Reject climate change deniers, says President

President Michael D Higgins has called on people to reject climate change deniers.

In an address in Paris on the environmental threats posed to earth, Mr Higgins said those who are most affected by drought, floods, fire, and intense weather must be at the centre of any response.

“We need to break away from a destructive relationship with the diversity that is life on our planet towards a new paradigm of existence, one that will be built on the respect we must have for the wonderment and renewal of nature,” the President said.

President Higgins was in Paris to attend the Summit of Consciences for the Climate.

The day-long conference was designed to raise awareness of the threat from climate change ahead of the COP21 conference on climate change in Paris in December.

Other attendees invited included ex-UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, former president Mary Robinson, religious leaders and ex-California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In a direct appeal, President Higgins said there had to be inclusive, humane and non-judgmental engagement with the voices of those most affected by climate change.

“We must begin with an acceptance of the evidence of science. It is now clear that failure to respond to the scientific reality of climate change may ultimately lead to the destruction of life on our planet,” said President Higgins.

“We must therefore unequivocally reject the position of those who would obscure the scientific reality of climate change in their protection of any narrow and short-term self-interest.

“The first ethical test is in accepting that there can be no compromise with truth.” Despite warning about the threat posed to the planet, Mr Higgins also said there is cause for optimism.

“I perceive among the populations of the world, and especially among the young, a search for beauty and a yet retained sense of awe at the harmony of nature.

“Among the elders of the planet, there is also a respect for the potential of the inherited wisdom of the world to inform institutions and policies in new circumstances.”

President Higgins also asked if succeeding in tackling climate change would not be the greatest of all human achievements.

“When history records the actions we take or fail to take at this our moment of truth, we will not have the excuse that we did not understand, that we did not know,” he said. “We have been gifted, in a global communications order, with the knowledge and the opportunity to act.”

President Higgins also suggested world’s leaders should look to the example set after the Second World War, while he also attacked the rampant consumerism in many countries.

“Extreme individualism manifesting itself as insatiable consumption and accompanied by unconscionable levels of inequality, characterises much of what is regarded as the developed part of our planet,” said President Higgins.

Meanwhile, Earth dialled the heat up in June, smashing warm temperature records for both the month and the first half of the year.

“There is no way that 2015 isn’t going to be the warmest on record,” said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.


Dr Sarah Miller is the CEO of Dublin’s Rediscovery Centre, the national centre for the Circular Economy in Ireland. She has a degree in Biotechnology and a PHD in Environmental Science in Waste Conversion Technologies.‘We have to give people positive messages’

When I was pregnant with Joan, I knew she was a girl. We didn’t find out the gender of the baby, but I just knew. Or else, I so badly wanted a girl, I convinced myself that is exactly what we were having.Mum's the Word: I have a confession: I never wanted sons. I wanted daughters

What is it about the teenage years that are so problematic for families? Why does the teenage soul rage against the machine of the adult world?Learning Points: It’s not about the phone, it’s about you and your teen

Judy Collins is 80, and still touring. As she gets ready to return to Ireland, she tells Ellie O’Byrne about the songs that have mattered most in her incredible 60-year career.The songs that matter most to Judy Collins from her 60-year career

More From The Irish Examiner