Updated 10 hours ago
TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said he supports the students that are protesting against climate change today.
Speaking ahead of his speech to the UN General Assembly in New York this afternoon, he said:
“I will be saying unequivocally that now is the time for action. Time for words is over. Every country in the world has to come to the table and take action that reduces the dangers of climate change.”
Climate change is here and it’s happening, he said.
“There’s evidence all over the world in terms of weather events, and so on. I support the young people. I say to young people, keep active on this,” he added.
The Taoiseach said activism is important on climate change, but added that the Irish government is going to do everything it can in terms of Ireland’s own climate laws.
“Notwithstanding the challenges we have to deal with it, at a European level we’re going to deal with it – it is that serious?” said the Taoiseach.
“It’s an existential threat. It’s the young people’s future. And we need our generation to lead, to do everything we can to pass on this world safely to our younger generations,” he added
His comments come as students across the country, both second and third level education, went on strike, calling on the Government to act on the climate crisis.
Students are protesting in Cork, Dublin and Galway over the lack of action by world leaders on climate change.
Fridays for Future Dublin have set out a number of demands including that the government creates a fossil-free future, a liveable city and a just society.
What do we want?
Just three things
👉A fossil free future
👉A liveable city
👉A just society pic.twitter.com/n85Ji0EhJ7
— Fridays For Future Dublin (@SchoolStrikesIE) September 22, 2021
Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, UCC Students’ Union Environmental and Sustainability Officer Alicia O’Sullivan said: “I’m demonstrating today because I think we need more climate action, not just in Ireland but globally and internationally, to support countries that maybe don’t have the money to have a just transition and to be able to really support people to transition to a greener future.”
Amy O’Brian, a climate activist with Friday’s for Future said “I’m here today in UCC because Friday’s for future has a Global Strike today, that means that people are striking all across the world, including in Cork in the city. UCC today are holding a pre-strike rally to get loads of people involved and to spread solidarity.”
The Dublin group held a rally from 1pm to 2pm outside the Department of the Taoiseach. At the same time, a group in Cork protested at Grand Parade and students in Galway gathered at Eyre Square.
“Our strike message is ‘Uproot the System’ and this strike hopes to highlight the systematic causes of the climate crisis.” Jessica Dunne, 17, one of the organisers, said in the lead up to the strike.
“We are fast approaching the deadline for genuine action,” 16-year-old Max Fulham said.
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“We need change that challenges how society operates, protects those who are most vulnerable, and brings us all forward to a better future. To achieve that, we need everyone, and we ask that everyone who can join us at the strike to create that change.”
The protests in Ireland are part of a global movement in which young people across the world are protesting to urge world leaders to do more to tackle the ongoing climate crisis.
The movement was inspired by Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunburg who began striking for climate action over two years ago.
The UN’s IPCC has said that global warming has caused an increase in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events.
The world has already warmed by about 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times due to human activity, and the UN IPCC has warned that this is likely to pass 1.5C between 2030 and 2052 if the increase continues at the current rate.
It is not only temperature that has changed: there have also been changes in rainfall, declines in snow and ice, and increases in sea level as the oceans heat up.
With reporting by Political Correspondent Christina Finn in New York