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Trocaire: Climate change climb-down “a short-sighted betrayal of the world’s poor”

4 Nov 2011

Indications by Minister for the Environment, Phil Hogan, that climate legislation will be put on the long finger is "a shocking climb-down from previous commitments and a short-sighted betrayal of the world's poor", said Trócaire.

"Climate change is responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths across the world every year, with the most vulnerable people in developing countries the most severely affected," said Justin Kilcullen, Director of Trócaire. "Changes to rainfall patterns and severe storms are causing more frequent famines and floods across the world. Over the last two years, we have seen floods throughout Pakistan, Bangladesh and south-east Asia, as well as drought and famine in east Africa. These kinds of disasters are set to increase over the coming years as climate change continues to wage war on the world's poor.

"Irish people have come to the rescue of people in these countries by donating tens of millions of euro to rescue efforts. Here is an opportunity to tackle the root causes behind some of these disasters yet we have a Government Minister saying that it is not a priority.

"Minister Hogan has highlighted the need to ensure food security for people in the developing world, yet in the same breath has absolved Ireland of its responsibility in tackling one of the major causes behind global food insecurity.

"Suggesting that action on climate change in Ireland has to be weighed against global food security needs is concerning and misleading. Tackling global hunger requires developing local food production in developing countries and ensuring our own trade, agricultural and environmental policies do not undermine these systems. Fundamental to that is tackling the issue of climate change.

"As one of the highest per capita polluters among rich countries Ireland has a responsibility to take action to reduce emissions. Climate legislation was enough of a priority to feature in the Programme for Government, and to have the support of all major political parties in the run up to the general election earlier this year. The Minister was a strong supporter of climate legislation during the last Dail; it is unacceptable for him to now unilaterally de-prioritise an issue of such crucial importance, not just to Ireland but to the entire world.

"It is not good enough for the Minister for the Environment to casually brush off Ireland's duty to help reduce the impacts of climate change around the world. To do so is a shocking climb-down from previous commitments and a short-sighted betrayal of the world's poor."

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