UK becomes first country to declare ‘environment and climate emergency’

By Luke Vargas   
Published
Extinction Rebellion demonstrators gather outside the British parliament on May 1, 2019. Courtesy: Extinction Rebellion demonstrators gather outside the British parliament on May 1, 2019. Courtesy: Anthony Jarman
Extinction Rebellion demonstrators gather outside the British parliament on May 1, 2019. Courtesy: Extinction Rebellion demonstrators gather outside the British parliament on May 1, 2019. Courtesy: Anthony Jarman

The Extinction Rebellion protest movement still wants the British government to aim for net zero emissions by 2025.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was handed a 50-week jail sentence on Wednesday, a prison term that has nothing to do with him publishing U.S. government secrets online. Instead, Assange was found guilty of violating the terms of a 2012 bail when he sought refuge in Ecuador’s embassy.

But jail in the U.K. isn’t what worries Assange’s lawyers, who are focusing on stopping their client’s extradition to the U.S.

Assange was recently charged by U.S. prosecutors with “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion” for alleged trying to help former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning obtain classified government documents.

Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó remains a free man as of Wednesday evening, despite leading an apparent coup attempt the day before.

Addressing supporters in Caracas, Guaidó called for a general strike on Thursday and once again urged members of the Venezuelan military to break rank with President Nicolás Maduro. Guaidó described Tuesday’s isolated military rebellion as one of many “uprisings” necessary to topple the Maduro government, which he claimed is “increasingly cornered and alone.”

Sensing the Venezuela crisis could worsen, the F.A.A. has ordered U.S. commercial aircraft to maintain an altitude of 26,000 feet or higher above Venezuelan airspace.

And British lawmakers declared an “environment and climate emergency” on Wednesday, becoming the world’s first country to do so.

That’s a symbolic victory for the Extinction Rebellion protest movement, but its organizers want concrete action, including a government target to hit net zero carbon emissions by 2025.

Britain’s top climate advisor has hardly come around to that timeline, and is expected to propose the U.K. reach net zero emissions in 2050.

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