Facing up to climate change


Madam, – With barely 40 days to go before the make-or-break talks in Copenhagen, it is shocking, as pointed out by Frank McDonald (Opinion Analysis, October 23rd) that Europe has still not decided how it will help poor countries manage the effects of the climate change we’ve caused. To ask poor countries to pay for our pollution, or give up their chances when the West has polluted its way to prosperity, would be a grave moral injustice. More reprehensible is the view of some EU member states that our climate pollution could be paid for, if even in part, from overseas aid promises – diverting money from schools, clinics, teachers and nurses to pay for the damage we have caused to the climate.

Millions around the world are already feeling the devastating effects of climate change – through climate-related disasters, hunger and disease.

For them, and for all of us, Copenhagen needs to create a safe and a fair deal. This means halting climate change, supporting the developing world to pursue low-carbon futures and helping those whose lives and livelihoods are under threat from climate change to adapt to climate change.

At the forthcoming EU summit, Europe’s leaders, including the Taoiseach, need to show how they will deliver climate justice and ensure that we do not pay for it from overseas aid. – Yours, etc,


Oxfam Ireland,

Burgh Quay,

Dublin 2.

Madam, – David McWilliams’ conclusion in his television series that our “entire society is choking” was nicely underlined by John Gibbon’s article (Opinion Analysis, October 22nd). The world simply cannot sustain what some philosophers have called “cancer cell economics”. Is it now time for each and every one of us to finally accept that less is more? – Yours, etc,



Co Cork.

Madam, – Again John Gibbons writes about the gathering crisis for humanity in our destruction of nature, environmental degradation and overpopulation.

It is ironic that in the same issue of The Irish Times the European environment ministers are discussing reductions of 10 to 20 per cent of emissions from aircraft and ships over the next 10 years.

While it is possible they may succeed, it is unlikely that such intervention will make any difference to the impending environmental crisis and human tragedy.

I fear our world leaders are oblivious to the impending crisis and are merely dealing with symptoms rather than causes. Without a sense of realism from Obama and the other world leaders, I too, like Gibbons and David McWilliams, whom he quotes, must grieve about the future of our children and grandchildren. – Yours, etc,


The Palms,

Roebuck Road,

Dublin 14.