Latest IPCC report must be met with action, not words

Latest IPCC Report published today

Today the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Synthesis Report. This report provides an up-to-date understanding of climate change, its impacts, future risks and options for addressing it.

The IPCC report distils more than 10,000 pages of climate science from work carried out between 2018 and 2022.

It reflects an undeniable scientific consensus about the urgency of the climate crisis, its primary causes, and the catastrophic and irreversible harm that will occur if warming surpasses 1.5°C.

This report must be met with action, not words.

The window to remain within 1.5C is rapidly narrowing

Two years into Ireland’s first legally-binding carbon budget (2021-2025), Ireland’s emissions remain among the highest in the EU. Worryingly, the Annex of Actions to Ireland’s 2023 Climate Action Plan fails to clarify what level of emissions reductions the Plan will achieve in 2023 and beyond.

Further delay on transformative climate action risks an abrupt, forceful, and disorderly transition.

So, we call on the Government to:

  • Clarify whether the Climate Action Plan 2023 and Annex of Actions comply with Ireland’s 2021-2025 legally-binding carbon budget.
  • Accelerate the full implementation of the Climate Action Plan 2023.
  • Incorporate Land Use Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) and the “Unallocated Emissions Reductions” into Ireland’s carbon budget programme.
  • Publish the Long-Term Climate Action Strategy, which is now more than three years overdue to the European Commission.

“Rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes” must be socially just and protect and promote human rights

The IPCC report is clear: our house is on fire. There is no safe level of global warming. The impacts of the climate crisis at just over 1°C have already been devastating,  particularly within communities that have contributed least to the problem.[1]

In Ireland, responsibility for emissions is deeply uneven. The top 10% of the population contributed about a third of Ireland’s cumulative carbon emissions between 1990 and 2015. The cost of climate mitigation and adaptation measures must not fall on those who are least responsible.

It is essential that Ireland’s transition is underpinned by the principles of a Just Transition and the protection and promotion of human rights.

We call on the Government to:

  • Poverty-proof and equality-proof all climate policies to ensure that the cost of climate mitigation and adaptation measures do not fall on marginalised and vulnerable groups
  • Scale up the ambition of Ireland’s National Retrofit Plan to include all social housing and groups most at risk of energy poverty. Deliver free and reliable public transport across Ireland.
  • Halt new fossil fuel infrastructure, withdraw existing licenses from fossil fuel companies, and introduce a moratorium on new data centres.
  • Ensure a Just Transition by accelerating the establishment of a Just Transition Commission and embed the Just Transition guidelines across all government.

Above all, the IPCC report clearly demonstrates that solutions to the climate crisis are economically and technologically feasible. Amidst an abundance of alarming information and scientific warnings, what is needed is political will to mobilise Ireland’s just transition to a fossil-free future.

Find out more about CLM’s Centre for Environmental Justice and how we can help you here.

[1] Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change