TOO many people in Ireland are unaware of the impending climate catastrophe that is upon the planet, the Taoiseach has warned.
At the climax of the 2022 Dublin climate summit, Mr Martin said we all need to do a lot more, and “we need to do it fast”.
“The consequences of climate change will manifest themselves in huge migration paths and huge conflicts over water and food,” said Martin.
“We really have to act now. Overall, do people really get a sense of how serious this is? That’s a concern I would have,” said Mr. Martin.
“It’s still intangible for a lot of people. It will be in 50 years – and then the question will arise: “We are only a small country, what about China?” – but we all have to make this contribution together.”
He said there had been recent efforts to get the government to “collapse” on the necessary measures but they had not succumbed – an apparent reference to the carbon tax hike that went into effect on May 1.
The climate warnings were “very clear,” Mr Martin said, and at a Cabinet subcommittee meeting this week there was a 10-minute presentation by the Council on Climate Change that was grim.
“It’s very grim in terms of sea level rise and more extreme events like droughts and what that means for food,” he said.
“The problems are piling up and we must act now.”
But the required investment in renewable energy and mitigation is at a scale and pace that public funds alone cannot meet, he told investors, financiers and policymakers in Dublin.
The world is headed for “a precipice” and must be brought back from the precipice in order to be livable for our children’s children’s children.
His own attitude was one of impatience to reach net zero targets.
He said, “I’m impatient to get things done, to get them moving.”
Some sectors would need to be “pulled kicking and screaming” to do their bit, he added. But “the only way now is to double renewable energy.”
Mr. Martin stressed the incentives and supports put in place by the government to encourage the private sector to play its part.
“We must take advantage of the unique opportunities offered by our location on the Atlantic edge of the European Union – with an area of sea seven times the size of our landmass,” said Martin.
This yields huge potential for offshore renewable energy and green hydrogen, he said.
Renewable electricity would not only drive the decarbonization of society, but also create new jobs and more resilient, safer and more sustainable energy, he said.
“Strategic public investment is critical for us to take action at the scale and pace needed, and the government is committed to providing that leadership,” he said.
“However, the investment needs are so high that the public sector alone simply cannot sustainably meet them,” he said.
The corporate sector is keen to play its part in addressing this challenge, he said, and the sustainable finance agenda is making rapid progress.
“The Irish Government, working closely with the European Union, has a responsibility to guide these efforts through investment, policy, capacity building and incentives.
“We take this responsibility very seriously.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/the-imperative-is-we-act-now-taoiseach-climate-change-warning-as-world-faces-abyss-41642727.html ‘We must act now’ – Taoiseach warns of climate change as world faces ‘the abyss’