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Tuesday 30 May 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Kyran O’Brien/DCU President Michael D Higgins speaking in DCU this afternoon
# Social Media
President Higgins hits out at attempts of billionaires to control online discussion
Billionaire Elon Musk last week began the process of acquiring Twitter for $44 billion.

PRESIDENT MICHAEL D Higgins has criticised the attempts of “multi-billionaires” to control discourse, labelling it a manifestation of “incredibly dangerous narcissism”.

Speaking at Dublin City University’s inaugural Climate and Society conference, President Higgins said:

“Is it a great success that a multi billionaire would be now deciding what is appropriate for people to exchange in discourse?”

“I think it can hardly be described as anything other than a manifestation of an incredibly dangerous narcissism.”

It comes as last week, social media giant Twitter confirmed that it would be moving ahead to sell the company to billionaire Elon Musk for $44 billion.

Higgins attended the conference for a keynote address on climate change, saying that while physical sciences are the “bedrock” of climate research, areas around policy and communications are also important.

“While the physical science is of course a bedrock and is fundamental to our understanding of the nature, causes and consequences of climate change and the importance of biodiversity loss.

“Ultimately, climate action requires us all to play our part to mitigate it and adapt to that which is already occurred.”

He said that this would require governments to act on climate change and to introduce policies on regulation, education and finance to ensure that people can make an “informed transition” to a low carbon future.

Higgins added that society must begin to think about the consequences of a species failure as a result of climate change.

“People now say we will be regarded as criminals in the future by future generations, I think we might begin to think about consequences of a species failure.”

DCU President, Professor Daire Keogh, told the conference that climate change was no longer an issue for the physical sciences alone and it was now a wider issue impacting across multiple areas.

“It is a policy problem, it is a communications problem, it is a media problem, an ethics problem, an education problem, a corporate problem. In fact, it is a challenge that every area of society will have to respond to,” said Keogh, adding that the creation of DCU’s Centre for Climate and Society was a response to the changing landscape.

Director of the Centre and Assistant Professor at DCU’s School of Communications, Dr David Robbins said that it was “vital” to understand how society thinks about climate change.

“It’s vital that we understand how various sections of society think and talk about climate change. Politics, policy, education, media, business – all these sectors have a part to play in tackling this crisis.”

The conference, which took place this afternoon, features a range of speakers across media, business, policy-making and academia, including The Journal‘s climate reporter, Orla Dwyer.

Higgins also spoke about the involvement of the State during the Covid-19 crisis, saying that there were cohorts of people saying that role of the state should be kept to a minimum.

“There was a significant argument of people who have now ran to the bushes or more or less said this role of the state must be kept minimal. That must be let that the market has the capacity to handle all of our problems, getting the state out of the way.

“And yet, in every significant area, it was the State that managed, that responded to the Covid crisis.”

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