August Eco Notes

August 2023

“The era of global boiling has arrived”

Imagine you are standing at the bottom of a hill, watching a huge juggernaut slowing winding its way down from the top. Then it speeds up, sending rocks flying downhill as it takes the corners too fast. If brakes were applied now, the lorry would slow down, the damage would be limited. Left to accelerate ever faster, it would veer totally out of control, possibly tipping sideways and obliterating all in its path. Likewise with climate, if we “apply brakes” by limiting greenhouse gas emissions, then we can reduce the rate of earth’s temperature rise. The first three weeks of July have been the hottest on record. UN Secretary General Antonio Guteres said “The era of global boiling has arrived. Climate change is here. It is terrifying. And it is just the beginning. It is still possible to limit global temperature rise to 1.5⁰C (above pre-industrial levels) and avoid the very worst of climate change. But only with dramatic, immediate climate action.” In Ireland, we must learn to adapt and part of that adaptation must be to see climate action by us all as a right for future generations – this will, of necessity, involve giving up some of our current “rights” – over-consumption, waste, too much travel, overheating of buildings etc. Most people do not want to hear it: “Ireland is a small country, so it doesn’t matter what we do, it won’t make a difference.” Wrong. Millions of small changes can have a large impact, both directly and by influence (remember banning indoor smoking, levying plastic bags? – other countries followed suit). If we embrace climate action NOW, we can help safeguard the future.