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'All countries must play their part': Minister says climate report is 'stark reminder' of crisis

The important UN report found that the scale of recent climate changes is unprecedented.

Little Island, Cork
Little Island, Cork
Image: Alamy Stock Photo

A UN REPORT on climate change is a “stark reminder” of the limited time available to prevent further negative consequences.

Minister for the Environment Eamon Ryan has said that “all countries must play their part” in solutions to mitigate the climate crisis.

The minister was reacting to a report released this morning by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Crisis that details the current state of play.

The report signals that the scale of recent changes to the climate is “unprecedented”, but that it is not too late to slow global warming. 

In a statement, Ryan said there is “ever greater certainty about climate change and ever greater urgency about the need to tackle it”.

“For Ireland and Europe the report predicts more intense heatwaves and increased flooding as temperatures rise. If global temperature rise by more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels there will be critical consequences for agriculture and health,” Ryan said.

“The most serious conclusion is that the window of time to stabilise our climate is closing,” he said.

Under the Climate Act passed this year, Ireland has set a target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a 51% cut by 2030 compared to 2018.

“We will very shortly publish the Climate Action Plan 2021, which will set out the measures we need to take to reach our 2030 targets, including more renewable energy, decreased transport emissions, changes in how we heat our homes and how we grow our food and look after our land,” Ryan said.

Today’s report makes it clear that failure to act will have devastating consequences, but it also offers hope.”

“Strong and sustained reductions in emissions of C02 and other greenhouse gases would limit climate change. We know what we have to do. We now need to harness a national and global effort to do it.”

The report comes three months ahead of COP26 where world leaders will negotiate new climate commitments in Glasgow.

One of its key findings is that the scale of recent changes to the climate system is unprecedented and that humans are the primary driver of global warming. 

As such, deep reductions in carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are crucial to prevent the planet from warming by more than 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius. 

Oxfam Ireland is calling on governments to “use law” to switch from oil, gas and coal to renewable energy and for citizens to “push big polluting corporations and governments in the right direction”.

“No one is safe. This report is clear that we are at the stage now when self-preservation is either a collective process or a failed one,” Oxfam Ireland said in a statement.

Global warming is a base factor behind all of today’s huge regressions in human development. The main perpetrators of global warming ―that is, rich countries that have reaped massive wealth by burning fossil fuels― must be the ones to cut their emissions first, fastest and furthest.”

The IPCC report must spur governments to act together and build a fairer and greener global economy to ensure the world stays within 1.5°C of warming. They must cement this in Glasgow.

Similarly, Concern Worldwide has said high income countries must take immediate decisions to reverse the effects of their actions on developing countries.

Senior Policy Officer Sally Tyldesley said that climate change is a “key driver in rising hunger levels globally”.

“It is grossly unfair that lower-income countries that have contributed the least to carbon emissions are already suffering the worst consequences of climate change,” Tyldesley said.

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“High income countries need to deliver on their climate finance commitments and support people whose lives are being destroyed by climate–related crises,” she said.

“This latest report from the IPCC makes it clearer than ever the impact that we are having on the global climate and the importance of action ahead of COP26 in Glasgow.”

About the author:

Lauren Boland

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