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Ireland’s emissions are ‘off the charts’

28 September 2017

With the Citizens' Assembly gathering this weekend to discuss what Ireland needs to do on climate change, Trócaire's new report ‘Still Feeling the Heat’ highlights how climate change is devastating vulnerable communities in developing countries, and makes recommendations for action.

A new IDP camp at Dollow thats composed of new internally displaced people from Bay and Bakool.

A makeshift camp at Dollow in Somalia where people who have been displaced by ongoing drought and conflict are seeking refuge. Photo: Amunga Eshuchi, May 2017

Climate change is the next major topic on the agenda for the Citizens' Assembly. Trócaire believes this is an opportunity to set the government on course for meeting the national and international commitments it has so far failed to deliver on. 

As well as sending a detailed submission to the Assembly, Trócaire has today released a report that shows how communities in five developing countries are being severely impacted by climate change.

The report brings home the reality of the impacts of climate change on people’s lives today. As communities in the midlands and the northwest of Ireland can testify all too well, Ireland is not immune.

This weekend marks an incredibly important moment in Ireland’s response to the significant impacts of climate change both in Ireland and globally.  The Citizens’ Assembly meets in Dublin on Saturday to discuss how the Government can make Ireland a leader on climate change. It is a valuable opportunity for people to demand increased political engagement on this pressing issue.

Trócaire's report ‘Still Feeling the Heat: How climate change continues to drive extreme weather in the developing world' is a sobering reminder that the poorest are paying the highest price for political failure.

According to the report, one Irish person emits 74 times more carbon dioxide per year than one Ethiopian or Malawian. In Honduras crop yields will fall by at least 10 percent by 2020 and rainfall in Malawi could decrease by up to 25 percent by the end of the century.

In three short years we have witnessed major achievements such as the Paris Agreement and the enactment of climate legislation in Ireland, but also a series of devastating humanitarian crises exacerbated by climate change.

Across East Africa there are currently over 26 million people experiencing significant food shortages – bordering on famine in certain regions of South Sudan and Somalia. 

Closer to home, floods of the last two years have exposed Ireland’s vulnerability to extreme events. There is little doubt that Ireland will experience more frequent and intense extreme weather events in the future. 

The majority of the actions that need to be taken are already known. What is needed now is the political will to prioritise their implementation.

Trócaire’s report recommends the following actions:

  • Ensure ambitious and fair mitigation and adaptation planning in line with the science.
  • We must act with urgency to transform the way we produce and consume, in particular by taking immediate measures to decrease Ireland’s dependence on fossil fuels and address our rising emissions from agriculture. The Irish Government should expedite the passage of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill currently going through the Dáil to ensure the divestment by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund of its assets in fossil fuel companies.
  • We must promote resilience and global food security by providing sufficient support to sustainable approaches to agriculture in developing countries.

Read ‘Still Feeling the Heat: How climate change continues to drive extreme weather in the developing world' 

Niamh Garvey is Trócaire’s Head of Policy and Advocacy