Trinity students yesterday joined the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) in a rally on climate action outside Leinster House. The rally was to show support for a hearing which will see the Irish Government taken to court, which organisers say is a result of their “failing to act on climate change”.
Ralliers gathered outside of Leinster House yesterday evening at 4pm showing placards illustrating their support for the court case. The rally saw around 300 attendees, with various speakers addressing the crowd.
The rally heard from speakers such as environmental campaigner John Gibbons, who spoke alongside his daughter Sophie at the rally. They addressed their concerns about climate change, and said that people think “we have all the time in the world” to solve a problem which we constantly “push to the side”. They also encouraged that while people focus on their studies, they also focus this energy on saving the environment.
The event was also addressed by a Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) speaker. They noted that climate change is “at the bottom of most politicians’ agenda”. They warned of “extinction”, with a new economic model and approach required to avoid this. They also called for “imperative radical change”. They finished by encouraging young people to become involved in combating climate change.
USI President Síona Cahill also addressed the rally, and commended its high attendance. She said she was “not prepared” to let the government away with it any more. She also commended Trinity’s fossil fuel campaign, and “other unreal work” going on across campuses in Ireland. She stated that “the student movement is committed” to climate action.
Climate Case Ireland have seen a petition for support started prior to the rally receive over 10,000 signatures. Those signing the petition are declaring that the court hearing is being taken “in my name”. The case will come before the courts on 22 January, and is being taken by FIE.
This is the first case of its kind taken in Ireland, with organisers noting that “citizens are seeking to hold their government accountable for its role in knowingly contributing to dangerous levels of climate change”.
They also claim that the government’s approval of the National Mitigation Plan 2017 “was in violation of Ireland’s Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015, the Constitution, and human rights obligations”. They conclude by saying that “the plan falls far short of the steps required by the Paris Agreement on climate change”.
FIE’s website goes further, and notes that “climate change is a threat to all of us, yet the Irish Government’s climate policy is weak and unambitious”. They also point out that Ireland’s carbon emissions are “among the highest per capita in the EU”.
The event was also addressed by an FEI speaker. They noted that climate change is “at the bottom of most politician’s agenda”. They warned of “extinction”, with a new economic model and approach required to avoid this. They also called for “imperative radical change”. They finished by encouraging young people to become involved in combating climate change.