Mary Robinson: David Attenborough's climate change speech 'has echoed around the world'

Climate change measures need to be thoughtful and inclusive, says former President Mary Robinson.

She was responding to a speech by renowned nature broadcaster David Attenborough at the opening ceremony of the COP24 UN climate conference in Katowice, Poland, where he called climate change "our greatest threat in thousands of years."

He told world leaders that climate change could lead to the collapse of civilizations, and much of the natural world.

“Right now we are facing a manmade disaster of global scale, our greatest threat in thousands of years: climate change,” he said.

“If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilisations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”

Ms Robinson said it had been a wonderful idea to have Mr Attenborough speak at the conference.

She said: “It has worked wonderfully, his voice has echoed around the world.”

It was important to communicate, “to get through the UN speak, to get through to people,” she told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

“We’re running out of time. It is important to take action now. We must be more ambitious. Big changes are happening."

"There is more concern at political level. The Government and political parties are taking the issue more seriously.”

There is a long way to go to catch up, she said, “but we’re on the right track.”

Ms Robinson said there are very tough targets, “but they are doable.”

“We must take action with much more ambition to be on track for a carbon-neutral world. That’s why what David Attenborough said is important. The situation is potentially catastrophic, but it is doable. People need to take steps in their own lives. They need to get cross if governments are not doing enough.”

She said that Ireland is changing and needs to be a leader. But any changes need to be socially just, they need to be inclusive and thoughtful, she added.

The former President pointed out that changes in the peat industry need to include “a just transition”, with new jobs, new training and that the carbon tax should not have an impact only on those on low incomes who rely on fossil fuels for work.

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