Are Climate Emergency Declarations still happening? (excerpt)

Yes! New declarations might not be receiving a lot of media coverage these days but there are now 2,248 jurisdictions that have passed a Climate Emergency Declaration (CED). In just the last fortnight there have been two more CEDs in the UK (North Yorkshire County Council and Swindon Borough Council) and one more in Japan (Hiroshima City).

Certainly the rate of new declarations has slowed since the start of the pandemic, but even the CEDs that are happening now seem to get less media coverage than during the 2019 peak. The ground-breaking declaration by the first Australian state, South Australia on 31 May 2022, received little media coverage, and the April declaration by Nillumbik Shire Council in Victoria received none.

Chart showing the 2019 peak in rate of new Climate Emergency Declarations

In April 2020 there was just one new CED in the US and one in Italy. That suggests that the pandemic that was escalating at the time was a factor slowing the rate of new declarations. But it wasn’t the only factor. The dark purple bars in the chart above show the UK CEDs, a massive 506 before April 2020. Of those, 265 were mid-tier councils in England, of which there are only 333 in total. By 2020 there weren’t enough non-CED mid-tier councils left for such a high rate of new CEDs to be possible. Even so, their numbers did continue to rise. Currently 278 (83.5%) mid-tier councils of varying political persuasions have passed declarations.

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