EDITOR –Climate change is the single most destructive thing to ever happen.
The Climate Action Bill is not perfect, legally or practicably, and it will certainly not please everybody. Some want more, some want less, some clearly do not want it at all. For me, as a 20-year-old growing up in rural Ireland, I know that something needs to change.
Rural Ireland is the epitome of valuing our environment. I detest when the people in Dublin refer to us as being ‘left behind’. Let me tell you, we are not behind at all. I have not been anywhere in the world where people value our environment, our land, our ocean better than West Cork.
Take a trip out to Castlehaven or Drinagh and you will see farmers spending their entire day out in nature (people who know more about the environment than most of us). Take a short journey down to Baltimore or Bantry Bay, and you will see the glorious appreciation for our ocean. Have a stroll through Skibbereen Market on a Saturday morning where locals sell their organic produce to other locals and tourists.
We all know we must change and nobody ever said it would be easy. But the importance of a just transition cannot go unmentioned. The words ‘just transition’ are only mentioned a mere once within the entire Bill. These two words are extremely important in ensuring those most affected by striving towards a greener world, economically and socially, are protected, supported and aided in that adjustment.
The Bill brings binding aims to cut half our carbon emissions by 2030 and being net-zero by 2050. According to the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index, Ireland ranked 37th out of 57 countries in climate action performance, contrary to our international and tourism-driving ‘green’ image.
The Climate Action Plan is Ireland’s roadmap to becoming a climate neutral economy and resilient society and is currently being reviewed following wide public consultation.
It is up to the government to put in the necessary supports along the way.
In summary, rural Ireland is not living in the 18th century. We are open to change with the right aid, understanding and leadership.
What’s not to like in new Climate Bill?
EDITOR – The Climate Bill has been passed in the Dáil with unanimous cross-party support and just 10 votes against. It moves to the Seanad this week. This is a huge step towards writing into law the 7% per annum reduction in CO2 emissions intended to keep global climate heating below 1.5 degrees Celsius. Above that and our world gets into serious trouble.
There have been previous international agreements on a safer climate but action has been far too slow. It took the young protesters, led internationally by Greta Thunberg and at home by our own Saoi O’Connor and Alicia O’Sullivan, Fridays for Future, Extinction Rebellion and Stop Climate Chaos to push the climate crisis into the public eye and up the political agenda.
These young people and their older supporters should take huge credit for their courage and persistence in shaking governments from their slumbers and waking us all to the seriousness of the situation.
So, the Bill is not perfect but it sets the targets. Now the real work starts, and time for all politicians and leaders to collaborate to draw up an effective Climate Action Plan laying out the roadmap towards these targets. To assist, the Climate Action Advisory Council, an independent advisory body, will be expanded to broaden their expertise to advise and monitor Ireland’s progress. Change is coming, which can be unsettling or exciting, depending on how you view it. If done well, as Ireland contributes its fair share to reducing global CO2 emissions there will be big opportunities to improve lives.
More jobs in the ‘green economy’, warmer homes, cheaper energy bills, better public transport, more people friendly towns and cities and a healthier environment.
West Cork has many of the resources needed to benefit from what is coming. Our farmers can benefit from new ways to pay them for providing carbon storage, clean water, more biodiversity, and healthy soils. We should gain as offshore wind power around our coasts shifts gear towards a new high-value industry.
And we get an Ireland that lives up to its environmental reputation underpinning its farming, food and tourism offer to the world. What’s not to like?
One Future Cork SW
We always kill first and ask questions later
EDITOR – In typical fashion, the State’s response to ‘problem’ animals, like the recent case of wild boar, is to kill them. Why is killing them the first option? What harm were they doing? And if they were likely to do some damage to the local environment, isn’t that what humans have been doing for centuries?
These animals, according to the NPWS statement, were ‘dispatched’. Are they going by An Post or by courier service? How about ‘shot’? How about ‘killed’? Why the use of such odd, disconnecting language?
According to the NPWS, the animals ‘pose a very serious threat to the disease-free status of the national herd; that there could be dire consequences if diseases such as blue tongue or African swine flu were to be present or if these highly contagious disease were unintentionally introduced’.
What poses a much bigger threat to the national herd is the manner in which the almost 2m pigs are intensively farmed each year. Factory farms, by their very nature, are breeding grounds for viruses. And yet the NPWS express no concern about Ireland’s trend towards greater intensification. Surely this situation could have been managed better. Why can the State and its bodies not be open to a solution that would allow these animals to live out their lives? Why is killing always the first and only option?