Tuesday 6 December 2016

We can help to tackle climate change

Published 24/09/2016 | 02:30

'The world is warming and the response from governments across the world is not sufficient to prevent dangerous change'. Stock photo: Getty
'The world is warming and the response from governments across the world is not sufficient to prevent dangerous change'. Stock photo: Getty

Back in 1997, governments from across the globe signed the Kyoto Protocol, which imposed legally binding restrictions for the first time on greenhouse gas emissions. Not until 2005 was it ratified.

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Since then, emissions have rocketed to record highs. Last year was the warmest on record, with this year set to be even hotter.

The world is warming and the response from governments across the world is not sufficient to prevent dangerous change.

The Paris Agreement, struck last December, could change that. Global leaders have agreed to limit average temperature rises to no more than 2C, to provide finance and technical assistance to developing nations and to move the world to a low-carbon future.

'Climate Change and You', a new series across INM titles, including the Irish Independent, 'Sunday Independent', 'Herald' and independent.ie, aims to highlight the issues involved, set out the state of knowledge of climate impacts for Ireland and highlight the challenges and possible solutions.

The series arose following conversations with the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), which suggested that the public had yet to engage with this important issue.

Today, in 'Review', IIEA research fellow Joseph Curtin outlines how climate change is already impacting upon us, while Kim Bielenberg travels to Wexford to speak with people who have lost their homes as a direct result.

Tomorrow in the 'Sunday Independent', we highlight 20 key players who will shape our response, while on Monday we speak exclusively with the minister responsible, Denis Naughten.

The series explores issues across the agriculture, energy and transport sectors, looks at how our cities should develop and the role of education. We also speak to companies working on finding solutions, and to people who have made changes to reduce their carbon footprint. The series runs all next week.

One good idea to help curb climate change

Climate Change Minister Denis Naughten: "We need to get people to move to more efficient transport. My suggestion is to encourage people to try public transport for one day. It may be a case of picking a day when public transport is free or €1 for a route. We need to get people to reassess how they travel. We need to look at novel ideas. We need to come up with something different.

"There's wifi on the bus or train, it's great. Sometimes people need to try it out and see what is available."

RTÉ presenter Marty Whelan: "I'm currently driving an 11-year-old car; I'm a disgrace. It is a Mercedes but it's an old one, so I'd like an energy-efficient car, like one of those electric ones. They would be very handy.

"I wouldn't cycle to work from Malahide but I am very environmentally conscious; we're big into recycling in our house."

RTÉ presenter Sinéad Kennedy: "I'm big into the idea of sustainable, ethically sourced fashion. There are a good few places that I believe would have been involved in certain practices over the years, so I would purposely avoid places like that.

"I would have a sense of guilt as there's just so much stuff being churned out all the time. I'm big into quality over quantity."

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