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Sinn Féin MEP addresses European Parliament on climate change

11 January, 2005


Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald last night addressed the European Parliament on the issue of climate change. Speaking in a debate on the recent conference in Buenos Aires on climate change, Ms McDonald said that 'Climate change remains a crucial issue facing humanity and requires a global response'.

Both Ms McDonald and Ms Bairbre de Brún MEP supported a resolution on the outcome of the conference, which called for renewed efforts in tackling global warming.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms McDonald said:

"I spoke in support of the resolution and commended the role that the EU has played, and continues to play in bringing progressive responses to combating climate change.

"Governments and industry must prioritise a global plan to cap concentrations of critical greenhouse gases. Setting more ambitious targets to cap the concentration of green house gases requires a real commitment and will require major changes to the manufacturing process; to the way that energy is generated, as oil and natural gas supplies dwindle, and to our collective lifestyles." ENDS

Full text of speech:

Ba mhaith liom an deis seo a ghlacadh chun fáiltiú roimh Chomhdháil Buenos Aires faoin athrú aeráideach, mar iarracht dáiríre tabhairt faoi fadhbanna an téimh domhanda.

I want to take this opportunity to welcome the Buenos Aires Conference on climate change, as a serious endeavour in tackling the problem of global warming. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) remains the cornerstone of the international response to the environmental changes, which continue to negatively impact on our planet.

I am speaking in support of the resolution and want to commend the role that the EU has played, and continues to play in bringing progressive responses to combating climate change.

I specifically want to express my concern that the United States (the largest CO2 emitter) although in attendance at the conference, was not prepared to discuss further developments to reduce climate change, although it is heartening to note that a number of individual states in the U.S have been involved in various climate change initiatives. The failure of the US to sign up to Kyoto is actively undermining the agreement. Poorer and less developed countries have no real incentive to comply with Kyoto, when a powerful, wealthy and economically developed country such as the US is failing to apply the same restrictions to its industrial and agricultural sectors. It is imperative that governments and big business show strong leadership and make difficult choices concerning our environment.

Yet we must all collectively support behind Kyoto as a small yet significant step in the right direction. In the longer term, if we are to successfully wrestle with the issue of climate change, then a much greater effort is required by individual countries and industry.

The targets set for stabilising the concentrations of greenhouse gases are hardly ambitious. Yet they are of fundamental importance in bringing about a marked decrease in the levels of emissions in our atmosphere. I welcome the assertion that post 2012, global emissions should be reduced by half by 2050, in order to contain global warming- this is an objective which we should all be actively working towards.

Climate change remains a crucial issue facing humanity and requires a global response.

Here in Europe, a recent report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) warned that the region is warming more quickly than the rest of the world with potentially devastating consequences, including more frequent heat waves, flooding, rising sea levels and melting glaciers. The report paints a bleak picture of a Europe devastated by changing climate.

We need to prioritise a global plan to cap concentrations of critical greenhouse gases. Setting more ambitious targets to cap the concentration of green house gases requires a real commitment and will require major changes to the manufacturing process; to the way that energy is generated, as oil and natural gas supplies dwindle, and to our collective lifestyles.

Molaim daoibh vótáil leis an rún seo.

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