Responding to climate change


Sir, – The sobering and somewhat worrying report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) strikes one hopeful note in suggesting that global temperature increases could be kept to 1.5 degrees if governments take “strong and immediate action”.

In an Irish context, given the year-long delay in a taking a decision on whether to ban vehicular traffic from College Green in Dublin, the chronic underinvestment in cycling infrastructure, the current Minister for Transport denying any role or responsibility for the Bus Connects plan, local opposition to wind farms, and our Government’s ongoing lobbying of Europe for concessions on our agricultural emissions, what, realistically are the chances that any Irish government is going to make the hard choices that are needed immediately to halt the effects of climate change?

Witness also the political response in Australia to the idea that its coal industry might be negatively affected by “some sort of report”.

Unless and until this issue is seen for what it is and framed as a worldwide emergency that faces all of humanity and goes beyond national and local electoral politics, the chances of the required “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes” being made are, unfortunately, nil. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 2.

Sir, – On the same day that the IPCC releases the direst report to date on the dangers and consequences of global warming, the Government (whose lack of progress on meeting the targets for reduction of greenhouse gases is a matter of national embarrassment) signs off on a budget that reneges on the opportunity to increase carbon taxes.

What planet does our Government live on? If it was the same one as the rest of us, it would surely do everything in its power to safeguard its future. – Yours, etc,



Co Waterford.

Sir, – I was very surprised to discover that the IPCC report on climate change did not feature on the front page of The Irish Times. Is this country really such a backwater that we don’t need to be updated on the defining issue of the day? – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – The United Nations climate change report is stark in its conclusions and we all need to face up to our responsibilities, especially governments.

One of its findings states that each government needs to invest approximately 2.5 per cent of GDP in combating what the world faces. Within Nato, members are asked to invest approximately 2 per cent of GDP in military spending. If asked what would people prefer investing in, military spending or saving our planet, I have a fair idea what people would choose. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 22.