Published: Thu, May 02, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Climate-change activists disappointed after meeting with British environment minister

Climate-change activists disappointed after meeting with British environment minister

But Sam Knights, who works on Extinction Rebellion's strategy team, said the refusal to declare a climate emergency was "not only a political failure, but a moral failure".

"And on the third point, a citizens' assembly, I'm open minded. It's about actions, not the words we use".

"We cannot solve an emergency without treating it like an emergency", she added.

"The fact that Michael Gove can not even commit to declaring a climate and ecological emergency at the moment is not only a political failure, we believe that's a moral failure on behalf of our politicians", said Sam Knights, a 22-year-old Extinction Rebellion activist after the meeting.

And he attended a meeting in Parliament with 16-year-old Swedish protester Greta Thunberg, the inspiration for the global School Strike for Climate, telling her he felt "a sense of responsibility and guilt" because his generation had not done enough to deal with the issue.

"We can not solve an emergency without treating it like an emergency".

Climate change lawyer Farhana Yamin also praised a pledge by Mr Gove to discuss citizens' assemblies with London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and a promise to raise the group's demands with other members of the cabinet.

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"We have to have a much more focused and serious approach towards climate change and the damage we're doing to our planet".

"We see this in the democratic deficit we have in this country and it is why we have had to be out on the street in force". I think the key question there is timescale, what is achievable?

However, the MP for Hayes and Harlington did not agree to change the date in the Labour Party manifesto, which plans to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, but would consider a new target of 2030.

He will demand that the country takes action to help avoid more than 1.5 degrees centigrade of warming, requiring global emissions to be cut by nearly half of 2010 levels by 2030.

Responding to Labour, Conservative deputy chair Helen Whately said: "Under the Conservatives, emissions have fallen by a quarter since 2010, renewable electricity is at a record high and our support has already helped to create nearly 400,000 jobs in the low-carbon economy".

British opposition leaders are pressuring the government to act on climate change after weeks of protests put the issue at the heart of political debate.

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