LETTER: Strategy needs to include mitigation of climate change

July 13th, 2019 5:05 PM

By Southern Star Team

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Indeed the climate and biodiversity crisis is not fringe and not ‘a Green agenda'. It is a cross-party, inter-generational human rights issue that we must take very seriously.

SIR – I welcomed your reporting on page 7 of The Southern Star 06/07/2019 of the Cork County Council Draft Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and I note that once adopted it will be the main instrument to achieve the over arching commitment by Cork County Council towards a low carbon, climate resilient and sustainable environment.

I am hoping that the adopted plan will be one, not only of adaptation but also of mitigation and will include detailed guidance to government departments, as well as to business, on what they should prioritise; and how much research they should do ahead of making decisions that potentially have a lasting impact on climate and biodiversity.

By 2041, today’s transition year students will just be mid thirties; many working to sustain a family. 2041 is the year that Met Éireann projections start indicating an increase of 1 to 1.6°C, bringing major economic, social and environmental impacts to ‘all major cities in Ireland’ that are in coastal locations and thus subject to tides and sea level rise.

In your report, Councillor Quaide points to the management of trees; and quite rightly states the climate and biodiversity crisis should no longer be seen as a ‘fringe Green agenda.’  Indeed the climate and biodiversity crisis is not fringe and not ‘a Green agenda’. It is a cross-party, inter-generational human rights issue that we must take very seriously. If we do not, the devastating impact will not be felt only by ‘future generations’ but by the generations here today.

The Bantry Bay mechanical kelp harvesting licence, issued to Bio-Atlantis, is a prime example of government departments NOT prioritising climate change and biodiversity issues.

Kelp is a massively important habitat. It’s structural stability has important and far-reaching effects on biodiversity, equivalent to that of the tropical rain forests.

What is more, this ‘blue carbon system’ is recognised as being more efficient than forests for long-term carbon storage; and yet its relationship to both carbon sequestering and coastal management went completely unnoticed when the licence to mechanically harvest the Kelp was issued.

I urge Cork County Council to make the most of this opportunity to create a climate change adaptation strategy. I urge them to include mitigation in that strategy and to draft detailed and well thought-through guidelines to all government offices, To empower people issuing licences, planning permissions and approval of rezoning requests to have available all the facts that enable them to make well-informed decisions.

Right now, this is affecting our children’s future.

With warm regards,

Fiona Hayes Vincent,


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