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Europe-wide climate emergency declared by EU Parliament

The resolution was adopted with 429 votes to 225.

Image: Jesus Merida/Zuma Press/PA Images

MEMBERS OF THE European Parliament have voted to declare a Europe-wide climate emergency.

The resolution, adopted with 429 votes to 225, is designed to put pressure on the incoming European Commission to tackle the issue head-on. 

In a separate resolution, Parliament voted to urge the EU to submit its strategy to reach climate neutrality as soon as possible, and by 2050 at the latest, to the UN Convention on Climate Change.

“This sends an important message internationally. Declaring a climate emergency throughout Europe ahead of the UN Climate Conference COP25, signals that the ecological catastrophe we are in the midst of must not be taken lightly,” Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan said. 

“I don’t want to say that this is good news. The issue is too appalling. But this vote puts an official political stamp on the issue, which brings pressure to bear which must be reflected in decision making across all aspects of domestic and international affairs.”

Yesterday, the European Parliament in Strasbourg gave Ursula von der Leyen a 461 to 157 vote of confidence for her plan to make the EU a green superpower. The former German defence minister 27-strong commission will take office this Sunday.

Grace O’Sullivan along with fellow Green MEP Ciaran Cuffe were among 89 MEPs who didn’t cast a vote for the team of 27 Commissioners. Cuffe said he wants to see specific examples in the incoming Commission President’s new European Green Deal.

“We’re seeing people on the street saying do something, an emergency, declaring an emergency is a way of saying we have to do things differently. And to that end, it’s worth doing, but it has to be followed up immediately. with changes in the way we allocate funding,” Cuffe told EuroParlRadio. 

‘A bigger job’ 

After a handover ceremony on Sunday, von der Leyen will head to Madrid next week for the COP 25 climate summit.

“I ask for your support to give Europe a new start,” she said yesterday. 

“Our union will embark on transformation that will touch every part of our society and economy and we will do it because it will be the right thing to do, not because it will be easy,” she said, promising a “European green deal… for the health of our planet, our people and our economy”. 

Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly told EuroParlRadio that’s he’s all for “increasing ambition” to tackle the climate crisis but “you cannot force it on people without having something in place to do so”. 

Kelly said that even if Europe managed to become carbon neutral there’s “a bigger job” to do.

“Maybe a more important job is convincing the Brazils the United States, the Chinas, and the Indias of this world, that they have to be as ambitious as us, then we’ll really make progress”.

About the author:

Adam Daly

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