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Climate change conference should act as a wake up call for Ireland

23 September, 2005

Sinn Féin National Chairperson and MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has said that climate change could have "catastrophic consequences for all of Ireland".

Ms McDonald made her comments as a conference entitled "Weathering the Storm‚ took place in Dublin today where it emerged that rainfall in Ireland could increase by 11% over the next 45 years. The conference was organised by Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI).

Speaking today Ms McDonald said:

"The shocking statistics which emerged from today‚s conference on climate change in Ireland should act as a wake up call for all of us concerned with global warming and its potential consequences. The South East Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and now Hurricane Rita are devastating indicators of our rapidly changing climate.

"Such statistics should come as no surprise to people. Indeed, a recent report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) warned that Europe is warming more quickly than the rest of the world with potentially devastating consequences. Experts on climate change are lining up to inform us of climate change and it is time we took heed of their warnings. Many people have a tendency to view global warming as an issue which affects other nations and areas of the world and that we in Ireland are somehow immune from it. An increase of 11% in rainfall could have a major impact upon the Irish agricultural sector.

"The 26 County State is facing enormous fines, or alternatively must spend huge amounts of revenue (tax payers money) on emissions trading. The Dublin Government is facing a bill of €400 million over the next seven years to compensate for failures to reach its Kyoto target on "greenhouse" gas emissions as it plans to buy carbon credits to make up for an expected shortfall in its Kyoto target. There is a lack of concern at government level with actually achieving reductions in emissions. Responsible states should not resort solely to emission trading. It should be remembered that the national exchequer will benefit from any actions which result in a reduction in emissions. We should be aiming beyond Kyoto, which merely represents a minimum level with which all states should be complying.

"Only last week, Dr.Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that we only have a small window of opportunity to effectively address climate change, and that window is closing soon. We cannot leave the problem for future generations, by then it will be much too late." ENDS

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