Prof. John Sweeney's Video on facing a Global Climate Emergency

26th July 2018

On July 24th 2018 The Irish Times hosted a video by Professor John Sweeney at

We recommend that you look at it - If your are unable, then a transcript is below.

Irish Times video title: Emeritus Professor of Geography in Maynooth University, John Sweeney, has said that climate extremes in the middle and high latitudes could indicate a ‘global climate emergency’ is on the horizon.

Transcript of the IT video interview with Prof. John Sweeney:

"What we have been experiencing in the past year has been a succession of extremes. We’ve had the ‘Beast from the East’ and now we’ve had probably the most severe drought and heat wave condition that we’ve had since 1976. What’s been most striking to me has been the extension of climate extremes into the middle and high latitudes and that’s a reflection of just how far north the jet stream has migrated this year. So we are getting the horrible floods and horrible heat waves in Japan where thousands of people have now been hospitalised. That is something that is really exceptional that far north.

We are facing, globally, a climate emergency, and that is not too strong a word.

So, what Ireland has to start doing now is taking climate change seriously in terms of making hard choices. We have to start increasing our renewable energy quite considerably and very quickly because we have huge resources there.

We have to start taking the hard choices in agriculture, which means we have to look seriously at the viability of our growing cattle herd. It has now come to that point where we have to stop growing the national herd, for the sake of our farmers to ensure that they have sustainability and that they have resilience to the climate shocks that lie ahead. And perhaps [in farming] changing the model. Changing the model away from volume to value. I think that is where Ireland agriculturally should be going.

But of course that is only one sector. We’ve all become very conscious in the past few weeks about using water, that is very tangible but it’s that kind of mentality that we now have to apply to other areas. Above all, we need leadership from Government to point us in the direction to incentivise us to do these things and to provide a clear pathway for Ireland’s future emissions, which at the moment is completely lacking.”