The Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice recently made a submission to the Citizens’ Assembly on the topic “Making Ireland a Leader in Tackling Climate Change”.
Climate change presents the biggest threat to human progress, well-being and security, and to the overall health and diversity of planetary ecosystems. Citizen organisations, representative groups and members of the public were urged to make submissions on the topic, providing a significant opportunity to organisations like the Jesuit Centre to send a message to the Government that there is now a strong moral imperative to act.
The Centre’s submission outlined the seriousness of climate change and the urgency of action by referring to the ongoing work of the Irish Jesuit Missions and the Jesuit Refugee Service in areas of East Africa where changing climatic conditions are currently fuelling a widespread humanitarian crisis.
It also emphasised that considerable political leadership is required if the State is to, at least, make its fair share of the global effort and address the implementation gap that currently undermines Ireland’s reputation on climate policy. What is required is cross-departmental planning and delivery, comprehensive and consistent polices informed by a target-driven carbon budget framework, and alignment with how taxpayers’ money is spent with the overall objective of preventing dangerous climate change.
In the submission, the State was urged to implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, and ensure that the necessary technical and advisory infrastructure is in place. The Centre advocated for an increase of financial support to the Green Climate Fund – an international fund which provides a mechanism for developing countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to changing climatic impacts. The need for a social approach to climate action, otherwise known as a ‘just transition’, was recommended – this would involve the Government ensuring that the distributional equity and wider social impacts of the transition to a low carbon society are addressed.
It was suggested that the Government adopt an integral ecology approach to climate policy; implementing mitigation measures that are supported by interventions to meet the needs of communities affected by the shift towards a low carbon economy. An ecological approach was also emphasised. At the centre of climate action must be the promotion of a healthy ecology, conserving ecological sustainability and diversity in line with Ireland’s other environmental obligations. Finally, the submission recommended that strong leadership be delivered to ensure an effective National Dialogue on Climate Action. The full document can be read here
As an active member of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, the Centre also contributed to a submission by the coalition and the Environmental Pillar. Overall, more than 1,200 submissions on climate change were received, including those from a number of religious organisations such as the Association of Leaders of Missionaries and Religious of Ireland (AMRI), EcoCongregation Ireland, and the Council for Justice and Peace.
All submissions are available for viewing here
The Assembly will convene to discuss the topic on the weekends of September 30th and October 4th, 2017, during which members will hear presentations from experts and civil society groups. The submissions will help the Assembly to develop a work programme on the topic and will inform the final recommendations made to the Houses of the Oireachtas.