Climate change conference tackles tough questions

30 Jun 2010

EPA conference looks at how socio-economic transformation is needed, as well as showcasing Irish research projects.

Key topics the conference, taking place at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin today, will include:

– The key challenges presented by climate change for Ireland

– Developments in the climate science and policy arenas

– The target of keeping the global temperature increase to less than 2C

– A major financial package for developing countries to assist them with adaptation and mitigation actions

– Opportunities for enterprises

Says Dr Mary Kelly, director-general of the EPA: “Addressing climate change will require major socio-economic transformations for Ireland, Europe and the world. This issue is something that we need to start seriously considering and we hope that this conference will contribute to this discussion.”

Dr Andrea Pinna of the European Investment Bank (EIB) will also discuss how the EIB will support climate funding, with a specialist session on financial and market instruments to consider funding for actions on climate change.

Climate change research

New research funded under the EPA’s Climate Change Research Programme will also be showcased.

– Dr Brian O’Gallachoir, UCC, will talk about Climate Change Mitigation – The Energy Dimension. UCC is building an energy systems model, Irish TIMES, to build scenarios on how this ambitious 20pc emissions reduction target may be achieved by 2020 in a least cost manner.

– Dr David Browne, Dr Brian Caulfield and Prof Margaret O’Mahony from the Centre for Transport Research, TCD, will give a presentation on sustainable transport, based on the project ‘Assessing the Barriers to Sustainable Transport in Ireland’, which is currently nearing completion at TCD.

– Prof Christoph Muller from UCD will present on ‘Future Roles for Peatlands in Ireland’. This presentation will cover how natural peatlands play an important role in the regulation of the global climate by actively removing carbon from the atmosphere, and how this function is reversed (ie, there is a net release of carbon) when the peatland is damaged.

– Valerie Cummins, Coastal and Marine Research Centre, will present on ‘Building capacity for adaptation to climate change at the local level’, covering how local authorities will also need clear policy direction, coupled with guidelines and adequate resources.

– Martin Hession, UK, UNFCCC CDM Executive Board, will speak about ‘The future of the global carbon market; after Copenhagen’.

– Dr Lisa Ryan, International Energy Agency, will speak about: ‘Carbon pricing and energy efficiency: problem solved?’

‘The Burning Question’ on RTÉ

In conjunction with this conference, RTÉ will tonight air an Earth Horizon production on climate change. In the programme, The Burning Question, Duncan Stewart will garner public perceptions around this issue, as well as speaking to scientists globally.

The programme, which will air on RTÉ 1 tonight at 10.10, will feature interviews with Mary Robinson, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Irish climate scientists, journalists and academics.

Photo: Andrea Pinna, European Investment Bank, pictured speaking at the EPA Climate Change Conference in the Aviva Stadium


Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic