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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 16 December, 2019
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Protesters plan 'bikini & shorts' protest over Taoiseach 'positive' climate change remarks

Varadkar said one of the benefits to climate change is warmer winters.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the Climate Action Plan progress report last week.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at the Climate Action Plan progress report last week.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

EXTINCTION REBELLION PROTESTERS are to stage a protest outside Leinster House this lunchtime wearing bikinis and Bermuda shorts. 

The demonstration is in response to comments made to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar last week in which he stated climate change had some benefits such as lower heating bills and fewer deaths due to cold weather. 

The Taoiseach’s comments followed Health Minister Simon Harris warning that climate change “will result in an increased exposure to UV rays”.

“We know that currently at least 11,000 people a year are diagnosed with skin cancer in Ireland, but obviously this could rise,” he said, adding that “extreme heat” has resulted in 294 deaths in Ireland, while cold snaps have also caused fatalities,” said the health minister.

Varadkar followed up the comments, by stating:

“It’s interesting to see that there can be pluses and minuses as well, like actually one thing that we definitely face as a result of climate change is warmer winters, we’re already experiencing warmer winters, and that actually means using less energy, because it’s warmer. And people use less heating and also that means fewer deaths as a result of cold weather.

“A big problem that we have is winter related illnesses, and people dying because of very cold winters, but then on the down side of things, you know hotter summers, people dying because of hypothermia, exposure to UV rays, but it’s interesting when you do look at those things that there is ledger and there are benefits and there are down sides, the downsides outweigh the benefits but we need to be aware of them too.”

Protest

Extinction Rebellion climate activists will today stage a protest at the entrance to Dáil Eireann where they will sunbathe on sun loungers.

Beach balls, snorkels, flippers, a body board, a sun parasol are also set to feature in today’s demonstration, where protesters will also hold up a large sign that will read “Leo’s Fantasy Island”.

People Before Profit TD and member of the Oireachtas Climate Action Committee, Bríd Smith has slammed the comments, stating that the “ignorance of the science and implications of climate change is breathtaking and depressing”.

She said the mask has slipped on the government’s actual climate policy measures, and pointed to the attempts by the government to import liquefied natural gas from the US, despite banning fracking here.

“Ireland and this government remain laggards in the fight against climate change. Comments by the Taoiseach show that he and his government are not able to deal with the massive climate crisis we face because they just don’t understand the crisis and they are wedded to the fossil fuel industry,” said Smith.

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