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Irish parliament declares climate emergency

Ireland’s parliament has become the second after Britain’s to declare a climate emergency, a decision hailed by the Swedish teenage environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg as “great news”.

An amendment to a parliamentary report declaring a climate emergency and calling on the parliament “to examine how [the Irish government] can improve its response to the issue of biodiversity loss” was accepted without a vote late on Thursday.

The Irish Green party leader, Eamon Ryan, who moved the amendment, called the decision “historic”.

Thunberg, the 16-year-old activist who has spearheaded protests across Europe and is becoming one of the most passionate voices of the green movement , urged more nations to follow suit.

“Great news from Ireland!! Who is next?” she tweeted.

Britain’s parliament became the first in the world to declare a climate emergency, passing the largely symbolic motion on 1 May. The step followed 11 days of street protests in London by the Extinction Rebellion environmental campaign group .

Climatic conditions affect diseases transmitted through water, and via vectors such as mosquitoes. Climate-sensitive diseases are among the largest global killers. Diarrhoea, malaria and protein-energy malnutrition alone caused more than 3 million deaths globally in 2004, with over one third of these deaths occurring in Africa.

Extinction Rebellion’s ultimate goal is to slash global greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025 and to end biodiversity loss, steps that have won the backing of left-leaning politicians across the world.

The British government is eyeing a 2050 target date to reach net zero emissions, which it says can be achieved without causing substantial economic damage and at a relatively low cost.