Does Climate Change affect us?
An actual example of how climate change influence our lives is the Desmond storm that hit Ireland in December 2015 causing extensive floods in areas from Donegal to Cork.
West Ireland will have wetter winters and more of these extreme events:
Up to 35mm of rain – nearly a third of what is normally recorded in December – is expected to fall on parts of Connacht, Donegal, Clare and Kerry into tomorrow, deepening the crisis for hundreds of homes.
In more rural areas thousands of acres of farmland was already under water with many people resigned to the fact of another flood in six years.
Councils in Clare, Limerick and Ballinasloe called in the Army to help with defences.
In Limerick seven pumps were in operation shifting water away from the villages of Castleconnell and Montpelier while an inflatable flood boom, which acts like movable defence wall, was being used to channel some of the floods.
February 2014: Britain hit by high tides, floods and strong winds
May 2014: California drought the worst in 1,200 years, new study says
December 2014: Earth headed towards warmest year on record
Coincidence? No! The entire planet is warming up, causing increased incidences and intensities of extreme weather. No place and no people on earth are immune to its effects.
Increased CO2 emissions caused by burning of fossil fuels are the main cause of global warming and climate change.
Climate Change isn’t just awful, it’s unfair!
Most industrialised or “developed” countries are in the Northern Hemisphere and in countries where extreme seasonal weather patterns up to now have been for the most part absent. Most undeveloped countries are in the Southern Hemisphere or in countries that naturally experience extremes of seasonal weather patterns (e.g. monsoons or dry seasons).
Climate change puts additional stresses on countries already facing extreme environmental degradation, burgeoning young populations and growing political instability. These countries have lower GDPs and less economic capacity to respond to climate change than those that have had the biggest role in producing carbon emissions.
“Climate change will affect many of the most vulnerable in society. It will affect the poor, it will affect religious or ethnic minorities, it will affect women and children. That should say a lot to a human rights organisation. It’s going to be the most marginalised who feel those impacts most acutely” (Richard Pearhouse, Human Rights Watch, Geneva). From health, housing and education to the right to life itself, Pearshouse sees climate change as having a massive impact on “a vast range of civil and political rights”.
Climate justice links human rights and development to achieve a human-centred approach, safeguarding the rights of the most vulnerable and sharing the burdens and benefits of climate change and its resolution equitably and fairly. Climate justice is informed by science, responds to science and acknowledges the need for equitable stewardship of the world’s resources. (Mary Robinson Climate Justice Foundation)
Climate Justice is the understanding that we will not be able to stop climate change if we don’t change the newliberal corporate-based economy which stops us from achieving sustainable societies. It is the understanding that corporate globalisation must be stopped. (Global Justice Ecology Project)
“2015 must be the year the world wakes up …
… and delivers a safer, more just future for children and young people” writes Malala Yousafzai, 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi, in a letter to world leaders. Text below.
Dear World Leaders,
In 2015 two United Nations summits give us a unique opportunity to begin a journey towards a better future for all. Both present an opportunity to think bigger and to do better – for ourselves, our children and all those that follow. The first, in September, will see the agreement of new Development Goals which have the potential to transform the lives of millions. Two months later, in December, world leaders will meet again to agree new climate change targets.
This is our chance to commit to do better. That is why I am issuing a call today to urge you to raise your ambition. If the right decisions are made and kept we could see the beginnings of a better future in 2015. A future of ‘lasts’, rather than half measures.
I am not the only one raising my voice and calling for a greater ambition. A global movement – action/2015 – made up of citizens around the world and with young people at its forefront is forming. They will soon be launching their call for action demanding you commit to ambitious action in 2015 and deliver on your promises. I stand side by side with them.
2015 must be the year the world wakes up and delivers a safer, more just future for children and young people. We all must play our part in ensuring this is the case. Do not let this opportunity go to waste.