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The Race Of and For Our Lives

Posted by Claudia Tormey on October 03, 2019 at 05:14 PM

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Busy time in the Coalition kicked off again in September as the new Dáil session began, and as thousands of young people across Ireland came together to mobilise as part of the youth-led Global Climate Strike on September 20th, members of Government, including the Taoiseach, travelled to New York to attend the high-level UN Summit on Climate Change in New York.

‘Preventing irreversible climate disruption is the race of our lives and for our lives’ were the words used by the UN Secretary-General in calling on all leaders to come to New York with statements on how they intend to increase ambition on climate action in advance of next year when the Paris Agreement will come into force.

Stop Climate Chaos called on the Government to align with other EU countries championing for higher ambition on the EU’s 2030 emissions reductions target. However, despite millions of people on the streets demanding urgent action now, and the impacts of climate change becoming more and more severe, the chance to show climate leadership was missed when Europe’s political leaders failed to join a group of 59 other countries that committed to support deeper emission cuts by 2030.

Prior to the Climate Action Summit, Stop Climate Chaos added its voice to an alliance of trade unions and Friends of the Earth calling for the immediate establishment of a National Just Transition Taskforce to help secure the livelihoods of workers and the future of their communities, in the shift to a low carbon economy. In a Just Transition Alliance Joint Declaration, the signatory organisations called on the Government at the UN Summit to commit to engaging with working people and integrate concrete Just Transition measures in their climate action plans.

Addressing the Summit, Leo Varadkar announced that Ireland will ban exploration for oil in 80% of Irish waters, but will continue to issue licences for the extraction of fossil gas. See our initial response here. The Government’s announcement on oil and gas came in response to their request to the Climate Change Advisory Council for advice, and the subsequent provision of that advice from the Council, on policy approaches to offshore exploration.

In mid September, Stop Climate Chaos formally wrote to the Council, urging them to consider in their decision, the latest evidence that shows the considerable risks associated with opening new gas reserves, the need for a low carbon transition without fossil gas, and the mitigation benefits of targeting supply side policies.

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