Urgent action more necessary than ever to prevent irreversible climate change

Date released: Feb 01 2007

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) welcomes the publication of a report on Global Climate Change by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Commenting, Dr Mary Kelly said,

“The IPCC report clearly demonstrates that greenhouse gas emissions are already having serious impacts on our climate.  Urgent action is vital if we, and future generations, are to avoid major and irreversible change to every aspect of our lives.   Greenhouse gases emitted now will remain in the atmosphere for many decades and affect the climate for centuries to come. The IPCC report, along with Sir Nicholas Stern’s recent report on the Economics of Climate Change, confirms that the costs of inaction will be significant.”


Dr Padraic Larkin, Deputy Director General EPA explained,
“The Stern report estimated that if we don’t act, the overall costs and risks of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever.  Our actions now and over the coming decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity which will be difficult or impossible to reverse. Clearly, the benefits of strong and early action far outweigh the economic costs of not acting.”


Dr Larkin continued,

“Using the results from formal economic models, the Stern Review found that acting now and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change can be limited to around 1% of global GDP each year.”


The Stern Review stated that the scientific evidence is now overwhelming: climate change is a serious global threat, and it demands an urgent global response.

Dr Larkin said,

“Better models and more powerful computers mean more accurate climate change projections.  The IPCC report suggests that a business as usual scenario will result in significant increases in carbon dioxide concentrations which will lead to damaging global temperature increases.  It also presents evidence that if we can limit global temperature increases we can reduce the worst impacts of climate change.”

He continued,


“The European Union’s aim to limit global temperature increase to 2°C above pre-industrial levels is both prudent and urgent.  All relevant sectors need to be aware, however, that reduction targets set in the Kyoto Protocol are only a start if we are to restrict the temperature increase to 2 degrees C.  Developed countries will have to make much deeper cuts in the post-Kyoto phase after 2012."


“By limiting the temperature increase to 2 degrees C it is hoped that Ireland will escape the most dangerous impacts of climate change.  An EPA funded research report which will be launched later this month will show that impacts would include increased storm intensity, more intense rainfall during the winter months and prolonged dry periods during the summer.”


 Dr Larkin concluded,

“Immediate and strong action is clearly warranted. Ireland has already shown that it can lead the world on environmental issues with the ban on smoky coal, the plastic bag tax and the smoking ban and, given clear information, can do the same with this issue.”