European Parliament declares climate emergency

On 28 November, four days before the start of the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, the EU Parliament in Strasbourg voted by a large majority for a resolution declaring climate emergency in the European Union, Euractiv reported. The resolution was adopted by 429 votes in favour, 225 against and 19 abstentions during a plenary vote in Strasbourg.

The climate emergency has a more symbolic character and is piling pressure for concrete legislation. This should underline the urgent need for action on climate change, the Parliament said. He is "proud to have achieved a majority in the European Parliament to make Europe the first continent to declare a climate and environmental emergency", said Pascal Canfin, chairman of the Environment Committee. He hopes this will meet the expectations of European citizens.

In the resolution, parliamentarians called on the EU Commission, the Member States and global players to take immediate and concrete action against climate change. In addition, the new EU Commission under President Ursula von der Leyen must examine all its work for consequences for the climate and the environment. Members of the Social Democratic, Liberal, Green and Left Party in particular voted in favour of the resolution. MEPs from the Conservatives, on the other hand, sharply criticised the decision.

Concretely, the EU Parliament confirmed its demand to reduce CO2 emissions by 55 percent by 2030. In addition, the EU should become climate neutral by 2050. Green and left-wing MEPs had declared even more ambitious targets in their own resolutions, but had not achieved a majority.

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