Climate crisis: what does it really mean?
Recently, amongst other subjects, climate change has been making a lot of headlines
We all understand what climate change is, the warming of the planet, greenhouse gases, melting ice caps and the rest and thanks to movements such as Extinction Rebellion, the UK Parliament have just declared “an environment and climate emergency”.
It was made clear through a series of protests over the previous weeks that the general population had already declared a climate crisis, bringing it to the attention of politicians to be able to pass this declaration. This series of protests has highlighted the fact that everyone is fed up making changes to their own lives, making a full-on effort to make sure they aren’t adding to this climate crisis whilst the people in power sit back and do nothing.
Yes, buying metal straws, reusable bottles and cutting back your meat consumption is great, but in reality it is believed that just 90 companies are responsible for 50% of the mean global surface temperature rise since the industrial revolution, it isn’t right for the blame to be placed just on the public.
Many cities and towns across the UK had already declared their own climate emergency, saying they want to be carbon neutral by the year 2030.
This all sounds great, but what does it really mean?
Well there is no real set definition of what this actually means but the MPs have called on the government to set a new target of zero net emissions by 2050. Scotland had already declared this state of emergency and have their own target of zero net emissions by 2045.
Although the term is vague, it is needed to push global governments into action. The United Nations have estimated that we have just 11 years to limit a climate change catastrophe. Carla Denyer, a Bristol councillor, first put forward the idea of a climate emergency on a local scale and in November, the city council passed the motion.
The UK’s declared state of emergency is hoping to inspire many other countries to follow in suite and have a global contribution in tackling this climate crisis. There is already agreements in place, such as the Paris agreement which has 195 signatories. However, this is all well and good but when countries such as the USA pull out, with no consequences, how effective really is it? If it is that easy to opt out and not stick to the guidelines, then what is encouraging countries to actually make this change to, in a broad sense, save this planet. This is very similar to this declaration of a ‘climate crisis’, this promise of lowering emissions in a certain time frame is all very reassuring accompanied by the scary title of ‘climate crisis’ which seems official but it is more of a no-strings-attached relationship. Empty promises in a sense. If no changes are made in light of this climate emergency, there is no consequences for the government that made these targets.
So, whether this declaration makes a difference is a question that is yet to be answered, but we can only hope that it opens their eyes to these problems that we are all facing and inspire them to want to change the way our country runs.