Relentless Implementation Needed To Combat Climate Extremes

Relentless implementation of policy needed to combat effects of climate extremes.

“We have, by any measure, experienced an extraordinary year where nature reminded us who is in charge. With our changing climate, the confident predictions are that we can expect extreme events at greater frequency into the future”, said Laura Burke, Director General of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), speaking at the annual ‘Environment Ireland’ conference.

Ms Laura Burke was reflecting on how weather events in the last twelve months – from storms and an ex-hurricane to a prolonged drought and heat wave – severely tested the resilience of Ireland’s infrastructure, economy, health-care services as well as people’s well-being.

“This last year has been a turning point in the minds of the public and sectors about what we need to do to build and assure resilience. Mitigation is essential, adaptation is necessary, anything less is unsustainable, indeed, irresponsible.”

Ms Burke welcomed the advancement of the National Mitigation Plan and National Adaptation Framework while highlighted that it is now a priority to ensure committed, coherent and relentless implementation of plans and policy measures to meet national and international commitments, thus ensuring the well-being of society; the stability of the economy, and the safeguarding of the environment.

“The systemic nature of the climate challenge emphasises the need to deliver enduring, integrated, all-of-government structures with clear responsibility and accountability. We need to move from a focus on achieving compliance with international commitments to driving the transformational change that is urgently needed across our entire economy and society; so as to deliver on Ireland’s ambition to be a leader in tackling climate change and in doing so protect our health and well being”, stated Ms Burke.

Laura Burke reminded delegates that, for Ireland to grow sustainably, it is essential to safeguard and rigorously implement all areas of environmental policy and to remind every individual of the role they play.

She continued; “The strong growth in our economy and in our population brings with it pressures on how we deal with land, water supply, sewage treatment, raw materials supply and waste management. We must not repeat the mistakes of our past. Implementation challenges remain at national, regional and at societal level,however people can make changes by adhering to regulations and dealing with matters such as litter, waste prevention, water use, use of smoky coal, septic tank management and conspicuous consumerism, all of which impact on our health, the quality of our environment and sustainability of resources use.”

“Our environment, quite literally, sustains us and we all have a role to play in its protection”, Ms Burke concluded.


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