The Paris Agreement on Climate Change of 12 December 2015 was a remarkable outcome in getting the commitment of 196 countries to holding the increase in global temperatures to well below 2 degrees over pre-industrial levels so as to significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change . They also agreed to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.
* The scientific evidence demonstrates that climate change now being experienced is predominantly the result of human activity which has led to unprecedented levels of Green House Gases ( GHGs) around our planet with consequent dramatic impacts on our climate
* The results are increasingly apparent : the record rainfall , river floods and high seas experienced in Ireland and Britain in recent months bring hardship in its wake ; the sad melting of glaciers in Greenland, the Artic and Antarctic seas . The year 2014 was the warmest globally since reliable records were kept !
* However, the pledges given by the countries at the Paris Convention are not sufficient to achieve the target of less than 2 degree increase in global warming .
* I have encountered strong interest by local people , and particularly young people , in the implications of Climate Change not just for Ireland but for Planet Earth . They want more engagement about Ireland’s commitment to climate change and our intentions to contribute to the EU commitments included in the Paris agreement.
There has been exceptional interest in the public meetings I organised on Climate Change . The first one entitled “ Climate Change Crunch Time “ was addressed by Professor John Sweeney on November 12 . A follow-up meeting was on the theme “ Paris Climate Deal and Ireland “ on January 14th with guest speakers Dr Cara Augustenborg , Chair of Friends of the Earth Ireland and Paul Melia , Environment Editor at the Irish Independent .