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Tags Current Affairs

Climate emergency

Date: 29 November 2020 Tags: Climate Change


New Zealand government is set to declare a climate emergency in a symbolic gesture to increase pressure for actions on climate change.



If a climate emergency is passed, New Zealand would join countries like Canada, France, and Britain that have taken the same course to focus efforts on tackling climate change.



  • People are urging the government to declare climate emergency since they are facing extreme weather events, catastrophic loss of wildlife, and fresh water crisis.

  • Researchers say that we have less than 9 years to amend our actions else climate change will be difficult to prevent.


Climate emergency

  • A climate emergency declaration or declaring a climate emergency is an action taken by governments and scientists to acknowledge humanity is in a climate emergency.

  • The first such declaration was made in December 2016. Since then over 1,400 local governments in 28 countries have made climate emergency declarations (as of 23 February 2020).

  • Once a government makes a declaration the next step for the declaring government to set priorities to mitigate climate change, prior to ultimately entering a state of emergency or equivalent.

  • In declaring a climate emergency, a government admits that global warming exists and that the measures taken up to this point are not enough to limit the changes brought by it.

  • The decision stresses the need for the government and administration to devise measures that try and stop human-caused global warming.


Climate change

  • Climate change includes both the global warming driven by human emissions of greenhouse gases, and the resulting large-scale shifts in weather patterns.

  • The largest driver has been the emission of greenhouse gases, of which more than 90% are carbon dioxide and methane.

  • Fossil fuel burning for energy consumption is the main source of these emissions, with additional contributions from agriculture, deforestation, and industrial processes.

  • Temperature rise is accelerated or tempered by climate feedbacks, such as loss of sunlight-reflecting snow and ice cover, increased water vapour (a greenhouse gas itself), and changes to land and ocean carbon sinks.

  • Environmental effects include the extinction or relocation of many species as their ecosystems change, most immediately in coral reefs, mountains, and the Arctic.

  • Mitigation efforts include the development and deployment of low-carbon energy technologies, enhanced energy efficiency, policies to reduce fossil fuel emissions, reforestation, and forest preservation. 

  • Climate engineering techniques, most prominently solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal, have substantial limitations and carry large uncertainties.

  • Societies are also working to adapt to current and future global-warming effects through improved coastline protection, better disaster management, and the development of more resistant crops.

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