VICE: Sadiq Khan Declared Climate Emergency – He's Building This Huge Road Anyway

Press/Media: Expert comment

Release date: 22/8/2019

Description

“Emergency declarations have had had a viral effect but I can’t help thinking that in 99 percent of cases they’re incredibly superficial,” says Professor Matthew Paterson from Manchester University, an expert on the politics of climate change. “An emergency is clearly a situation where the normal rules don’t apply – if your country is invaded, you don’t carry on as normal. I think people lobbying for this saw it as a magic political fix, which would invoke the same war-like sense of urgency in the minds of their leaders. And it’s not obvious to me it’s got any purchase in the way an emergency ought to have.” But that doesn’t make emergency declarations completely worthless, he says. “It’s an attention-grabbing thing that keeps climate change on the agenda. And in another sense, talk is not cheap. If a leader admits we’re in a crisis, the public can say: hang on, why are you still going ahead with this damaging policy? There’s some evidence that talk can create the intended effect, of forcing those in power to realise where the hypocrisies are.”

Media contributions

TitleSadiq Khan Declared Climate Emergency – He's Building This Huge Road Anyway
Media name/outletVice
Media typeWeb
CountryUnited Kingdom
Date22/08/19
Description“Emergency declarations have had had a viral effect but I can’t help thinking that in 99 percent of cases they’re incredibly superficial,” says Professor Matthew Paterson from Manchester University, an expert on the politics of climate change. “An emergency is clearly a situation where the normal rules don’t apply – if your country is invaded, you don’t carry on as normal. I think people lobbying for this saw it as a magic political fix, which would invoke the same war-like sense of urgency in the minds of their leaders. And it’s not obvious to me it’s got any purchase in the way an emergency ought to have.” But that doesn’t make emergency declarations completely worthless, he says. “It’s an attention-grabbing thing that keeps climate change on the agenda. And in another sense, talk is not cheap. If a leader admits we’re in a crisis, the public can say: hang on, why are you still going ahead with this damaging policy? There’s some evidence that talk can create the intended effect, of forcing those in power to realise where the hypocrisies are.”
URLhttps://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/pa7bxz/sadiq-khan-climate-emergency-silvertown-tunnel-protest
PersonsMatthew Paterson