Climate Case Ireland - Press Release - Mon 8th Oct 2018
New IPCC report on 1.5°C shows the urgency of transformational policy change if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. But Ireland is still lagging behind.
The IPCC special report on global warming of 1.5°C is the most important climate science report of the decade. It offers the most exhaustive and authoritative assessment of the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and the action needed to stay below this threshold. The report will hugely influence international, EU and domestic climate policy making over the next few years.
Much of the media coverage has focused on disputes over the wording of the Summary for Policy Makers finalised in Incheon, Korea. However, the key findings of the report are not in any doubt: the IPCC report shows that “1.5°C” is POSSIBLE and FEASIBLE. Holding global warming to 1.5° is the most ambitious target that is still achievable, if we act urgently. Based on current emissions pathways, we will pass the 1.5°C marker by 2040 towards an unliveable 3D or 4D world.
The difference between 1.5° and 2° of warming is stark. The earth is already 1°C warmer than the pre-industrial era, and this means that much of the planet is already experiencing climatic changes including increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, droughts and storms.
According to Climate Case Ireland spokesperson Sadhbh O Neill, “Ireland is no exception. It would be flying in the face of facts to think that we will actually benefit from climate change. Preliminary attribution studies by climate scientists show that this summer’s heatwave was considerably more likely as a result of climate change. The temperature data show that the highest anomalies were in northern Scandinavia and in western Ireland, with heat waves already more than five degrees warmer than the average hottest three days of the year in 1981-2010.”
‘And at a recent presentation to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, Prof. Peter Stott of the UK Met Office and Hadley Centre pointed to the unequivocal evidence that the climates of Ireland and the UK have shifted with warmer average temperatures, more precipitation and more weather extremes.’
“Yet, despite all of this unequivocal evidence supporting ambitious climate action, Ireland’s performance in meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and EU climate targets has been dismal”, said O Neill.
The EU will decide its strategy for COP24 on Tuesday 9th October and its 2050 long term climate plan on November 28th. “We are in a critical moment for the Union's climate leadership. Other Member States are proposing to increase EU ambition, and we believe Ireland needs to support these proposals as well as accelerate action to meet existing targets”, stated O Neill.
“The Irish government needs to take a leadership role here and that may mean tough but necessary decisions. The country faces another period of economic and population growth. This time, we need to make infrastructural and planning decisions that harness renewable energy, that make for liveable communities and connect people to their work with innovative transport solutions.”
Ireland contributes disproportionately to climate change, having the third highest emissions per capita in the EU. However, the EPA’s figures show that Ireland's actual emissions between 1990 and 2020 are projected to increase by between 7.5% and 10% (and to increase again by 2030). These increases are expected in part due to economic growth, population growth, and poor climate policies with a high dependence on fossil fuels and low levels of eco-innovation across the economy.
O Neill stated “presentations by the secretaries general of government departments to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action have shown that no new actions are proposed beyond those in the flawed NMP, and that Ireland is still on course to overshoot the 2020 and 2030 targets. This is simply unacceptable given that Ireland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Irish citizens are demanding that their governments take action to ensure climate safety, and that we do our fair share of contributing to the Paris goal of 1.5°.’
Friends of the Irish Environment (Climate Case Ireland) lodged an application for Judicial Review in 2017. We are asking the court to quash the National Mitigation Plan and remit it to the Government for remaking in accordance with the law. This will mean making an ambitious emissions reduction plan which helps to avert dangerous climate change.
O Neill concluded: “The IPCC report demonstrates that we have concrete means to address the challenge, that we are not without choices even in a time of climate crisis. Every tenth of a degree matters. People’s lives and livelihoods are on the line. Bold policies will be required across all sectors of the economy if we are to reverse current trends. Drawing up a new National Mitigation Plan is just the beginning.”
 Climate Case Ireland is a campaign of Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE). FIE is non-profit Company Limited by Guarantee and a Charity registered in Ireland. It is a member of the European Environmental Bureau and the Irish Environmental Network. Registered Office: Kilcatherine, Eyeries, Co Cork, Ireland. P75 CX53 Company No.326985. Charities Registration No. 20154530. Tel & Fax: 353 (0)27 74771. Email: email@example.com.
 There is little point, from an atmospheric science point of view, to distinguish ETS from non-ETS emissions. What matters to the atmosphere is the net total greenhouse gas emissions. And Irish emissions are increasing, not decreasing.
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