UK Parliament declares 'environment and climate emergency'

UK Parliament declares 'environment and climate emergency'

Great Britain's parliament on Wednesday declared an “environment and climate emergency” following 11 days of protests that had tied up London.

The motion has no legal effect on the country's climate policies and was passed as an opposition motion through the use of a procedure typically ignored by the ruling party, according to Reuters.

But it was hailed as a symbolic statement of the need to take deeper actions to limit the growing problem of climate change. 

It was backed by the opposition Labour Party, and its leader, Jeremy Corbyn, hailed it as a response to the protests. 

“Labour has just forced the UK Parliament to declare a #ClimateEmergency. Real politics comes from the ground up, and that's what today has shown. An emergency does not have to be a catastrophe - we now need a Green Industrial Revolution that will reprogramme our economy,” Corbyn tweeted.

He added that party officials will go on a listening tour of sorts throughout the country to try to sell its Green Industrial Revolution, which will seek to combat climate change by investing in eco-friendly jobs and incorporate feedback from constituents. 

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Officials will speak with “construction and manufacturing workers about what training is needed to build offshore wind turbines. Local people will tell us about the bus routes they’ll need restored to help them get to worked. And we’ll speak with housing groups, residents and business owners to determine how our plan for green jobs can work for their local economy,” Corbyn said. 

“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.”

The vote comes a week after a viral address to lawmakers from 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg that demanded action to combat climate change.

“Historic and very hopeful news. Now other nations must follow. And words must turn into immediate action,” Thunberg tweeted after the motion passed.

The vote also comes after activists from the climate action group Extinction Rebellion protested by blocking major London landmarks in recent days.

The Welsh and Scottish governments both declared climate emergencies of their own earlier this week.