Climate emergency declaredEthical News News & Features
Yesterday (01 May), the British Parliament officially declared a ‘climate emergency’. The stated aim for this declaration is to trigger national conversations inside and outside Parliament about how to tackle climate breakdown.
In order to add meaning and substance to words and rhetoric, MPs need to acknowledge the elephant in the room: the fossil fuel industry.
A political response
This declaration is a political response to the massive surge in protests, public interest and media coverage focused on climate change experienced in the UK over recent months.
Since the publication of the IPCC’s report in October 2018, there have been three rounds of nationwide school strikes and a 10-day rebellion that brought Central London to a standstill. MPs are feeling the pressure to react.
Right now climate change is hitting the headlines in the UK but fossil fuel corporations, whose core business model has perpetuated the climate crisis, seem to be largely absent from the national conversation.
In 2018, these corporations dedicated 1% of their capital expenditure to clean energy, yet they are set to increase their discovery of new oil reserves by 30%.
‘Now that Parliament has officially recognised the true scale of the climate crisis they must take appropriate measures. Across the UK people are demanding that MPs take emergency action to stop emissions from burning fossil fuels. This requires an immediate and permanent ban on fracking, bringing the North Sea Oil and Gas sector into managed decline, rejecting Drax’s application to convert its coal-burning units to gas, kicking the third runway at Heathrow into the tall grass, ending UK finance that funds fossil fuel exploration and extraction around the world, and divesting pension funds from fossil fuel companies.’
Divest Parliament campaigner
‘It is not enough for politicians to say that we need to move to net zero emissions quickly – this has been known for years. What is needed now is for MPs to support specific policy and regulatory measures that bring about the end of fossil fuels over the next two decades, and forge the cross-party consensus for these measures that will ensure they are translated into legislation’, said Tytus Murphy, Divest Parliament campaigner.
‘In this spirit, we invite all MPs to set an example by supporting the cross-party Divest Parliament campaign that is pressuring the Trustees of the MPs Pension Fund to phase out its substantial investments in BP and Shell, and commit to investing these funds in the clean energy technology and infrastructure future that is urgently needed’, said Hannah Short, Divest Parliament campaigner.