Tuesday 24 July 2007

Climate threat: Emergency-like reaction needed

GREEN Party leader John Gormley yesterday said Ireland should respond to the threat posed by climate change in the way it responded during what was called “The Emergency” in World War II.
In a major speech at the McGill summer school in Donegal, the Environment Minister leader set out his comprehensive priorities for Government, unsurprisingly identifying global warming as the main one.
“My personal belief is that, such is the gravity of the situation, it can only be addressed by recognising now that we have the global emergencies. And emergencies require emergency responses,” he said.
“The sort of response I’m referring to was evident in our own country during what we euphemistically called ‘The Emergency’. During the war what would be considered extreme measures, but which were nevertheless necessary because of the circumstances, were introduced and accepted by the general public.”
Mr Gormley argued that business as usual was no longer an option and that the crisis would mean “major changes in our lifestyles”. He went on to say that it didn’t necessarily mean a reduction in quality of life or standards of living.
He pointed out that the Government had set itself a “challenging target” of a 3% reduction a year on average in greenhouse gas emissions, as well as full compliance with the Kyoto targets.
However, he conceded that the carbon credits were here to stay, though previously the Greens had criticised the Government’s use of them.
“While carbon credits are a second-best solution, they do have a role to play, and along with most other EU member states, we will have to avail of them.”

Harry McGee
© Irish Examiner

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