An ambitious climate change deal in Paris is in all our interests - Boylan
Commenting on the climate change conference, taking place in Paris, Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson, Cathal Boylan MLA said:
“Climate change is one of the defining challenges facing our society today. Consequently the climate change conference presently running in Paris until December 11th will see participation by representatives from almost 200 states across the globe.
“I believe that while conferences such as Paris have to focus on stabilising the levels of greenhouse gases etc in the atmosphere it needs to be about much more. It needs to be about citizens’ fundamental human rights over the vested interests of big business or individual states.
“Discussion on climate change often focusses on the scientific debate and phenomena far removed from most ordinary people's everyday reality but that is now changing.
“Several weeks ago representatives from the Pacific islands meeting in Fiji warned of the danger of large parts of their landmass disappearing in the coming decades.
“They also warned of the re-emergence of malaria, typhoid, and a range of diarrhea-linked diseases, which create significant health challenges. The World Health Organisation predicts up to 250,000 deaths globally as a consequence of this and climate change.
“The island of Ireland is already experiencing significant climate change. Six of the warmest years we have experienced have occurred in the last 25 years. There has been a reduction in the number of frost days and a shortening of the frost season.
“We have witnessed an increase in the annual rainfall in northern and western areas with decreases or small increases in the south and east.
“These changes will impact on our natural environment and on agriculture. The increasing acidification of the ocean will also impact on our marine economy.
“Scientists are predicting that Ireland faces not just a rise in sea level but water shortages, adverse impacts on water quality and changes in the distribution of plant and animal species.
“While the threat posed by climate change to our food security or public health here compared to those countries ravaged by drought, storms, extreme flooding and disease is hugely different, we too are becoming more alert to the effects of climate change and what action we must take for the future.
“But in all of these difficulties created by climate change, the two small economies on this island have an opportunity to develop new business models and technologies which will be increasingly required to drive decarbonisation across the globe.
“This also offers us the opportunity to create new jobs and drive exports, innovation, energy security and reduce expenditure on imported fossil fuels by powering Ireland with clean renewable energy
“An ambitious deal in Paris is therefore very much in all our interests.”