How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change
Submission to the Citizens’ Assembly by Peadar Kirby, Professor Emeritus of International Politics and Public Policy, University of Limerick and chair of the board of directors of Sustainable Projects Ireland, the not-for-profit company and registered charity which developed and manages Cloughjordan Ecovillage where I live. This submission draws on research done for my forthcoming book, co-authored with Dr Tadhg O’Mahony, entitled The Political Economy of the Low-Carbon Transition: Pathways Beyond Techno-Optimism (Palgrave Macmillan, due late 2017).
Humanity is sleepwalking to disaster. Despite seeing ourselves as living in a scientific era when we base our worldviews, our public policies and our personal actions and lifestyles on scientific evidence (for example taking seriously the evidence that smoking causes cancer and adjusting policies and personal actions accordingly), the leaders of our societies from global to local levels, in politics, business, education, agriculture and the media by and large avoid the greatest consensus ever reached by the global scientific community that the actions of humanity are fast creating conditions that gravely threaten livelihoods and communities everywhere and even the future of our species on this planet. As the then French president Francois Hollande put it when opening the December 2015 Climate Summit in Paris, ‘never - truly never - have the stakes of an international meeting been so high. For the future of the planet, and the future of life, are at stake.’ The scientific consensus on which this statement is...