It was May Day for climate activism when the Parliament of the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to declare a Climate Emergency. The motion for UK to declare an Environment and Climate was called by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Climate change is fueled by global warming, the warming of the Planet due to emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. Pre-industrial revolution carbon dioxide levels have been deduced to be around 280 ppm. There was then a sudden increase in the carbon dioxide concentration during the last 250 years of industrial revolution. As a result, the carbon dioxide concentration stand today at over 400 ppm, the highest ever in recorded history. The increase can be clearly correlated with increasing use of more and more fossil fuels like coal and petroleum.
On 1 May 2019, United Kingdom, from where began the industrial revolution, created history that may now usher in a new revolution. The Climate Emergency declared by the UK will give a fresh boost to the demand for clean energy, and the shift away from fossil fuel. It will perhaps also warn the developing world against adopting the western model of development.
The decision of the UK Parliament did not come on its own. It certainly took decades of campaigning, and fact telling, to make the decision makers aware of basic scientific facts. What guaranteed the declaration of the Climate Emergency was when the real stakeholders of the future, school children, refused to keep quiet anymore. The School Strike for Climate, where millions of school student took a day off to protest the inaction of their elected leaders, played its parts. As did the ongoing Extinction Rebellion, a non-violent campaign against climate breakdown.
The next big step now is for all countries to declare similar emergencies and this to be echoed in the United Nations until the world actually makes the transition to a green economy.