Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to address UN at Climate Action Summit in New York

23 Sep 2019

Image: © leonid_shtandel/Stock.adobe.com

Varadkar will discuss initiatives to fund transformations in food production systems, electricity, buildings and transport across Ireland.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will address the United Nations summit taking place in New York today (23 September).

Ahead of the assembly, a new report has been released in which scientists warn that the effects of the climate crisis are accelerating, with both carbon dioxide levels and sea levels rising, and ice sheets melting faster than ever.

Varadkar will communicate to delegates at the Climate Action Summit that Ireland plans to ring-fence all new revenues from carbon tax starting from next year in an effort to tackle the climate emergency.

Money taken in from the new initiatives will fund transformations in food production systems, electricity, buildings and transport across the country, and the revenues will also be used to develop protection for those most at risk with higher fuel and energy costs, and for those that will need to enter new jobs.

This was emphasised by UCD economist John FitzGerald, who told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that funding should be set aside to help such people. He said: “The people of Ireland need to know that yes we’re going to make major progress on climate change and it’s going to cost us money, but those who are worst affected will be protected and I think there is a genuine commitment to do this.”

Varadkar’s visit

Varadkar will kick off his five-day visit to the US by joining other world leaders, including New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern, president Emmanuel Macron of France and King Abdullah II of Jordan, to discuss the ‘Christchurch Call to Action’ – an initiative aimed at tackling online terrorist content.

More than 60 world leaders are set to speak, with heads of nations such as Finland and Germany promising to ban coal within a decade.

Tomorrow, the Taoiseach will meet fellow leaders at the UN General Assembly and he is expected to hold Brexit talks with British prime minister Boris Johnson.

Varadkar will also use the opportunity to make Ireland’s case for a seat on the UN Security Council. Ireland is hoping to secure a two-year rotating term on the council in 2021, with member states due to vote in June. Ireland previously served on the UN Security Council in 1962, 1981 and 2001.

On Wednesday, the Taoiseach will travel to Los Angeles for a two-day visit that will focus on tourism and investment. He will also open a new Irish consulate in LA. Also on Wednesday, President Michael D Higgins will deliver an address to the UN.

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021