Climate Action is Urgent: I have said it before and I'll say it again but the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms the message that we are at a 'last chance' stage for action to divert catastrophe.
The IPCC report last week set out in the starkest of detail that our world’s climate is at breaking point. We see the effects here in Ireland in more extreme weather events. On my recent visit to East Africa I witnessed first-hand the effects of the continued drought on people’s daily lives and the devastation it has on communities.
The climate crisis is fuelled mainly by rich nations, like Ireland, that every day live beyond their ecological boundaries.
The Green Party in Government is leading on climate action, something we have championed for over 40 years. And now through the Climate Act, we have legally binding targets to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
By working collectively, with government supports, we can change how we produce and save energy, how we travel, how we build, how we farm, and transition to a fossil fuel free future.
We must plant more trees and manage precious wetlands more sympathetically. We must farm with nature, with less chemical inputs, for the benefit of our water and biodiversity.
We must increase renewable energy projects and we are accelerating offshore wind, introducing free solar panels on our schools and grants for everyone else, including for collective action by communities.
In transport, we are investing in new rail fleet, in the electrification of buses and taxis, in the introduction of local hackney services and improved bus services across rural Ireland. We are putting in place more EV charge points, and we are changing how our children get to school through the Safe Routes to School scheme.
Warmer homes with lower energy bills are possible now due to SEAI grants - up to 80% grant for cavity wall insulation. And we are working to increase the use of timber in our built environment - so are buildings are stores of carbon, rather than emitters.
My hope is that I can clearly communicate the real life benefits of what we are achieving in government - for communities across the country and especially in the Midlands. Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss are the existential crises of our time, and we need to support our communities, our businesses, and citizens to do everything they can to support the action we all need to take.