signs of climate change and the impacts on people are accelerating as record greenhouse gas concentrations drive global temperatures to increasingly dangerous levels, the report said.
However provisional government figures show that Britain’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 3 per cent in 2018 as pollution from the energy sector continued to fall.
Emissions of the gases which drive climate change have fallen for six years in a row, and are 44 per cent below the 1990 baseline for Britain.
In Scotland, Extinction Rebellion interrupted First Minister’s Questions at midday today to demand action in the face of the climate emergency.
A spokesperson from Extinction Rebellion Scotland said “Extinction Rebellion Scotland did not wish to undermine other concerns raised by MSPs, but to highlight the climate crisis as this is not sufficiently dealt with despite its pressing importance.”
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