Expert claims eight years to tackle global warming


One of Ireland’s experts on climate change, Prof John Sweeney of NUI Maynooth, has warned that time is running out to tackle the growing threat it poses for food production and low-lying coastal cities.

Speaking last night at the Seamus Heaney lecture series at St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, he said many countries – including Ireland – faced the equivalent of a “fiscal cliff” in environmental terms unless global warming was halted.

Prof Sweeney urged Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan to include real reduction targets for Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions in the Government’s Climate Change Bill, which is expected to be published today after it receives Cabinet approval.

“We have about eight years to tackle global warming,” he said. “We are staring at a climate cliff face and if we don’t act now we face a future of reduced crop production, shrinking of Irish wetlands, greater frequency in freak weather events and rising seas.”

He said Ireland’s winters would be wetter and our summer’s drier, threatening the farming sector.