A generous platform was granted to climate change denial on The Tonight Show, Wednesday, October 10.
This unacceptable and uninformed rhetoric serves only to confuse the public about and ultimately frustrate Ireland’s role in the global effort to cut carbon emissions.
The point of Ireland cutting carbon emissions was undermined, comparing our emissions with Chinese and Indian emissions, and suggesting because ours are smaller in comparison they don’t matter. This is a myth.
Every single country in the world is signed up to the Paris Agreement, including the United States, and the United States will remain signed up to the Paris Agreement until after the next presidential election.
The Paris Agreement includes the principle of common but differentiated responsibility. In other words, every country in the world has committed to cut their carbon emissions, eventually to zero, but long-developed countries who have emitted the most carbon in the past have a particular responsibility to cut their emissions faster.
Ireland is a small country but it is a long-standing member of the European Union — the third-largest emitter — who is committed to near-zero emissions by 2050. Ireland, as an EU state, is obliged to contribute to the EU effort.
This is extraordinarily serious and urgent. On Monday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a warning to the world and prescribed much faster emissions cuts basically to save the world.
The media has a critical responsibility to inform the public about the facts and to frame discussions about climate change in a way that is focused on solutions that reduce emissions.
It is no longer acceptable in this time of crisis to continue to facilitate outdated and frankly ignorant arguments about whether there is a problem and whether Ireland can and should do something about it. These arguments have been settled long ago with the Paris Agreement and the EU’s long-term emissions reduction strategy.