The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Ireland Becomes Second Country to Declare Climate Emergency
The Republic of Ireland became the second country in the world to declare a climate emergency Thursday, The Independent Ireland reported. The declaration was passed Thursday evening when both the government and opposition parties agreed to an amendment to a climate action report.
"We're reaching a tipping point in respect of climate deterioration," Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton said. "Things will deteriorate very rapidly unless we move very swiftly and the window of opportunity to do that is fast closing."
The Irish declaration follows a similar action from UK's parliament May 1. The governments of Wales and Scotland have also declared climate emergencies.
Its official.Ireland becomes 2nd country in the world to declare a #ClimateEmergency & Dáil also agreed to endorse all the recommendations of the Oireachtas Climate Action Report .Definitely one of the highlights for me as a @greenparty_ie TD .My children are thrilled. pic.twitter.com/bcQhvYxvqx— Catherine Martin TD (@cathmartingreen) May 9, 2019
Irish Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan pointed out that the declaration needed to be a starting point.
"Declaring an emergency means absolutely nothing unless there is action to back it up,' he said, as BBC News reported. "That means the Government having to do things they don't want to do."
Climate Action Committee Chair Hildegarde Naughton said that Bruton would bring new climate action proposals before the Dáil, as the Irish parliament is called, and that she looked forward to working with her colleagues to assess them.
"Now we need action," she said, as BBC News reported.
Good news at the end of the Dail Motion today supporting the report of the Climate Action Committee, which I chair. We now have cross party support in declaring a climate and biodiversity emergency. Action now needed. #ClimateEmergencyhttps://t.co/XfzgCi0tgw— Hildegarde Naughton (@1Hildegarde) May 9, 2019
Bruton praised the efforts of young people around the world who have protested for greater action on climate change for giving the debate more urgency.
"It is justified that a level of urgency be injected into this debate," he said, as The Independent Ireland reported.
Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish activist who has been credited with inspiring the youth climate movement, in turn tweeted her support for Ireland's decision.
The Dáil will have a chance to follow Thunberg's advice next month, when it will have a chance to support a Climate Emergency Measures Bill put forward by Solidarity/People Before Profit Deputy Bríd Smith, which seeks to limit oil and gas exploration. Smith said she was "delighted" with the emergency declaration, but that it would be "interesting to see" if the government would take it further by supporting her bill, RTÉ reported.
The Oireachtas Climate Action report that spurred the declaration came from a Citizens' Assembly report; another Citizens' Assembly will consider the issue of a biodiversity emergency, RTÉ explained.
Fianna Fail's climate action spokesman Timmy Dooley, who moved the amendment to declare an emergency, said that if the government followed the recommendations in the climate action report it would "bring an end to our laggardly response to climate change," The Independent Ireland reported.
- Climate change: Ireland is a developed country with a developing ... ›
- End of an era as Ireland closes its peat bogs 'to fight climate change ... ›
- Climate Change and the Irish Financial System ›
- Thousands of students strike for climate change in Dublin ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Colorado senator and 2020 hopeful Michael Bennet introduced his plan to combat climate change Monday, in the first major policy rollout of his campaign. Bennet's plan calls for the establishment of a "Climate Bank," using $1 trillion in federal spending to "catalyze" $10 trillion in private spending for the U.S. to transition entirely to net-zero emissions by 2050.
When Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its replacement for the Obama-era Clean Power Plan in August 2018, its own estimates said the reduced regulations could lead to 1,400 early deaths a year from air pollution by 2030.
Now, the EPA wants to change the way it calculates the risks posed by particulate matter pollution, using a model that would lower the death toll from the new plan, The New York Times reported Monday. Five current or former EPA officials familiar with the plan told The Times that the new method would assume there is no significant health gain by lowering air pollution levels below the legal limit. However, many public health experts say that there is no safe level of particulate matter exposure, which has long been linked to heart and lung disease.
By Andrea Germanos
Animal welfare advocates are praising soon-to-be introduced legislation in the U.S. that would ban the use of wild animals in traveling circuses.
By Tara Lohan
It's been the wettest 12 months on record in the continental United States. Parts of the High Plains and Midwest are still reeling from deadly, destructive and expensive spring floods — some of which have lasted for three months.
Mounting bills from natural disasters like these have prompted renewed calls to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by Federal Emergency Management Agency and is now $20 billion in debt.