Lawmakers in the UK Parliament have declared “an environment and climate emergency,” making it the first country in the world to do so, according to the opposition Labour Party.
The motion was called by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The move comes a week after 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg addressed UK lawmakers to demand more climate action, and in the wake of protests by climate action group Extinction Rebellion, who blocked major landmarks in London.
Speaking earlier in the week, after the motion was announced, Thunberg said: “It is a great first step because it sends a clear signal that we are in a crisis and that the ongoing climate and ecological crises must be our first priority.
“We cannot solve an emergency without treating it like an emergency.”
Following the announcement of the decision to declare a climate emergency, she tweeted: “Historic and very hopeful news. Now other nations must follow. And words must turn into immediate action.”
Extinction Rebellion said in a statement: “This is the first step in the government telling the truth about the climate and ecological emergency.
“Pressure on politicians will now increase as nothing but decisive action will suffice.”
Earlier this week the Welsh and Scottish governments had both declared a climate emergency.
There’s no clear definition of what declaring a “climate emergency” means, but several cities, including Bristol and London, have already declared their own.
Today’s Labour motion also called on the government to set a target of reaching net zero emissions before 2050.
Tomorrow the Committee on Climate Change, which advises the UK government on its climate targets, will deliver its latest report.