Ireland follows the UK, who also declared an emergency on May 1

Ireland officially declared a climate and biodiversity emergency on May 9, becoming the second country after the UK to do so.

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The declaration was made after an amendment to the Oireachtas report on Climate Action was accepted, RTE reports. The amendment was initially moved by Fianna Fáil climate action spokesperson Timmy Dooley.

The Journal explains that the amendment commits the Dáil to endorsing last year’s report from the Committee on Climate Action, which is chaired by TD Hildegarde Naughton. The report includes over 40 recommendations, including:

  • A call for new legislation setting ambitious climate and renewable energy targets;
  • An increase in the existing carbon tax from €20 to €80 per tonne by 2030;
  • The establishment of a forum for developing programmes to support diversification in agriculture;
  • A target for farm-based tree planting with copses of native trees.

However, with only nine TDs present and no Fianna Fáil members present in the Dáil at the time of the vote on Thursday evening, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan put it forward.

Afterward, TD Ryan told The Journal: “It was strange. I moved the Fianna Fáil amendment and the motion as amended was agreed, without anyone calling a vote in opposition to it.”

“Still glad it was agreed,” he said. “Time for climate action now.”

TD Ryan tweeted on Thursday:

Glad Dail Eireann (in unusual circumstances) has just declared a climate & biodiversity emergency & has endorsed the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action We now must act on the report, with a #GreenNewDeal delivering a #JustTransition

— Eamon Ryan (@EamonRyan) May 9, 2019

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On Friday, the Green Party released a statement saying that they hope the declaration is not just "gesture politics," and have laid out a plan of action they would like to see implemented in the wake of the declaration.

In particular, the Green Party is imploring Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to convene an emergency cabinet meeting to approve the following measures:

  1. Stop drilling for fossil fuels and end peat extraction
  2. Support sustainable transport
  3. Ban single-use plastic and start a deposit and return scheme for bottles

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On Friday, TD Ryan told climateloveireland: “The declaration is important because for fifty years we have stood back as the long slow erosion of our natural world has continued without doing anything about it and for thirty years we have done the same on climate change.”

“Recognizing that we are now at an emergency stage is one of the ways we might be able to get everyone into action stations.”

What do you think about Ireland's official emergency declaration? Let us know in the comments