skip to main content

Meeting the Challenge of Climate Justice: From Evidence to Action


Maynooth University LogoSt Patrick's College MaynoothTrócaire logo

22 June – 23 June 2015, Maynooth University, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Speakers at Climate Justice Conference Maynooth

2015 is a critical year in addressing the impending climate emergency and charting a path towards a more sustainable future, culminating in the UN Summit (COP21) in Paris in December.

This major international conference co-hosted by Trócaire, Maynooth University and St Patrick’s College Maynooth brought together some of the world’s leading voices on climate science, climate justice and climate activism.

Climate change, and the injustice it represents, is one of the most serious challenges facing humanity. But while the evidence on human-made climate change is overwhelming, action to stem the rise in global temperatures lags far behind. 

Through an interactive dialogue, the conference examined how all sectors of Irish society can contribute towards building a low carbon future around principles of justice and equity.

Conference Materials

Videos, photographs, presentations, key quotes, illustrations, social media conversations, speaker biographies, and blogs from the conference are available below. 


Highlights from the conference:

Mary Robinson's keynote speech:

Bill McKibben's keynote speech:

Presentation by Jean-Pascal van Ypersele of the IPCC:

Presentation by John Sweeney of NUI Maynooth:

Dr David Mkwambisi, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources:

Closing remarks from Dr Lorna Gold, Head of Policy & Advocacy at Trócaire:

Other contributions:


Read our blog looking back on the conference Major conference calls for immediate action on climate change

Read Dr Lorna Gold's (Trócaire Head of Policy and Advocacy) blog Changing the zeitgeist – Reflections on climatejustice2015

Read Dr Lorna Gold's blog 'The disruptive power of a "dangerous book"' on her recent experience as a contributor at the conference 'People and Planet First – the imperative to change course' hosted by CIDSE and the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Rome 2-3 July 2015


Read Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele's (IPPC Vice-Chair) presentation notes Climate Science and the Hidden Message in the IPCC 5th Assessment Report

Read Professor John Sweeney's presentation notes Climate Change: Ireland and Climate Justice

View images of gatherings from around the world, presented by Bill McKibben

Social media conversations:

The conversation continued on Twitter using the hashtag #climatejustice2015.

Key quotes from the speakers:

Compiled and illustrated live at the conference by Think Visual:

Bill McKibben,

Keynote speakers and panelists


Keynote speakers


Keynote speakers included:

Mary Robinson, President, Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice

Bill McKibben, environmental activist, author and co-founder of

Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Panellists included:

  • Bishop Theotonius Gomes, Auxiliary Bishop of Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Dr. Áine Ryall, Lecturer in Environmental Law, University College Cork

  • Fr. Sean McDonagh, Columban Missionary and activist

  • Professor John Sweeney, Ireland’s leading climate scientist and Professor Emeritus at Maynooth University

  • Dr David Mkwambisi, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • HE Jean-Pierre Thébault, French Ambassador to Ireland

  • Phil Kingston, Grandparents for a Safe Earth

Conference Details and Speaker Biographies

Monday 22 June

16.00 Opening plenary and Keynote address – Mary Robinson (read speaker bio of Mary Robinson)

Iontas Lecture Theatre

18.00 Reception and networking event 

Pugin Hall, South Campus

Tuesday 23 June 

9.00 Welcome, Recap of day 1 

John Hume Lecture Theatre 1

9.30 Climate Science and the Inadequacy of the Response – Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele

Responses: Prof. John Sweeney, Maynooth University and Dr. David Mkwambisi, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (read speaker bios of Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, David Mkwambisi and John Sweeney)

John Hume Lecture Theatre 1

11.30 The Moral Imperative to Act – Panel discussion (read speaker bios of Bishop Theotonius Gomes, Phil Kingston, Fr Sean McDonagh and Dr Áine Ryall)

  • Bishop Theotonius Gomes, Auxiliary Bishop of Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Phil Kingston, Grandparents for a Safe Earth

  • Fr. Sean McDonagh, Columban Missionary and activist

  • Dr. Áine Ryall, University College Cork

John Hume Lecture Theatre 1

14.00 From Evidence to Action - we are ALL activists now – Bill McKibben (read speaker bio of Bill McKibben)

John Hume Lecture Theatre 1

15.30 Parallel Sessions  

16.40 Concluding plenary: Where to from here?

Trócaire's Climate Justice campaign