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Extinction Rebellion on Spain’s declaring a Climate and Environmental Emergency: “Good, but not enough. Let’s carry on”

  • Extinction Rebellion Spain applauds the central government’s declaration of climate emergency.
  • Spain’s recent encouraging steps in the face of the climate and ecological crisis give the country the opportunity to become a leader in the climate struggle at a regional and global level.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions objectives are insufficient. The climate and ecological emergency requires immediate and drastic action.

January 21, 2020, (Madrid) - After a year of global climate rebellion, the climate and ecological emergency is taking its rightful place, as Spain joins a global movement, along with the UK, Ireland and France, and the European Parliament all of whom have acknowledged our desperate situation by declaring an emergency. Last September, hanging from a scaffold standing on melting ice in front of the Spanish Parliament, Spanish rebels personified our collective future if we don’t alter our course: humanity’s extinction. On the same day, the rebellion for life officially delivered its three demands to the Spanish House of Representatives.

The declaration approved by the Spanish Council of Ministers takes a substantial step towards fulfilling two of them: firstly, the truth must be told regarding the climate and ecological emergency, and; the third, the creation of citizens’ assemblies to guide the process through representative participation. Time is of the essence.

The trigger for this political change has been the broad mobilization of citizens who have taken to the streets to demand political leaders keep us off “a suicidal path for humanity,” as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has referred to our current situation. Extinction Rebellion has been at the heart of this shift in the global conversation, placing the climate and ecological emergency at the heart of it. Building bridges and cooperating with different groups and institutions, XR has been in large part responsible for the massive response to government and corporate inaction, using peaceful mass civil disobedience as its primary vehicle.

Taking advantage of the celebration of COP25 in Madrid, XR pressured the UN climate summit’s host with the help of ordinary citizens, which led it to become recognized as the most influential movement of the moment. The decision taken by the Spanish government ratifies the fight for life Extinction Rebellion has embarked upon across the globe.

XR demands more ambitious and concrete measures: the deadline is 2025

Given the deadlines announced by the new government, XR calls for the need to implement more ambitious decarbonisation targets. The scientific community, in the latest IPCC report (2018), warns of how crucial it is not to overstep a 1.5ºC rise in global temperatures this century. This implies a drastic reduction in our emissions by 2030. With scientific data in hand, XR urges the Spanish government to deepen the decisive green about-turn it seems to be taking, by integrating deadlines set by science, as well as the biophysical limits of the planet, along with the measures already announced. The global community must recognize how absurd it is for infinite growth to be a measure of success on a planet with limited resources. We are still in time, just, to avoid a societal and ecological collapse.

Citizen participation and real climate justice

Extinction Rebellion welcomes Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera’s, advancement of urgent steps needed to ensure a wide and inclusive participation of Spanish citizens who have a crucial role to play in determining their collective future in light of the climate and ecological emergency’s onslaught. Only citizen’s assemblies have the ability to make this a reality. Citizens must be empowered to participate directly and effectively in national decision-making, guaranteed by XR’s third demand. The recent example of the Convention citoyenne pour le climat, initiated in France, is a dire warning of the risks citizens’ assemblies face if converted into workshops and debate forums with no teeth. In light of this, XRSpain will work towards ensuring the effectiveness of the promised Citizens’ Assembly.

The demographically representative participation of citizens through sortition, is a key aspect of the unprecedented social mutations needed to face the climate and ecological crisis. Citizens must understand the reality of the situation through a process of deliberation and participate in the required changes, while monitoring the veracity of political action implementation. Nothing less will suffice in dealing with the biggest threat ever faced by humanity.

During the coming months, the Spanish government will have to take concrete actions, including the approval of the European Union’s National Integrated Energy and Climate Plan (PNIEC). As such, it must demonstrate its commitment to mitigating and adapting to the climate and ecological emergency. Spain is on the cusp of becoming a regional, and even global, leader. Extinction Rebellion challenges Spain to step up and rise to the occasion. Meanwhile, and until this has been achieved, the global movement will continue to mobilize and scale up the impact of its actions, in order to ensure carbon emission cuts are in line with the science.

There simply is no other way to safeguard the future of all life on Earth. Because, after all, as the Spanish declaration finally acknowledges, this is an emergency.