Climate Change

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change defines climate change as, ‘a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.’ Open UN link

Often referred to as Global Warming because of the increase in average global temperatures, it is caused mainly by greenhouse gases such as Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Levels of CO2  in the atmosphere are increasing rapidly. A safe level is considered to be 350 parts per million (ppm) Open Reference . In January 2011, the level was 390 ppm  Open Reference.

Anthropogenic Climate Change puts the blame on human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels which result in the emission of greenhouse gases. Over 95% of climate scientists agree that Climate Change is caused by human activity.

Despite a recent increase in climate skepticism, NASA research has found that 2010 was the joint warmest year on record equaling 2005 Open Reference.  Since 1880, nine of the ten hottest years have occurred since 2000 Open Reference .

The effects of Climate Change are more extreme weather patterns such as floods, droughts, storms, heatwaves and freezes all of which are becoming increasingly regular on various parts of the planet. Rising sea levels, ocean acidification and failing agricultural output are other effects that also threaten human activity and human life.


In a statement October 2018  following the release of a new scientific report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), David R. Boyd, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, said that climate change rated as one of the greatest threats to human rights.

“Climate change is having and will have devastating effects on a wide range of human rights including rights to life, health, food, housing, and water, as well as the right to a healthy environment,” he said.

“The world is already witnessing the impacts of climate change — from hurricanes in America, heat waves in Europe, droughts in Africa to floods in Asia.”

Boyd said that for 25 years, scientists have issued increasingly clear warnings about the urgency of transforming economies and societies in cleaner, greener directions.

“There are scientific and feasible solutions to limit the damage,” he said. “States — particularly wealthy nations with high emissions — must act now to meet their human rights obligations and not only fulfill but go beyond their commitments under the Paris Agreement.”



Ireland’s National Adaption Framework can be found here.

Ireland’s National Mitigation Plan can be found here.

Other sites:

World Wildlife Fund – Climate Witnesses

Mary Robinson Foundation – Climate Justice


Citizen Assembly – How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change


Transition Town Kinsale – Submission to Citizens Assembly – Climate Change


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