European Parliament declares symbolic 'climate emergency' ahead of summit

Tourists under arches next to the flooded St Mark's Square

European Parliament declares symbolic ‘climate emergency’ ahead of summit

The resolution urges the Commission to ensure its policies align with targets to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The European Parliament voted today to declare a "climate and environment emergency" in a symbolic gesture just ahead of the latest United Nations global crisis summit.

The resolution was proposed by the Liberal parliamentary group last week, due to 'the sustained rise in global temperatures, peaking greenhouse gas emissions and extreme weather events happening all over Europe.' It follows a number of similar declarations from states and cities.

MEPs say that current aviation and shipping ambitions fall short of the necessary emissions reductions.

In addition, the deputies asked the new head of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von der Leyen by 2030, to include the goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 55% in the future European common environmental agreement that the new EC promised to develop in the course of their work. They said "urgency" would suffice.

"To act at the scale of the climate emergency, the parliament needs to push for real, immediate action", he said. They also note that pledges by developed countries do not meet the collective goal of 100 billion United States dollars per year as of 2020.

Finally, they urgently call on all European Union countries to phase out all direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies by 2020.

Pascal Canfin, Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety, said: "The European Parliament has just adopted an ambitious position in view of the upcoming COP 25 in Madrid".

The Oxford dictionary defines climate emergency as 'a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it.' The resolution itself doesn't foresee any concrete measures. It was backed by 429 MEPs, with 225 representatives voting against the plan, and 19 abstentions.

"But we can not afford to think that simply declaring a climate emergency is sufficient".

The UN's Convention on Climate Change - or COP25 - will be held in Madrid from 2 December to 13 December.

The European Parliament also believes that European countries should redouble its contributions to the worldwide Green climate Fund.

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