For some time now, scientists have warned that man is slowly but surely destroying the planet.
The latest report puts beyond any shadow of doubt the grim reality that unless carbon emissions are reduced, the world faces a “very high risk of severe, widespread and irreversible” impacts from climate change.
There is a bitter irony here because the report coincides with a Red Cross study of six cities, two of them in Ireland, with the aim of drawing up plans to reducing loss of life in the event of flooding. People in both Cork and Dublin have had to endure major floods in recent years and will be keenly interested that they have been singled out for pilot anti- flooding initiatives. The others are San Francisco, Seoul, Nairobi and Buenos Aires. A meeting has already been held in Cork and officials will meet the Red Cross in Dublin today.
Meanwhile, so grave is the warning from the document on global warming that precious little time is left before the window of opportunity is closed for ever. In other words, temperatures will rise to such dangerous levels that the damage will be irreparable. The point that is most likely to galvanise countries into action is the warning that delaying action would greatly increase the costs.
The case for taking decisive action on global warming has never been clearer. Is it asking too much that Ireland leads instead of slithering out of its obligations as it usually does?
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved