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Action on drought in East Africa

27 Jul 2011

Climate change often seems remote or abstract, and hard to relate to the challenges people face in their everyday lives.

The drought in East Africa changes that. Ten million people in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya are now dependent on food aid. The causes are complex, but there is little doubt climate change is a major factor.

East Africa: climate crisis

Friends of the Earth works closely with Trócaire on climate change. We share a commitment to working for justice in partnership with those on the frontline in the global South. Right now in Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, Trócaire is responding with immediate help for affected communities. But they are also responding here in Ireland. They have just launched an e-action to Phil Hogan urging him to publish a strong climate bill before the next round of UN talks in Durban in December.

Trócaire say "One of the most positive contributions the Irish Government can make to curbing climate change is to pass a strong climate bill to ensure Ireland plays its part in a global effort." And you can say that to Phil Hogan. Please send him Trócaire's email. It won't take a moment and it will send a powerful message that responding to climate change is in tune with some of the strongest Irish values we pride ourselves on.

I met Minister Hogan with other environmental NGOs last month. He restated the commitment in the programme for government to passing climate legislation. And he wants to do it by the end of next year. For this timeline to work the bill has to be published by the end of this year.

In December, Minister Hogan will travel to Durban in South Africa for the UN climate negotiations. The talks will take place in a continent where millions are hungry because of drought and famine, worsened by climate change. Enacting a strong climate law is the biggest thing Ireland can do to help stop climate chaos. Tell Phil Hogan he can't go to South Africa without publishing a strong climate bill.

The current crisis demands not just an immediate humanitarian response but political determination to achieve climate justice.

Ireland must play its part. And we must start now.

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