independent

Saturday 25 October 2014

Swords aid worker against emissions

CLIMATE CHANGE 'A NIGHTMARE' IN AFRICA

FERGAL MADDOCK

Published 18/12/2012 | 17:54

■ Meabh Smith from Swords, who works for Trocaire, with Daniel Okweng (9), the boy on this year's Trocaire box, in Bar Kawach, Barlonyo, north Uganda. (Photo: Jeannie O'Brien)

A SWORDS aid worker has branded climate change a nightmare, not a myth and has called for Government legislation to reduce Ireland's carbon emissions.

Trocaire worker Meabh Smith said that climate change was having a devastating impact on people she had met in developing countries though her work with the agency. 'Families supported by Trocaire in rural communities overseas live in basic conditions with no cars, electricity or modern comforts.' 'During the dry season, I have seen rural communities turn into dustbowls. Crops die, water sources dry up and people are forced to travel miles for work and food. This situation is getting worse. Almost three times more weather-related disasters, such as drought and flooding, have been recorded worldwide in the last decade, compared to the 1970s.' For much of the last decade, Ireland has had the sixth highest carbon emissions in the developed world and the second highest per capita in the EU. The Irish Government is expected to publish a draft climate bill before Christmas that sets out Ireland's commitments to reducing its carbon emissions. Trocaire is calling for a strong climate bill that puts reduced carbon emission targets into law. The draft bill will closely follow a recent report from the European Environment Agency that states that climate change has begun to affect Ireland. While the effects are not nearly as dramatic as in developing nations, the report states that Ireland's climate has got warmer and wetter and predicts increased storms along the west and east coast. 'Leading climate scientists agree that climate change is man-made,' she said. 'Experts predict that if the world doesn't wake up to climate change, up to 250 million people in Africa won't have enough water by 2020 and crop production will have fallen by 50%. As Ireland prepares to take up the EU Presidency in January, it must commit to greater action and pass a strong climate law.' This year, two of Trocaire's ethical Christmas gifts, chickens (€5) and goats (€50), will directly help families in Malawi, one of the driest places in the world. The gifts will provide an income for families that does not rely on the land. Trocaire 'Gifts of Change' are on sale on trocaire.org or by calling 1850 408 408 (0800 912 1200 for Northern Ireland).

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