“Addressing climate change is like fighting Covid: Every contribution matters,” is the message from UCC academic Dr Kian Mintz-Woo.
The lecturer in the Department of Philosophy with an affiliation to the Environment Research Institute, focuses on the moral philosophy of climate change and health policy.
Following the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, released yesterday, Dr Mintz-Woo said the main message was immediate action is needed to lessen the consequences of global warming.
“Time is running out to meet the Paris Agreement (and G7) goals of well below 2 degrees Centigrade (or to 1.5 for the G7). If we don’t proceed with immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in emissions, those goals will be beyond reach.”
The report also instigated a call for the Lower Lee (Cork City) Flood Relief Scheme to be “urgently” delivered.
Cork North Central Fine Gael TD Colm Burke said: “We have all recently witnessed the devastating scenes caused by severe flood events in Germany, Belgium, and China, and the consequences of climate change are very real in countries all over the world, including Ireland.”
He said the IPCC report “highlights a stark reminder about rising global temperatures if we fail to reduce global emissions, which could result in more intense heatwaves and increased flooding”.
“Given its low-lying coastal location, Cork is particularly prone to flooding; both tidal and river. Cork and other coastal areas are also at risk from Atlantic storm surges which are expected to increase in intensity.
“We all saw what happened in 2009 and 2014 when severe flood events were estimated to have cost a combined €140m. The fear of flooding is very real for too many people in Cork city. The time to press ahead with a sensible flood relief scheme is now,” he added.
Meanwhile, Dr Mintz-Woo said that while the situation is much worse than ever feared, according to the report, as a people, we should “take heart”.
“The Irish people showed great coordination and social care in masking and especially getting vaccinated. This showed that we care about each other and can come together to act in emergency circumstances. Sadly, climate change is another emergency circumstance.”
In terms of what the individual person can do, Dr Mintz-Woo said: “Driving less or cutting back on meat-eating (especially beef, sheep and goat) or looking for energy-efficient appliances. But for society, it means supporting green policies like the carbon tax and other policies that the Irish Citizens Assembly endorsed.”
UCC ERI PhD candidate Ronan O’Sullivan said influencing and putting pressure on the Government to chose and support environmentally friendly policies was a key factor in reaching a safe future in terms of Climate Change.
“There is a lot of blame placed on coffee cups and disposable straws, but the idea that we can change the world if everyone gets a keep cup is not true. We need to pull the plug on fossil fuel policies and put pressure on polluting industries.”
On the effects of Global Warming, Dr Mintz-Woo said we were “well past” the point of avoiding the effects entirely.