Declaring a climate emergency
Sir, – On Thursday evening, the Dáil “unanimously” accepted an amendment to the Oireachtas report on climate action that asked the Government to declare a climate emergency. Three cheers all around; spokespeople from both the Government and the Opposition – as well as young activist Greta Thunberg – welcomed the move with open arms. They were also quick to emphasise the need for concerted action in the months, years, and decades ahead.
That last part is a bit of a problem. The political points associated with this “emergency” were so easy to score – especially in a country with few vocal climate change deniers and certainly no political party taking that line – that almost the entire Dáil forgot even that most basic of courtesies: showing up. Only six TDs were present for the vote, and not a single one from the party that had tabled the amendment, Fianna Fáil. If this is not a clear sign of how Irish politicians will engage with the now-declared crisis, I don’t know what is. It’s almost as if both the Government and the Opposition hope that this symbolic gesture will pre-empt the rise of a larger Extinction Rebellion movement on Irish soil, rather than actually dealing with the problem. – Yours, etc,