Scotland and Wales: World’s first governments to declare a climate emergency

On 28 April 2019, as the first government in the world, First Minister of the Scottish government Nicola Sturgeon declared a climate emergency at the annual Scottish National Party conference:

“As First Minister of Scotland, I am declaring that there is a climate emergency. And Scotland will live up to our responsibility to tackle it.”

The climate emergency statement starts at 24:00 minutes in the Facebook video.

Click to listen to 2-minute audio excerpt. Transcript:

“Our obligations to the next generation are the most important that we carry. A few weeks ago, I met some of the young climate change campaigners who’ve gone on strike from school to raise awareness of their cause. They want governments around the world to declare a climate emergency. They say that’s what the science tells us. And they are right.

So today, as First Minister of Scotland, I am declaring that there is a climate emergency. And Scotland will live up to our responsibility to tackle it.

[Standing ovation]

We are already a world leader, and our new legislation commits us to being carbon neutral by 2050. It contains some of the toughest targets in the world. But many are urging us to do more and go further.

I am listening.

Later this week, the Committee on Climate Change will publish new scientific advice on Scotland’s targets.

So I am making this public promise to the young people I met, and to their entire generation. If that advice says we can go further or go faster, we will do so. Scotland will lead by example.

Friends, that commitment to future generations has been the hallmark of your SNP government.”

~ Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish First Minister and leader of the Scottish National Party

→ BBC News – 28 April 2019:
Nicola Sturgeon declares ‘climate emergency’ at SNP conference
“Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has declared a “climate emergency” in her speech to the SNP conference.”

→ Common Dreams – 28 April 2019:
The Declare a ‘Climate Emergency’ Movement Grows as Scotland Joins
“Also, UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn launched a bid to declare a climate emergency in the United Kingdom.”

→ The Guardian – 29 April 2019:
Nicola Sturgeon says world is facing a climate emergency
“SNP leader tells party members she will speed up efforts to achieve zero carbon emissions.”


Wales government declares a climate emergency

On 1 May 2019, the Welsh Assembly made history becoming the first national Parliament to pass a motion declaring a climate emergency. 38 voted for the motion, two against, and there were 12 abstentions.

→ BBC News – 29 April 2019:
‘Climate emergency’ declared by Welsh Government
“A ‘climate emergency’ has been declared in Wales following protests demanding politicians take action on climate change.”

→ Party of Wales – 1 May 2019:
We must declare a Climate Emergency on our own terms, not when it’s too late
“The first step is to acknowledge our problem, which is why Plaid Cymru have tabled a motion in the Senedd to declare a Climate Emergency. After all, accepted science tells us that we only have 12 years left to avert this crisis. But what happens next? The Welsh Government, two days before the Plaid Cymru motion is to be debated, has declared a climate emergency. Without the commitment to action that such a declaration necessitates, their statement is meaningless.”