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EU declares climate emergency

Topics Covered:

Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment


EU declares climate emergency


What to study?

For Prelims: Which countries have announced climate emergencies so far?

For Mains: what does this mean, rationale behind, significance and implications?


Context: European Union (EU) has become the first multilateral bloc to declare climate emergency. A resolution in this regard was recently passed.



The symbolic move is expected to pressurise countries to act ahead of the United Nations summit on climate change that starts on December 2 in Spain.

The resolution will have more symbolic effect than practical impact, and is designed to pressure EU governments to adopt a commitment for all of the EU to reduce emissions to net zero.


Who else have declared climate emergency?

Similar climate emergency declarations have already been made in several EU member states, including Spain, France and the United Kingdom. Outside Europe only Canada, Argentina and Bangladesh have declared a climate emergency.


What is Climate Emergency?

There is no single definition of what that means but many local areas say they want to be carbon-neutral by 2030.

It varies. For example, for UK government it is to reduce carbon emissions by 80% (compared to 1990 levels) by 2050.


Why declare an emergency?

  1. The United Nations says we could have just 11 years left to limit a climate change catastrophe.
  2. It’s not just about reducing carbon emissions on a local scale, but also raising awareness about climate change.


What does the Paris Agreement say?

With the planet to experience further warming from the heat held by the oceans, there is increasing international focus on meeting the United Nation’s Paris Agreement which was signed by 197 countries in 2016.

The agreement has the ambitious global aim of preventing global temperatures from reaching 2˚C above pre-industrial levels (the late nineteenth century) by 2100, and ideally should be no more than 1.5˚C.


Sources: Down to earth.