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Climate change is a major threat to humanity - Bairbre de Brún

14 September, 2005


Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today said that "the catastrophic events of the past number of months should be enough of a warning to galvanise people into action on our ever-changing climate."

Ms de Brún made her comments before participating in an key event organised by her European Parliament group this evening in Brussels entitled '"Climate change: a challenge for civilization." Dr.Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be discussing this issue with MEPs this evening.

Dr Pachauri has in recent weeks called for immediate and "very deep" cuts in pollution if humanity is to "survive". He told delegates to an international conference in Mauritius that 'Climate change is for real. We have just a small window of opportunity and it is closing rather rapidly. There is not a moment to lose.'

Speaking from Brussels Ms de Brún said:

"The catastrophic events of the past number of months including the South East Asian tsunami and more recently Hurricane Katrina in the United States should be enough of a warning to galvanise people into action on our ever-changing climate.

"The summer months have also seen dramatic flooding in Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany and Switzerland, albeit on a smaller scale, but with dozens of death nonetheless, and more deaths a result of major forest fires in Portugal, Spain and France.

"Natural disasters are not a new phenomenon, but the fact that the world's climate is getting warmer may well help to explain the devastating frequency and ferocity of recent natural disasters.

"In this context, we are indeed fortunate to have the opportunity of discussing at first hand in the European Parliament today with Dr.Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Dr Pachauri has in recent weeks called for immediate and "very deep" cuts in pollution if humanity is to "survive". He told delegates to an international conference in Mauritius attended by 114 governments that 'Climate change is for real. We have just a small window of opportunity and it is closing rather rapidly. There is not a moment to lose.'

"A 2004 report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) warned that Europe 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 which would cap concentrations of critical greenhouse gases, but this requires real political will, particularly from those nations pumping out massive amounts of gases which are harmful to the atmosphere.

"The over-developed world has a particularly important role to play, as it disproportionately contributes to world pollution and negatively impacts upon climate change. 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.

However, words and promises need to be converted into concrete actions and plans. Global warming remains a major threat to the very existence of humanity; to say that real action is required on the issue is an understatement." ENDS

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