Taoiseach at COP27: ‘If we don’t step up, future generations won’t forgive us’

8 Nov 2022

Image: © Rafael Henrique/Stock.adobe.com

Micheál Martin said words must be ‘urgently matched by deeds’, as he announced commitments to help vulnerable countries deal with the climate crisis.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin has told world leaders that this generation must “step up urgently” to tackle the climate crisis.

Martin was delivering Ireland’s national statement today (8 November) at COP27, the UN climate summit taking place in Sharm El Sheik, Egypt.

“Climate change is fuelling conflict, global instability, competition for resources and abject human misery,” he said.

“If this generation doesn’t step up urgently, future generations will not forgive us. As leaders, it is our responsibility to drive the transformation necessary.”

‘Our citizens will become increasingly cynical, weary and hopeless if words are not urgently matched by deeds’

For Ireland’s part, Martin said the country will do everything in its power to bring about a more sustainable world.

The country has already set legally binding targets to reduce emissions by 51pc by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions no later than 2050.

However, emissions have been on the rise this year and the Environmental Protection Agency recently warned that “urgent” measures are needed for Ireland to meet its climate targets.

Martin acknowledged in his national statement at COP27 that achieving these targets will be “challenging”, so the country has brought in a legal framework to guide and underpin climate efforts.

He also noted that the burden of the climate crisis is falling most heavily on those least responsible, which is why Ireland published its International Climate Finance Roadmap.

Martin said the country is doubling its finance to at least €225m a year by 2025. It is also contributing €10m to the Global Shield initiative for 2023, which aims to help vulnerable countries recover from climate disasters.

“We can already see and feel the world around us changing,” he added.

“Our citizens will become increasingly cynical, weary and hopeless if words are not urgently matched by deeds; if commitments do not generate new realities.”

Martin said at COP26 last year in Glasgow that it was not too late to address the climate crisis. “I believe it even more so now,” he said this afternoon.

“This generation of leaders cannot say that we didn’t know. The science is clear. Every tonne of carbon warms the world. Every delay makes our task that bit bigger.

“Let us not waste a second more.”

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Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic