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Opposition parties join calls for declaration of Climate Emergency after Extinction Rebellion protests

Mon 29 April 2019 | Back to news list

Opposition parties are calling on the Government to declare a Climate Emergency after protests by Extinction Rebellion activists resulted in disruption in London and over 1,000 arrests. The Labour Party is forcing a vote in Parliament on the issue after a visit by school striker Greta Thunberg to the UK and a high profile television documentary prompted stronger and more urgent calls for action.
The Welsh and Scottish Nationalists, Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and Labour joined forces to call on the Government to declare an environmental and climate emergency after a week of protests in London and across the country resulted in unprecedented media coverage about climate change, biodiversity loss and other environmental challenges. 
The call for the declaration of a Climate Emergency was one of the key demands of Extinction Rebellion (XR). Their demands were echoed by Swedish schoolgirl activist Greta Thunberg who had private talks with UK political leaders and addressed Parliamentarians at a special Parliamentary reception.
The Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (quoted by Sky News) praised "the inspiring climate activism we've seen in recent weeks" and said it was a "massive and necessary wake-up call for rapid and dramatic action".
The focus on climate change over the Easter period was intensified by the airing of a BBC documentary, presented by renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough entitled 'Climate Change - The Facts' which was watched by over three million people. 
A separate report by German scientists found that CO2 levels have reached concentrations unprecedented on any human time scale and are now higher than they have been for at least three million years.
Against this backdrop, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, called on global financial leaders to place climate adaptation and mitigation at the heart of future economic policies and planning, after joining a new global coalition to drive action on climate change.
The Committee on Climate Change - the Government's advisory body on climate policy - is expected to call for a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2050 (replacing the 80% target in the 2008 Climate Change Act) and also to advise that the UK is off track in terms of progress towards meeting the Fourth and Fifth Carbon Budgets.

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