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01st May 2019

Jeremy Corbyn: MPs have ‘historic duty’ to declare climate emergency

The Labour leader will demand parliament declares a national emergency and invest in green industries

Oli Dugmore

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and local election Labour candidate Mandy Clare take part in local election campaigning with activists in Cheshire on April 16, 2019 in Winsford, England. During local election campaigning Jeremy Corbyn earlier called for investment in local policing as he discussed rising crime in the local area with residents. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The Labour leader will demand parliament declares a national emergency and invest in green industries

Jeremy Corbyn will call on MPs to declare a climate emergency today, declaring a “historic duty” to take action before it’s too late.

A wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion that shut down several major London locations caused a groundswell of support for the group, both in terms of volunteers and donations.

The Labour leader will use today’s opposition day debate to issue the demand and also advocate for a green industrial revolution, Michael Gove will respond for the government.

Swedish environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg (2R) receives applause after addressing politicians, media and guests within the Houses of Parliament on April 23, 2019 in London, England. Her visit coincides with the ongoing "Extinction Rebellion" protests across London, which have seen days of disruption to roads and transport systems, in a bid to highlight the dangers of climate change. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Both met 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, figurehead of the youth climate strike movement, during her visit to London last week.

Labour released sections of Corbyn’s speech in advance, which will call for immediate action to deal with rising temperatures and loss of wildlife. He will say: “Today this house must declare an environment and climate emergency.

“We have no time to waste. We are living in a climate crisis that will spiral dangerously out of control unless we take rapid and dramatic action now.

“I was deeply moved a few weeks ago to see the streets outside this parliament filled with colour and noise by children on strike from school chanting, ‘Our planet, our future.’

“For someone of my generation, it was inspiring but also humbling that children felt they had to leave school to teach the adults a lesson. The truth is, they are ahead of the politicians on this, the most important issue of our times.

“Parliament rarely leads change, it usually drags its feet. Think about the huge transformations to our society: workers’ rights, women’s rights, gay rights.

“The impetus has always come from outside, from social movements and communities, while Westminster is often the last place to understand it. Let’s not repeat that pattern. Let’s respond to the younger generation, who are raising the alarm.

“By declaring a climate emergency, we could set off a wave of action from parliaments and governments around the world. It’s a chance that won’t be available to succeeding generations. It is our historic duty to take it.”