Climate Change

An Taisce Advocacy's work on Climate Change

An Taisce has several members attending CoP21 Paris - read their reports from the ground

An Taisce Council approved the formation of the Climate Change Committee (ATCC) in February 2014. Climate Change is also the theme of the current issue of the An Taisce magazine.

[An Taisce Annual Report 2015]Climate Change Committee

ATCC’s Mission:

To promote an Irish society-wide response to human-caused climate disruption which is:

  • commensurate with the scale and urgency of this unprecedented global challenge,
  • informed by the best available scientific understanding, and
  • consistent with local and global equity.

Strategic actions:

  • Develop a positive climate action communications strategy.
  • Promote the fundamental societal benefits of climate action.
  • Disseminate the “cumulative carbon budget” concept as an essential scientific basis for effective climate policy. This implies measures to ensure that the great bulk of remaining fossil fuel “resources” (oil, gas, coal, peat) are now left safely in the ground.
  • Seek directly to influence key actors in society (in politics, media, business, etc.) to support effective climate action.
  • Support grassroots/community engagement and responses to the challenge of “post-carbon” living.
  • Promote social and political activism in support of climate action.

Contribution to Consultations:

ATCC has contributed to a number of consultations over its first year, including:

The UN mandated Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finalised its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) during 2014. This further strengthened the climate scientists’ consensus that human-induced climate change is now threatening severe impacts across all societies and sectors of human activity; and that only radical and urgent global emissions reductions, combined with aggressive adaptation measures, can forestall the worst effects. Based on this most up-to-date scientific analysis, ATCC released a substantial report summarising the decisive role of cumulative carbon emissions in effective climate policy.

The proposed expansion of Irish dairy and beef production under the Food Harvest 2020 programme (with its consequent increase, rather than mitigation, of agricultural greenhouse emissions) is also of major ongoing concern. ATCC has been active in publicly critiquing the inconsistency with supposed national commitments to overall emissions rate reductions. This has included meeting directly with officials of the Department of Food, Agriculture and the Marine to present the An Taisce position.

The (long delayed) Low-Carbon and Climate Action Bill was finally introduced in the Dáil by Minister Alan Kelly in February 2015. The Bill falls far short of the level of ambition advocated by An Taisce and we continue to encourage material amendments before it is enacted. ATCC supported and participated in a day of action (Feb 10th 2015) in relation to the Bill. This included a contribution to a private briefing for Oireachtas members, direct lobbying, and participation in a public meeting. These events were all organised through the Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) coalition of NGOs.

The most recent UN Conference of the Parties (CoP-20) took place in December in Lima. Prof. John Sweeney (Ireland's leading climate scientist, and past President of An Taisce) attended as an observer on the Irish delegation. His timely and informative “letters from Lima” captured the ongoing atmosphere of the event, and the disappointing lack of ambition in the outcomes achieved. Attention now focuses on the negotiations to take place at CoP-21 in Paris in December 2015. All parties have clearly committed themselves to the need to finally achieve a binding and effective global agreement at that meeting. There are emerging plans for large scale civil society mobilisation in the build up to this meeting: An Taisce is actively co-ordinating with partners in Ireland and across Europe to maximise participation.

The Fossil Free divestment campaign promoted by has been supported by An Taisce through a letter issued to all Irish universities and churches urging them to divest from fossil fuels. The campaign has received the support of Mary Robinson and Bishop Desmond Tutu.

ATCC meets monthly (usually on the second Tuesday, in Tailors’ Hall, starting at 5.30pm). New volunteers to support the activity of the committee are always welcome. Please email if you are interested in becoming involved in this important work on behalf of An Taisce.