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Letters to the Editor: Ireland must own its share of climate crisis

October 3rd, 2022 8:00 AM

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EDITOR – In a week that sees that great celebration of rural Ireland, ‘the Ploughing’, an Irish farming leader said ‘the opinion is out there that we’re 100% the problem’ when it comes to climate change. From our research on climate change, it would be naïve at best and a total abdication of responsibility at worst to believe this.

But tackling climate change is about taking responsibility and Ireland, along with all other rich, industrialised, polluting nations must own their fair share of the problem and solutions.

Speaking to RTÉ Radio 1, ICMSA’s Pat McCormack called for ‘a sense of fairness’ and that is what we’re calling for too. The industrialised model of agriculture that is currently supported sees farmers globally paying a very high price.

The world produces more than enough to feed everyone. The problem is inequality in food distribution, lack of affordable food, growing crops to fuel cars and trucks and waste. Hunger is rising all over the world as food production increases and profits in the industry soar, while 62 new food billionaires were created since the start of the pandemic.

My colleagues are just back from Kenya, one of 10 climate hotspot countries which collectively have suffered a 123% rise in acute hunger over the past six years. That region has lost 1.5m livestock due to drought caused by climate change. These communities have watched their animals starve to death and as a fifth failed rainy season threatens, they fear people are next.

Climate-fuelled hunger is a stark demonstration of global inequality. Countries that are least responsible for the climate crisis are suffering most from its impact and are also the least resourced to cope with it. Collectively responsible for just 0.13 per cent of global carbon emissions, the 10 climate hotspots sit in the bottom third of countries least ready for climate change.

Meanwhile, polluting nations such as those of the G20 – which control 80 per cent of the world’s economy – are together responsible for over three-quarters of the world’s carbon emissions.

We cannot fix the climate crisis without fixing the systemic inequalities in our food and energy systems.

One of our key proposals around this ahead of Budget 2023 is a wealth tax and broad windfall tax which could yield billions in revenue to tackle crises at home and uphold commitments overseas, including on climate finance.

Jim Clarken,

Ceo Oxfam Ireland,

Dublin 4.

Schools encouraged to join climate summit

EDITOR  – We are secondary school students and also climate activists and work closely with our school’s sustainability committee.

We are all members of the ISSN (Irish Schools Sustainability Network), which a teacher and our mentor, Dr Patrick Kirwan, founded.

This network aims to promote climate awareness, education and action in schools throughout the country, and it does so by bringing students and teachers from all across the country together.

The ISSN ran an educational initiative last year in schools all across the country (both primary and secondary schools) called the Climate and Nature Summit. It ran in November and coincided with COP26.

Two 40-minute videos were played each day for the week, during which various issues concerning climate change were discussed.

This year, we are running the summit again, from November 7th to 11th, but we are taking a very different approach. Nine students from across the country have come together to make this year’s event even better than last year’s. We hope that this year’s summit will be more interactive and more enjoyable for the students.

As part of this, we would like to encourage schools to sign up.

To sign up all they need to do is visit the Irish Schools Sustainability website (https://www.issn.ie/).

Thank you for your interest in helping up promote this event,

Niamh Purcell, Freya O’Sullivan and Taidhg Trocme,

ISSN,

Tramore,

Co Waterford.

Landowners reminded about hedge-cutting

EDITOR  – Cork County Council wishes to remind landowners, under the terms of the Roads Act 1993, that it is their responsibility to carry out any necessary tree or hedge cutting where their lands border the public road.

Uncut hedges are a serious road safety hazard and can cause substantial damage to vehicles, particularly heavy goods vehicles. Work should be carried out while hedges are dormant between now and the end of February next year.

Roadside hedgerows make up only a small percentage of the overall hedgerows in the county and landowners are encouraged to check out www.pollinators.ie to learn more about protecting wildlife and promoting diversity on their lands.

Further details are available on Cork County Council’s website www.corkcoco.ie

Padraig Barrett,

Director of services,

Cork County Council,

County Hall,

Cork.

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