A Cork TD has called for immediate action on climate and for delivery on the promises that have been made.
Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould was in attendance at a climate action protest in the city centre on Saturday afternoon where hundreds gathered to march through the streets raising awareness about climate change and actions that need to be taken.
The demonstration was one of several that was held across Ireland to coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) taking place in Glasgow over the next week and a half.
Speaking to The Echo, Deputy Gould said there was “a lovely atmosphere” at the protest and that there were a lot of families, young children and teenagers in attendance.
“A lot of people had painted their own posters and it was very arty as well.
“There were a number of speakers there too before the march and then they marched around the city, down the South Mall, Parnell Place and up Patrick Street and back to the library and then they had some musicians and performers from MTU and other places.
It was lovely and the whole tone of the day was about activism and campaigning and about how people still have an opportunity, that was the core message, how people still have an opportunity to make a difference.
Deputy Gould said that we are “on a cliff edge” in terms of climate change and that there needs to be action taken.
Speaking to the crowd gathered on Grand Parade, Deputy Gould made the point that “there are a lot of promises being made but unfortunately for 20, 30, 40 years people have been highlighting the climate”.
“What we need is delivery now. One of the things that came out of the Cop26 was deforestation to stop by 2030.
"To me, I feel like that’s a long way away, especially when you’re looking at rain forests being burned and cleared for farmland, for big ranches in South America and across the world and also for palm oil and other products.”
He said that there is a lot of skepticism around a lot of the commitments that have been made and said that while there are a lot of targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050, those promises “have to be delivered now”.
I know things take time and we can’t sort it tomorrow but they have to be delivered, that’s the key to this.
He also highlighted how Sinn Féin does not agree with the carbon tax and said that it should be larger companies making large profits that “should either pay more or have a more sustainable business model”.
“We disagree with the carbon tax because we feel that hits peoples’ electricity bills, gas bills, petrol for going and coming to work and college and school, and we believe the Government’s strategy is only a tax on them whereas we believe if we’re going to be putting a taxing and carbon levy on that it should be the companies that are making the big profits,” he said.
Sinn Féin councillor for Cork North West, Mick Nugent, told The Echo that the key message from the protest was 'System Change not Climate Change'.
“Key points being raised by Sinn Féin is far greater investment in retrofitting with a focus on those living in energy poverty, increased EV grants for those on lower incomes and reducing the cost of public transport to make it more attractive to use, we also want greater urgency in addressing some of the legislative changes in this area that are long overdue,” he said.