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European Parliament declares climate and environmental emergency

This symbolic vote follows similar votes in several EU national parliaments, notably in France, the United Kingdom and Austria.

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The European Parliament decreed the climate and environmental emergency on Thursday, November 28, in a symbolic vote to keep up the pressure on EU leaders in the run-up to COP25 on climate change. The resolution, adopted by a comfortable majority (429 for, 225 against and 19 abstentions), affirms Parliament's commitment to “limit global warming to 1.5ºC and avoid a massive loss of biodiversity”. It follows similar votes in several EU national parliaments, notably in France, the United Kingdom and Austria.

“The fact that Europe is the first continent to declare the climate and environmental emergency, just before COP25, as the new Commission takes office, and three weeks after Donald Trump confirmed the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement, is a strong message sent to citizens and the rest of the world “welcomed Pascal Canfin (Renew Europe, Center and Liberals), President of the Environment Committee of the European Parliament.

The vote on the resolution, which has no binding legal intent, gave rise to a semantic debate on whether to declare “Urgency” or “emergency state”especially among English and German speakers. “These decisions will have a real impact on the daily lives of Europeans, it is urgent to act, but not a state of emergency to declare”, reacted Peter Liese on behalf of the EPP, who advocated the use of a term that did not give the impression of “panic”.

The Greens, who supported the resolution, warned, however, that it was not a question of sticking to fine words. “We can declare climate emergencies, but people in the street do not ask for declarations, they ask us to act”Bas Eickhout warned during a debate Monday night.

Franceinfo is a partner in the “Let's work together for the environment” consultation with Make.org. If you want to participate, you can submit your ideas and vote on the other participants in the module below.

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