Who Turned The Heat Up?
This week we are enjoying record temperatures around Ireland, although still not at the all-time record of 33 C set in Kilkenny in 1887. However, all-time record temperatures are being recorded in Canada and California. The Met office in the UK has issued its first ever extreme-heat warning after a bus shelter spontaneously combusted in the west midlands. Germany has just been subjected to disastrous flooding with the loss of almost 200 lives. And this is on the back of raging wildfires in Australia last year and record melting of the Greenland ice-shelf and Artic ocean. Was this always happening naturally and we just didn’t notice in the past or are we really changing the planet’s climate?
Up to date research has suggested that if global warming goes beyond 2°C, the Paris Agreement target, we should expect significant ice loss and several metres of global sea level rise over the next centuries. This means many coastal areas and coastal city centres will be under water. Not good news for an island nation. The Marine Institute reminds us that 90% of Ireland’s national territory is already under water.
But maybe we don’t need to worry about it now, it’s happening slowly and most of us won’t be around to see it. The next generations might be better equipped to solve climate change.
Last week the EU launched a new Climate Target Plan. This seeks to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, create new green jobs and cut greenhouse gas emissions whilst still growing the economy.
Ireland is making some progress on reducing its greenhouse gas emissions. 38% of electricity generated in Ireland is from wind, second only to Denmark and well above the EU average of 15%. On the blustery 21st February this year about 70% of our electricity came from wind. But wind power is still not fully competitive and is subsidised to the tune of €72 per year per household, a fee included in your electricity bills.
How do you feel about this subsidy and other climate related trade-offs? Are they worth paying to slow down climate change? Or do householders have enough problems and climate change should be left to the next generation to solve? Is the green economy for real? Is climate change just nature’s way so we shouldn’t really need to do anything? Or is it already too late and we have destroyed our children’s futures? Share your thoughts below.