TAOISEACH: ‘Divided world must unite on climate change’

TAOISEACH: ‘Divided world must unite on climate change’

THE Taoiseach has warned that our divided world must unite on climate change or risk the future of our environment.

Leo Varadkar is in the United Arab Emirates this week for the COP28 summit.

The 28th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties is taking place at Expo City in Dubai, at which he is due to speak on Saturday.

The World Climate Action Summit kicks off two weeks of negotiations between member nations on how to cut emissions, produce more renewable energy, and use climate finance to limit the impact of climate change on people, the natural environment and countries around the world.

Ahead of his keynote speech this Saturday, the Taoiseach claimed the environmental challenges facing the world are “happening even faster than we anticipated”.

“We’ve had a year of record-breaking temperatures and alarming severe weather events, including some on our own shores, which have had disastrous consequences for the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people around the world,” he said.

“This is a crucial opportunity,” he added.

“The Global Stocktake will assess what the world has actually achieved since the Paris Agreement of 2015, when 196 countries agreed to limit global warming.

“We must work harder and faster to secure a safe, healthy, prosperous environment for all.”

The 2023 COP28 Summit is deemed one of the most important in years as it will review progress made to meet the targets set in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The Taoiseach will hold several bilateral meetings with world leaders while at COP28, which will focus mainly on climate change but will also address the ongoing wars in Ukraine and the Middle East.

He will also make Ireland’s National Statement to the conference this Saturday, December 2, setting out the nation’s commitment to vulnerable countries experiencing the greatest impact of climate change.

“One of the most effective ways to help individuals is a better system of climate finance,” Mr Varadkar said today.

“Sadly, the countries suffering most from climate change often have the greatest difficulty getting access to the finance and resources they need to deal with it.

“So, I look forward to COP28 making progress on a new loss and damage fund. Ireland has committed to €225m a year from 2025 to climate finance, the highest ever in our history, and I fully expect us to reach that target,” he added.

“At a time when the world is divided in so many ways, the urgent need to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and bring down our emissions, is one challenge that unites us all.

“We also need to scale up and prioritise adaptation.

“Climate change is happening even faster than most people anticipated.”

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is in the United Arab Emirates this week

Urging the international community to “achieve the goals it has committed to”, Mr Varadkar suggested that global leaders must find a way to “remove obstacles that have stood in the way of progress to date”.

“There are a lot of opportunities too, particularly for Ireland in renewable energy,” he said.

“We have vast natural resources, which we can harness, making us energy independent and fuelling our economy with cheap, reliable, secure energy.

“The transition must be just and fair,” he added.

“I’m really conscious that both the effects of climate change, and the actions needed to prevent it, do not affect people equally, so we must make sure we protect the most vulnerable in everything we do.

“Whatever is agreed here at COP28, it will have consequences for the future of our planet and its people.”