Climate issues crucial, says Robinson


FORMER PRESIDENT Mary Robinson said she was “heartened” by the interest in climate change after more than 50 people had to be turned away from a public lecture on the issue in University College Cork last night.

The human rights activist, who now works on climate justice issues, said in a time of economic crises, attention focuses on our immediate problems. But she warned that we ignore climate change at our peril.

“The whole continent of Africa is responsible for less than 4 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. If you think how little the resource-poor countries have been contributing and yet they are in the frontline of having to suffer. We have to change our habits and lifestyle. It will be catastrophic if we don’t take the right steps.”

At the lecture organised by UCC’s Centre for Global Development Mrs Robinson explored the outcomes of the most recent UN climate change conference, which took place in Durban, South Africa last month. She said a new roadmap has been drawn up for seriously addressing climate change and that we should all play our part in putting pressure on the world’s leaders to take on their responsibilities.

Mrs Robinson told the audience that when respected institutions such as the OECD and the International Energy Agency warn that failure to face up to the problems posed by climate change could result in irreversible damage “we must all give the issue our fullest attention”.