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Tuesday 20 August 2019

Ireland becomes second country in the world to declare climate emergency

Energy Minister Richard Bruton (Michelle Devane/PA)
Energy Minister Richard Bruton (Michelle Devane/PA)

Michelle Devane

Ireland has become the second country in the world to declare a climate emergency.

The Dáil made the decision after an amendment to a parliamentary climate action report was agreed by both the Government and the opposition parties.

It comes as EU leaders put action on climate change at the top of the agenda in the next five years.

Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton said climate change had been "rightly" described as the greatest challenge facing humanity.

"We're reaching a tipping point in respect of climate deterioration," he said.

"Things will deteriorate very rapidly unless we move very swiftly and the window of opportunity to do that is fast closing."

Chairwoman of the Oireachtas Climate Change committee Hildegarde Naughton welcomed the cross-party support in recognising the need for urgency and declaring a climate and biodiversity emergency.

She urged the Government to fast track legislative changes.

Fianna Fáil's climate action spokesman Timmy Dooley, who moved the amendment, said: "Unless we cut emissions significantly by 2030, the consequences will be dire.

"Biodiversity loss is an existential threat that is fundamentally linked to the climate crisis and Ireland's response is similarly lacking."

Sinn Féin's Brian Stanley also called for a climate emergency to be declared.

Irish Independent

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