The European Parliament has declared a climate emergency. And it did so without the help of many of the UK’s pro-Brexit MEPs.
A resolution declaring the emergency and calling on all global actors to “urgently take the concrete action needed in order to fight and contain this threat before it is too late” passed with 429 votes for, 225 votes against, and 19 abstentions on November 28.
Six of the 225 votes against were from the UK’s Brexit Party MEPs. 21 of the party’s MEPs, including party leader Nigel Farage, didn’t show for the vote, however.
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In October, the Brexit Party sent a message to supporters that appeared to suggest it was set to acknowledge the climate emergency. But it quickly rolled back on its position, saying the mailout was a “suggested draft from a keen young staffer” that “was not signed off policy”.
DeSmog previously revealed how many of the Brexit Party candidates originally slated to stand in the UK’s general election had promoted climate science denial.
The Brexit Party did not respond to a request for comment to explain why many of its MEPs were absent, and why those who were present to vote did so against the resolution.
Of the four Conservative Party MEPs, two broke ranks with their European Conservatve and Reformists (ECR) group to vote for the resolution.
A few days before the vote, the ECR hosted a group of climate science deniers coordinated by Dutch group CLINTEL, who argued that contrary to overwhelming evidence there was no climate emergency.
Another Tory MEP, Daniel Hannan, abstained from the vote.
Hannan has strong ties to lobby groups based in and around offices at 55 Tufton Street pushing to strip back environmental regulations in the name of hard Brexit. He is the founder of the Initiative for Free Trade (IFT), a thinktank that advocates “the moral case for open commerce”, which is based out of 57 Tufton Street and was launched by Boris Johnson in 2017.
In September 2018, the IFT launched a “blueprint” for a US–UK free trade deal that “would see the NHS opened to foreign competition, a bonfire of consumer and environmental regulations and freedom of movement between the two countries for workers,” the Guardian reported.
The text of the deal was drawn up by the IFT and the libertarian US-based thinktank, the Cato Institute, which has received significant funding from the oil billionaire Koch brothers and ExxonMobil, while lobbying strongly against action to reduce emissions.
Hannan and the Conservative Party did not respond to a request to comment for this story.
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Six Green party MEPs, 10 Labour MEPs, and 16 Lib Dem MEPs voted for the climate emergency resolution.
Green party MEP for the North West of England, Gina Dowding, told DeSmog the climate emergency resolution was “highly significant” as it was “a declaration by the world’s second-largest economy, joining voices and calls from our young people and citizens across Europe to recognise the climate crisis and the need for urgent action.”
She criticised those that voted against the resolution, saying “it is astonishing that any political group or individuals would decline to support any commitment to deal with a life-support threatening situation. It is a sign of contempt for people and the European Parliament.”
Image: Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons CC BY–SA 2.0