Taoisech Micheál Martin has urged world leaders to drive the transformation needed to combat climate change or future generations will not forgive them.
Speaking at the Cop27 summit in Egypt he said Ireland is seeing the effects of climate change in recent weeks.
“Temperatures in Ireland have been so mild this autumn that trees are producing new growth before they have even dropped their leaves,” he said.
He noted that the most vulnerable countries should be supported as a matter of priority from the larger economies, Mr Martin said “the burden of climate change globally is falling most heavily on those least responsible for our predicament”.
“Our citizens will become increasingly cynical, weary and hopeless if words are not urgently matched by deeds; if commitments do not generate new realities. We can already see and feel the world around us changing.
He said ‘”the situation is urgent, but it is not hopeless.”
“When I spoke at Cop26 last year I said I did not believe that it is too late; that the transition will be too costly; that it is inevitable that we will leave people behind. I believe it even more so now.
“It is realistic for our legacy to be a sustainable planet; a world alive with an abundance of plant and animal life; with cleaner water and healthier air; with liveable cities and sustainable rural communities.
“We will do everything in our power to bring it about. This generation of leaders cannot say that we didn’t know.
“The science is clear. Every tonne of carbon warms the world. Every delay makes our task that bit bigger. Let us not waste a second more.”
Martin said if this generation does not step up urgently, future generations will not forgive them.
“As leaders, it is our responsibility to drive the transformation necessary.
“In Ireland, the Government has set legally binding emission reduction targets of 51 per cent by 2030, and has committed Ireland to becoming climate-neutral by 2050.
“We have fixed Sectoral Emissions Ceilings limiting greenhouse gas emissions for each economic sector.” he said.
The Taoiseach said while achieving the targets will be “challenging” they have enacted a legal framework to guide and underpin their efforts.
He said: “We are more than doubling our finance to at least €225 million a year by 2025.”
— Micheál Martin (@MichealMartinTD) November 8, 2022