Official Definition Of Climate Emergency

According to Oxford Dictionaries, climate emergency can be defined as <a situation in which urgent action is required to reduce or halt climate change and avoid potentially irreversible environmental damage resulting from it”>. Moreover, <serious and urgent problems that are being caused or likely to be caused by changes in the world’s weather, in particular the world getting warmer as a result of human activity increasing the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere> is another definition of climate emergency offered by the Cambridge Dictionary.

A Simple Definition Of A Climate Emergency Declaration

A climate emergency declaration refers to the act of naming a state of emergency. This climate-change-related term is generally used by governments, scientists and climate activists to underline the catastrophic consequences of the changes in climate for humans. Though a climate emergency declaration per se doesn’t represent any formal or standard path to be followed, it admits the measures and actions taken so far to fight climate change haven’t been enough and represents a formal commitment to set priorities to mitigate climate change.

Climate Emergency: A Buzz Word In 2019

“Climate emergency” was chosen by the Oxford Dictionary as the word of the Year 2019 as it was 100 times more common in September 2019 compared with the previous year. In fact, the use of the term “climate emergency” soared 10,796%.

The Use Of The Term “Climate Emergency”

Most lately, “climate emergency” has been increasingly used by politicians, scientists, journalists, sustainability-advocates and climate activists. The growth activist movements like Extinction Rebellion, Climate Justice Alliance or Fridays For Future, together with climate change extreme weather events that are becoming increasingly frequent, also made “climate emergency” reach the mainstream.

Who Has Declared A State Climate Emergency?

Different actors from different spheres at different periods have declared a state of climate emergency. European Parliament members have declared it in November 2019. Cities or councils in New Jersey, Ottawa, Recife or the Auckland City Council have also declared climate emergency.

Pope Francis who has met with Greta Thunberg and often times asked global leaders to address climate change issues has also declared climate emergency. The journal Bioscience has also published an article in November 2019 where 11000 scientists declared the world was in the state of climate emergency.

As carbon emissions continue to rise, the effects of climate change are increasingly felt across the world and the time to avoid no-return points is getting narrower, it can be expected that more institutions of all kinds, government bodies, and even companies recognized the urgent need to tackle climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

[Image credits for climate emergency on Shutterstock]