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We ignored signs of the bank crisis. What about the climate crisis?

27 Jun 2012


TWO WEEKS AGO, the ESRI published a report in which they warned that Ireland will miss its climate change targets. The report states that unless we implement a new policy or plan our emissions will breach our targets by 2020.

We have some experience in this country of what happens when we ignore the warnings of an approaching crisis. However one of the mistakes of our economic boom is in danger of being repeated in the area of climate change. And that is the mistake of allowing the desires of a strong lobby group to thwart attempts to plan and regulate sensibly.

The consequences of contributing to climate change will be felt both locally and globally. Climate change has been called the greatest challenge to humanity by people as politically varied as Leonardo DiCaprio, Maggie Thatcher, Al Gore and Phil Hogan. Globally the impacts of climate change are frightening: climate change is likely to greatly affect water resources and food security in some of the world's most populous countries. Here in Ireland we are likely to see impacts on farmers in the South and East who will find it much drier, our rivers are at a greater risk of flooding, even the humble Irish potato may be at risk.

One of the biggest questions that we will have to face as a country is how to deal with people who have had to leave their homes because of climate impacts in their countries. Will we tell these people they are not welcome here when we caused the problem that forced them from their homes?

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