Sunday 16 June 2019

Ireland 'should take strong line on emissions'

Michael Mann, Professor of Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University
Michael Mann, Professor of Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University
Paul Melia

Paul Melia

Ireland should make a "bold" statement to the world to show it is possible to thrive economically while making deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions, one of the world's leading climate scientists has said.

Dr Michael Mann, Professor of Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University, told the Irish Independent that the debate on whether climate change was happening was over, and that strong action by Ireland could encourage other countries to change behaviour and limit emissions.

"Ireland may be modest in size and population, but it is one of the world's fastest growing economies and its per capita greenhouse gas emissions are also among the world's highest," he said.

"As such, it is in a position to make a bold statement to the rest of the world, to demonstrate that it is possible to thrive economically while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Ireland's culture and tradition are revered in the United States. I think people will listen when Ireland speaks, so it should use its voice."

Dr Mann (pictured inset), who was speaking at Trinity College Dublin, was a central figure in the so-called 'Hockey Stick' controversy more than a decade ago when data on global temperature changes over the past millennium was questioned by sceptics.

The most recent data from US space agency NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that 2014 was the warmest year on record, with 10 of the warmest years recorded since 1997.

Dr Mann said despite "overwhelming evidence" that climate change was real, caused by human activity and represented a threat to humanity, society had failed to act, with "fossil fuel interests" attempting to "confuse the public".

"How can it be that the science is so compelling and the threat so clear, yet we have failed to act in a meaningful way?" he asked, adding that pseudo-scepticism, "typically encountered" among climate change deniers, was "unhealthy and not part of the legitimate world of science".

Irish Independent

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