Welcome to 2020: President Higgins calls for unity on climate change

The global community needs to come together to tackle climate change in 2020, according to the President of Ireland.

Welcome to 2020: President Higgins calls for unity on climate change

The global community needs to come together to tackle climate change in 2020, according to the President of Ireland.

Michael D Higgins made the remark in his Christmas and New Year message, describing the efforts of young people in highlighting the issue as “uplifting”.

Mr Higgins took the opportunity of ushering in the new year to wish people “hope and possibility” but also to warn that “we must do much more to avoid catastrophe”.

“If we are to succeed in meeting this greatest challenge, we must all act as a global community,” he said.

Fireworks are let off from Edinburgh Castle as part of the Hogmanay New Year celebrations last night. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA
Fireworks are let off from Edinburgh Castle as part of the Hogmanay New Year celebrations last night. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA

Away from warnings and concerns, for many, it was a night of fireworks and fun.

In Dublin, it was a big night with thousands taking part in the New Year Festival organised by Fáilte Ireland and Dublin City Council at Custom House Quay.

Walking on Cars headlined the countdown concert and were joined by the likes of Ash and Aimee.

The Customs House on the Liffey in Dublin is lit up for New Year’s Festival, a two-day even featuring live music, family entertainment, and laser shows. Picture: Gareth Chaney
The Customs House on the Liffey in Dublin is lit up for New Year’s Festival, a two-day even featuring live music, family entertainment, and laser shows. Picture: Gareth Chaney

Elsewhere, a special lights show formed part of an eye-catching choreographed display that brought some of the city’s most eye-catching buildings to life.

In Limerick, revellers enjoyed a fireworks display over the River Shannon and, as always, in Co Kerry, the streets of Dingle were packed with party-goers enjoying music all night.

There were no official public events organised in Cork, though that didn’t stop thousands from heading out in search of something to do.

Members opf the public watch Lighting & Lasers during Liffey Lights Midnight Moment Matinee as part of New Year’s Festival Dublin at the Custom House,Dublin. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Members opf the public watch Lighting & Lasers during Liffey Lights Midnight Moment Matinee as part of New Year’s Festival Dublin at the Custom House,Dublin. Picture: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Globally, the party had kickstarted in Christmas Island and Samoa and rippled through the world from there.

Millions bid farewell to 2019 and, indeed, the decade, to herald in something new and the possibilities that might come with it.

In Australia, raging wildfires led to some communities cancelling their new year fireworks celebrations, but Sydney’s popular display over its famous harbourfront went ahead as normal. The city was granted an exemption to a total fireworks ban in place there and elsewhere to prevent new wildfires.

Members of the Gurung community wearing traditional attire perform as they take part in the New Year ‘Tamu Lhosar’ ceremony in Kathmandu, Nepal. Picture: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty
Members of the Gurung community wearing traditional attire perform as they take part in the New Year ‘Tamu Lhosar’ ceremony in Kathmandu, Nepal. Picture: Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty

In New Zealand, the country’s major cities bid farewell to a challenging year for the country. Half a ton of fireworks burst from Auckland’s Sky Tower to herald the start of 2020.

London’s annual New Year’s Eve fireworks display celebrated the city’s hosting of several key games in the Euro 2020 football tournament.

Speaking ahead of the celebrations, London mayor Sadiq Khan said the display would be celebrating the city’s “key” role in hosting the championship.

A woman celebrates the upcoming New Year in Seoul, South Korea. Picture: Ahn Young-joon/AP
A woman celebrates the upcoming New Year in Seoul, South Korea. Picture: Ahn Young-joon/AP

The pyrotechnics show featured more than 12,000 fireworks, with the display being set to a soundtrack “inspired by London and Europe”.

Big Ben’s chimes sounded the start of the display despite them being silent during 2019 year while renovation work was underway.

Protesters hold up their hands to symbolize the five demands of the pro-democracy movement as New Year’s fireworks light up the sky during a demonstration in Hong Kong. Picture: Lee Jin-man/AP/Shutterstock
Protesters hold up their hands to symbolize the five demands of the pro-democracy movement as New Year’s fireworks light up the sky during a demonstration in Hong Kong. Picture: Lee Jin-man/AP/Shutterstock

In Edinburgh, the Hogmanay celebration was mired in criticism of the organisers who were accused of causing unnecessary confusion for residents, many of whom believed they would need to apply for permits to access their own homes on the night.

Underbelly, which also organises the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, apologised for the confusion.

Fireworks from the SkyTower during Auckland New Year’s Eve celebrations. Picture: Dave Rowland/Getty
Fireworks from the SkyTower during Auckland New Year’s Eve celebrations. Picture: Dave Rowland/Getty

Later, it was all eyes on New York, when over a million people packed into Times Square for one of the most eye-catching new year’s celebrations in the world.

The iconic ball drop — some 5.4 tonnes of Waterford crystal — marked the end of 2019 and the start of a new decade, with a soundtrack provided by Post Malone, BTS, and Alanis Morissette.

A lighting display at the Burj Khalifa on New Year’s Eve in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Picture: WIN-Initiative/Getty
A lighting display at the Burj Khalifa on New Year’s Eve in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Picture: WIN-Initiative/Getty

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