Climate Change Communications and Public Awareness

Written in FFI Organisation: November 29th, 2007, 8:54pm by jonathan  | View all categories.
Climate Change Communications and Public Awareness|jonathan|1196369664|Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D., at the launch of the Climate Change Communications and Public Awareness Campaign at Government Buildings on Thursday, 29 November, 2007 at 1.30 p.m.

Speech by the Taoiseach, Mr. Bertie Ahern, T.D., at the launch of the Climate Change Communications and Public Awareness Campaign at Government Buildings on Thursday, 29 November, 2007 at 1.30 p.m.

Climate Change is the greatest challenge of our time. The debate is no longer about whether it is happening or why it is happening. The scientific evidence points clearly to man-made emissions of greenhouse gases as being the main cause. We also have a much clearer picture of the grave implications if we do not change our ways. This yearís report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change leaves little room for doubt as to the course of action we must take. To put it simply, if we hope to avoid the more devastating impacts of climate change, we must significantly reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases.

Europe has been to the forefront in showing political leadership on this issue. Thanks to EU efforts in particular, the Kyoto Protocol will enter into force on 1 January next, with 175 countries bound by its terms. Working in a carbon constrained world is now a reality for those countries, including Ireland, that have chosen to lead on this issue through limiting their emissions over the next five years.

Kyoto was always just a first step. The EU has undertaken to cut emissions further, to at least 20% below 1990 levels by 2020. Ireland will play its full part in reaching this goal. Minister Gormley will be travelling to Indonesia next week to work alongside his EU colleagues in encouraging the rest of the world to join us in shaping a meaningful global agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol.

Irelandis a small country, with a small population. But even though we account for a relatively small proportion of global emissions, we have as much of a responsibility as any country to do what we can for this global effort to succeed.

The Programme for Government places Climate Change firmly in the centre of this Governmentís priorities. A new Cabinet Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security has been established to oversee the implementation of the National Climate Change Strategy. Climate change is an issue that cuts across almost all Government Departments and can only be effectively tackled with a whole-of-Government approach.

The Communications and Public Awareness Campaign that we are launching today is part of the National Climate Change Strategy. The campaign will aim to raise general public awareness of climate change, its causes and impacts. It will promote behaviour change so as to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases across Irish society and the economy. A key aspect is that the campaign will engage directly with specific sectors and work in partnership with them to address their emissions. The campaign will also explain and facilitate the timely implementation of the proposed actions set out in the National Climate Change Strategy.

To those who have not yet engaged with the issue of Climate Change, I would say - look around you.  Climate change is real and is not going away. Successfully tackling the issue is crucial to our future well-being and it will occupy our thoughts and actions for several decades.

Climate Change is an environmental issue. It is also a social issue and an economic issue. It will touch on the lives of every man, woman and child in this country.  It will have implications for every sector of our economy. We must work together to tackle the challenges and seize the opportunities that it presents. Each of us can play our part in reducing Irelandís emissions. This campaign will help to communicate how we can do this and why it is vitally important that we succeed.

Thank You.                


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