Climate Strike Photo: Kayle Crosson

Big week ahead for Irish climate movement

September 13th, 2019

The global climate movement is expected to face a week of reenergized civil disobedience, insurgency and hope next week, and the Irish climate campaigners are warming up. 

From judgment day for the Government in the landmark Climate Case Ireland to the global school strike next Friday, green anticipation is running through the veins of Irish climate campaigners. 

Here are some of the highlights to keep an eye out for over the coming weeks.

Climate Case Ireland team addressing media at the High Court Photo: Niall Sargent
Climate Case Ireland team addressing media at the High Court Photo: Niall Sargent

Judgment day for the State

On September 19, the High Court is scheduled to issue a decision on a landmark case brought against the State by Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) in a bid to hold it to account for its underwhelming policy aims in its climate mitigation plan released in 2017.

In late 2017, FIE obtained leave for judicial review of the plan, arguing on the basis that it was inconsistent with our national, EU and international obligations.

The Plan outlines a goal to achieve a climate-resilient economy by mid-century with an 80 per cent reduction in emissions by 2050 compared to 1990 levels across various sectors, including agriculture and transport.

FIE argue, however, that that the State’s plan does not do enough to reach this target or the EU’s legally imposed target of 20 per cent reduction by 2020 from 2005 levels. The group wants to see the plan quashed and sent back to the Government for remaking in accordance with the law.

The case was last heard in January, and the final countdown for judgment day has already begun. Activists at FIE have called on concerned citizens to join them for the delivery of the decision at 1pm on the Quays by the Four Courts next Thursday. 

Missing class for climate

On September 20, thousands of young people in Ireland and around the world are expected to walk out of their classrooms and take to the streets to voice their demands for immediate climate action. 

In Ireland, rallies will take place in numerous locations across the country including Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Tralee, and Dundalk.

Inspired by the world’s youngest pioneering climate campaigner, Greta Thunberg, young campaigners have called on all concerned citizens to join them. 

Fridays for Future, one of the organising group behind the youth climate uprising in Ireland, said that while the movement will remain youth-led they “really want adults to get behind us and support the climate movement at this strike”. 

As Greta put it: “We need everyone to change everything.” 

Additionally, adults across Ireland have volunteered to host 60 local support groups in their communities and workplaces for people who can’t be present at the upcoming rally.

“We had a great response to our call for people to organise local actions in support of the school strikes, and our volunteers are ready to help anyone who wants to get involved in their community or workplace,” Áine O’Gorman, an activism support coordinator at Stop Climate Chaos Coalition said.

Ms O’Gorman said that she was hoping to see schools and workplaces empty streets brimming with protestors on September 20. 

Greta THUNBERG, Swedish climate activist Photo: European Union / DAINA LE LARDIC
Greta THUNBERG, Swedish climate activist Photo: European Union / DAINA LE LARDIC

UN Climate Summit

Earlier in August, Greta Thunberg set sail on a racing yacht headed to New York to arrive in time to attend the  highly anticipated UN Climate Summit starting on September 23. 

Greta is slated to speak at a youth meeting on September 21 with another speech scheduled for the main summit on 23 September.

The next round of UN-sponsored climate discussions will materialise in Chile in December in which Ms Thunberg is also going to deliver a speech. 

Both meetings are attended by world leaders who are signatories to the Paris Climate Agreement under which they are obliged to take actions that will keep global temperatures from rising to catastrophic levels. 

The upcoming meeting is another attempt to convince Government officials to take drastic measures to change that. 

“This is a big opportunity for those world leaders who say they’ve been listening to us to actually show that they’ve been listening to us, to actually prove that,” Ms Thunberg said.

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