Climate action must stay on agenda amid war in Ukraine
Echoing sentiments expressed by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, Labour TD and Spokesperson for Climate, Ivana Bacik, has reiterated the urgent need to limit global warming to 1.5°C.
Deputy Bacik said:
“The illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine by Russia is horrifying to us all. As more horrendous news of the carnage wreaked on people in Ukraine reaches us, Ireland must continue its proud tradition of humanitarianism and must stand in full condemnation of Russian aggression.
“The war has not lowered global demand for energy. Indeed, it poses a threat to the limited – but hard fought for – gains made at COP26 in Glasgow last year. To reduce our reliance on Russian oil and gas, European countries are starting to look to coal or liquefied natural gas as an alternative. This is completely incongruous with our binding emissions targets which require an immediate and steady reduction in fossil fuel related greenhouse gases. The rise in global temperatures this century must remain below 1.5°C if we are to avoid irreversible and disastrous climate chaos. Our current trajectory will see us missing this target, with catastrophic implications. Spiralling fuel prices are disastrous for hard-pressed families in Ireland, but seeing climate action and affordability as mutually exclusive is wrong.
“As General Secretary Guterres has said, failing to transition to clean and renewable fuels is mutually assured destruction for all, with the most vulnerable communities on the planet set to face the worst consequences first. Between the illegal war waged by Russia and gross human rights violations committed by Saudi Arabia, a transition to renewables is an ethical imperative, as well as a means of avoiding climate chaos.
“Dispensing with vital emissions targets in the face of conflict is false economy. We know that there is a link between extreme weather events and conflict. Proponents of climate inaction understate what is at risk if we do not act now. Advocating for peace and democracy must also include mitigating against climate change. In addition to concrete measures to ease the burden of the cost of living in Ireland, the Government must rapidly ramp up Ireland’s shift to renewable and sustainable energy.”