Greta Thunberg heralds ‘great news’ of Irish climate emergency declaration

Published by Kayle Crosson on

May 10th, 2019

There has been a strong positive reaction across the world to Ireland’s declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency yesterday evening.

The issue was raised during a debate on a motion to accept and endorse the recommendations of the new landmark climate report from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action.

While a vote was due to be taken next Thursday, it was agreed to accept without vote an amendment to the motion from Fianna Fáil for the Dail to declare both a climate and biodiversity emergency.

The accepted amendment also calls on the Citizens’ Assembly to examine how the State can improve its response to the issue of biodiversity loss.

Responding to the news on social media last night, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg heralded the move as “great news”.

Greta pointed out to the Government that a climate emergency “means leaving fossil fuels in the ground” and sent a call to other countries around the world asking “who is next?”

The declaration of a climate emergency is one of the key demands of the student strike movement that began in August 2018 when Greta started protesting on the steps of the Swedish Parliament.

Prominent Scottish school striker Holly Gillibrand also took to Twitter to express her support for Ireland’s declaration. She said that she would be striking once more this Friday because “words have been spoken and now we need action”.

Popular US-based climate activist and writer Rebecca Solnit also shared the news to her followers via Facebook, adding that “climate summer is coming” as momentum builds before the movement.

The European branch of Greenpeace praised the move as a first step in a new era of climate action but also asked “when will Leo Varadkar’s government take real steps to avoid climate breakdown?”

Dr Ciaran O Carroll Photo: Niall Sargent

Extinction Rebellion was also encouraged by Ireland’s declaration, stressing that the Irish government must now halt biodiversity loss and achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2025.  

The declaration of a climate and ecological emergency was Extinction Rebellion Ireland’s (XRI) first demand. Speaking to The Green News, XRI’s Dr Ciaran O’Carroll said that the declaration will be meaningless “without urgent action to reduce our emissions to net zero by 2030”.

“The fact of the matter is we remain unprepared for the danger our future holds,” he cautioned as the world faces increasing risk of floods, wildfires, extreme weather, crop failure, and mass displacement.

“The good news is in Ireland at least the time of denial is finally over. The time for action is now.”

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Kayle Crosson

Kayle is a multimedia journalist focused on climate and environmental issues and contributes to The Irish Times and The Green News.