A climate emergency declaration is issued to set priority and prompt immediate action on climate change. Since 2016, more than 700 cities and eight countries have declared climate emergencies. Climate change is affecting every corner of the Earth, resulting in unexpected climatic conditions that are adversely affecting billions of people.
According to environmentalists, climate change is increasing at a faster rate such that it can no longer be mitigated by planting trees and will be irreversible by 2030. Despite a worldwide campaign to lower emission of greenhouse gases, developing and developed world continue to pump millions of tons into the atmosphere. China and the United States lead the world in the production of harmful gases as the two countries engage in an economic tussle. The reliance on fossil fuels is not likely to stop anytime soon as oil is viewed as a cheaper, more productive, and readily available source of energy. Bhutan is the only carbon negative country in the world, meaning that it consumes more carbon than it produces. The intense effects of climate change have prompted some states to declare climate emergencies, though environmentalists suggest that declaring an emergency without immediate action has minimal impact. The following are some of the countries that have declared a climate emergency.
The UK Parliament adopted the law declaring a climate emergency on May 1, 2019, a few days after the local parliaments of Scotland and Wales adopted the same. A day later, the British Crown of Jersey passed the law. The legislation demonstrates the will of the United Kingdom in recognizing climate change as an issue that needs urgency but does not compel the government to act in any manner. Though the United Kingdom has reduced its greenhouse emission compared to the 1990s, it still pumps half a billion tones into the atmosphere annually. The government targets to cut emissions by 80% by 2050.
The Irish Parliament adopted the Fianna Fáil amendment that declares a climate emergency on May 9, 2019. The move was provoked by the United Kingdom's decision to adopt the same, and pressure from local environmentalists and conservationists. The legislation commits Ireland to urgently address global warming and the loss of biodiversity in the country.
On June 17, 2019, the Canadian House of Commons passed a motion declaring a national climate emergency in the country. However, the passage of the bill is not likely to make a significant impact as oil production and the transport sectors are among the fastest-growing and largest industries in the country.
The French Parliament declared a climate emergency on June 27, 2019, following a public outcry and rising temperatures across the country. The environment minister stated that a political declaration was needed to address the impact of the changing climate on the French people. France is among the countries that emit vast amounts of greenhouse gases from its manufacturing and processing facilities as the nation strives to catch up with the rest of the developed world.
The Argentine Senate passed the law approving the country's climate change policy and declaring a climate emergency on July 17, 2019. The legislation establishes strategic measures, instruments, and plans to mitigate the impact of climate change. The law also establishes the minimum budget for Environmental conservation and protection. Argentina became the first South America state to declare a climate emergency with the intent of provoking other countries to follow suit.
Other territories that have declared climate emergencies including the Holy See, Isle of Man and Jersey Island. Major cities such as New York, Paris, Sydney, and Melbourne have also declared a climate emergency to reduce carbon emission by limiting the number of vehicles that burn fossil fuels within city limits.