Losing hope, finding courage

People often ask me, how do climate activists “keep going” in the face of so much inaction and indifference? It’s a good question. In the Greek mythology, princess Cassandra was bestowed with the gift of being able to see the future, but she was cursed because her prophecies would always come to pass but no …

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Despite its faults, the COP is the only show in town

[This article with some small changes appeared in the Irish Times on Saturday 5th November 2022 https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/2022/11/05/climate-change-cop27-despite-its-faults-is-the-only-show-in-town/] Greta’s not going; neither is Prince Charles, China’s Xi Jinping nor India’s Narendra Modi. The red carpet at this year’s Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Egypt will be …

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Galway Ring Road decision marks a turning point in road construction in Ireland

[This article appeard in the Voices section of The Journal on the 17th of October 2022 as https://www.thejournal.ie/readme/galway-ring-road-5895409-Oct2022/] LAST FRIDAY, THE news broke that An Bord Pleanála was not going to oppose an order of the High Court quashing the controversial N6 Galway Ring Road. This came on the back of a High Court action taken by …

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It’s not too late to learn from Denmark

[This article appeared in the Irish Times on the 22nd of September 2022 as https://www.irishtimes.com/environment/climate-crisis/2022/09/22/wind-energy-its-not-too-late-to-learn-from-denmark/] We tend to think of the modern wind turbine as a recent invention. In fact, it dates to the late 1890s. The Danish physicist and inventor Poul La Cour invented the basic turbine technology to generate electricity. His 1903 windmill …

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Crisis – what crisis?

[This article appeared in the Irish Times on the 25th of August 2022 as https://www.irishtimes.com/science/2022/08/25/what-can-we-learn-from-covid-about-responding-to-the-energy-and-climate-crisis/] On the 9th of May 2019, the Dáil declared a climate and biodiversity emergency. The declaration was hastily voted on with just 6 TDs present in the Dáil with Green Party TD Eamon Ryan observing “we have declared a climate …

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Offsetting is a dangerous fantasy

[Published in the Irish Times on Thursday July 28th 2022] Imagine paying someone to queue for you. Believe it or not, this is not a hypothetical scenario. In some US states voting centre hours are so limited people have to queue for long periods before they can cast their ballots. So, some enterprising folk offer …

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‘A parental responsibility’: Ireland needs an ombudsman for the future

Imagine a world where we managed to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees by ending our reliance on fossil fuels completely by the mid-2030s. We invest heavily in renewables and interconnections, and our energy needs including heating and transport are met via carbon-free electricity. High-carbon lifestyles are no longer socially acceptable. We now live in …

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