Climate emergency declared again for the second time by yet another country. This time it’s Ireland which has become the second country in the world only after the UK to declare a climate emergency.
Ireland settles upon after the Government, as well as the opposition parties, agreed to an amendment to a parliamentary climate action report on Thursday evening.
The action on climate change was put at the top of the agenda by EU leaders in the coming five years.
Richard Bruton, the Climate Action Minister said climate change has been “rightly” described as the greatest challenge facing humanity.
“We’re reaching a tipping point in respect of climate deterioration,” he said.
“Things will deteriorate very rapidly unless we move very swiftly and the window of opportunity to do that is fast closing.”
The protests by school students calling for action from parliaments worldwide injected the urgency of the climate action into the debate, he added.
“It is justified that a level of urgency be injected into this debate,” he said.
“When we speak of an emergency people often think of something unexpected that can be resolved through a sustained effort for a relatively short time. This is not an emergency of that sort. This is a much more challenging emergency in that we must change our behavior in profound ways and do so on a sustained basis.”
Hildegarde Naughton, the chairwoman of the Oireachtas Climate Change committee, commended the support of all the parties for declaring a climate and biodiversity emergency after recognizing the need for its urgency.
She also urged the Government to make the legislative changes fast.
In a tweet, she wrote: “Good news at the end of the Dail motion today supporting the report of the Climate Action Committee, which I chair. We now have cross-party support in declaring a climate and biodiversity emergency. Action now needed.”
Fianna Fail’s climate action spokesman Timmy Dooley, who moved the amendment, said: “Unless we cut emissions significantly by 2030, the consequences will be dire.
“Biodiversity loss is an existential threat that is fundamentally linked to the climate crisis and Ireland’s response is similarly lacking,” he added.
However, he mentioned that Ireland would get back on track provided the Government puts into effect the recommendations as per the committee’s report and therefore, “bring an end to our laggardly response to climate change.”
Brian Stanley of Sinn Fein also demanded a climate emergency declaration.
He said: “Climate action should not be viewed as a burden. We should see it as an opportunity to create a stronger, more sustainable economy for everyone. To do that, however, we have no option but to radically transform our society and economy.”
According to Catherine Martin, the Green Party deputy leader, young people realized well that “short-sightedness” of the present Government would affect them most.
“It is also essential that in declaring a climate emergency we commit to concrete, real and identifiable action rather than just uniting around vague concepts,” she told the Dail.
“There is little value in all declaring a climate emergency without committing to doing anything about it.”
Greta Thunberg, the 16 years old climate change campaigner who has led a movement of Europe’s young people calling on world leaders to take action, appreciated the decision.
She tweeted: “Great news from Ireland!! Who is next?
“And remember: #ClimateEmergency means leaving fossil fuels in the ground.”
The UK became the world’s first country to declare a climate emergency earlier this month. The protests urged for three primary demands. They were:
- UK government has to “tell the truth” about climate change conditions.
- It must take actions towards achieving carbon neutrality by 2025.
• It should help support creating an assembly of citizens to facilitate that process