Clare hosts climate change 'gathering'

Fri, Feb 15, 2013, 00:00

A group of international experts will discuss ways of addressing climate change at a a three-day retreat in Co Clare.

More than 60 participants from over 10 countries will convene in Ballyvaughan from today for the Climate Gathering. They will take part in a series of discussions and activities in an attempt to devise new methods of tackling climate change.

Organiser Ryan Meade said climate and environmental experts often complained about attending staid conferences.

The idea of the Burren gathering, he said, “is to have a closed, safe and creative space where people can work in a different way”.

He said the gathering would use a diverse mix of individuals to devise a new “narrative of climate change”.

Participants include Daniel Schrag, science and technology adviser to Barack Obama; John Ashton, a former special representative for climate change to the UK foreign secretary; and Jennifer Morgan, the director of the climate and energy programme at the World Resources Institute.

The event is financially supported by the Tony Ryan Trust.

Former minister for energy and natural resources Eamon Ryan, who is also one of the organisers, said: “We are being very ambitious here, expecting that people will return from the event looking to influence their own organisations with the thinking that evolves at our event.”

He said Ireland was a good place to bring people to work out new approaches towards the climate issue.

“These talks are a first for Ireland, but just as Oslo is the place for peace talks, Geneva for trade talks, Ireland can become the space where climate change is addressed.”

Part of the reason participants are coming “is that we boast a stunning, rugged landscape on the western edge of Europe, which we believe will be inspirational”, he said.

“We are already planning a second and larger climate gathering for Dublin in June, which will build on the work we will do in Clare.”