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Climate Change Action Required Now – Boylan

18 November, 2007

Cathal Boylan, Sinn Fein MLA for Newry and South Armagh and Vice Chair of the Assembly Environment committee, says the latest report from the IPCC, (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), must focus people's minds on the need to act now.

Mr Boylan said:

"This report from leading scientists and representatives of world governments makes it clear that climate change could have 'abrupt' and irreversible' consequences.

"It has been prepared by a panel drawn from 130 states around the world and considerable weight must be given to their findings. It is unequivocal, in that it states that climate change is clearly linked to human activity, the impact of our current industrial practises and our every day lifestyle is having on the planet.

"There is strong new evidence of the effects that climate change is having on vulnerable systems such as polar and high mountain communities and ecosystems. There are confident reports that we can expect further extreme weather, such as heat waves, drought, flooding, and strong tropical storms.

This report will be presented to Environment Ministers at a UN conference in Indonesia in two weeks and should herald negotiations towards a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Mr Bolyan added:

"It is thought and hoped, that the USA will be more receptive in these negotiations than they were to the Kyoto agreement. It is believed that it will report that the level of emissions reduction required has been underestimated and conclude that even under the most stringent implementation further warming is unavoidable.

"This will be the last report from the IPCC for a number of years. In reality, it could be our last wake up call.

"If this does not alert policy makers to the dire consequences we all face, then I doubt anything will. We recently agreed in the Assembly to sign up to the British target to reduce emissions, but we left it open that we could change this. It may be that we will have to revisit this issue sooner than we thought, and we have to be realistic about this, we have to look at the whole island of Ireland.

"Environment Minister Arlene Foster herself has said that emissions and their impact do not recognise the border. There needs to be one united course of drastic action, and it needs to happen quickly or the stark picture which has been painted by this report will occur with extreme consequences." ENDS

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