Climate Emergency

The expression “Climate Emergency” is used frequently these days: to our credit, Ireland was only the second country to declare a climate emergency; at a more local scale, Wicklow County Council has signed a Climate Action Charter. The real test is if these grand gestures mean anything at all. Approaching our general election, which candidates and/or parties even refer to climate change, let alone the urgency of the situation?  Now is the time to tell politicians that we want to reduce our emissions and become carbon neutral. More trains and buses for commuters rather than bigger roads; more retrofitting of homes; more renewable energy are just three examples. However, despite our grandiose declarations, when it comes to action, Ireland is as shameful as many other nations, as demonstrated in Madrid in December 2019, when COP25 (UN Climate Change Conference) ended with a watered down, unambitious “agreement” that falls way short of what is necessary to keep the global temperature increase below 1.5⁰C. The UN secretarygeneral António Guterres asked attendees: “Do we really want to be remembered as the generation that buried its head in the sand?” To avoid this, we must all do our bit – let 2020 be the year to reduce our emissions.