The world is one track for “really quite catastrophic” climate change, one of Ireland’s leading climatologists has warned.
The UN has published its annual Emissions Gap report, which states the planet could warm 3°C above pre-industrial levels this century unless aggressive action is taken by world leaders.
Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, climatologist John Sweeney said the findings are not a surprise.
“The ability that the world has to avoid those dangerous climate change tipping thresholds of 1.5 - 2°C [of warming above pre-industrial levels] is very, very quickly disappearing into the future,” he said.
“If we continue our current policy, we are facing a 3°C rise in temperature, which would be really quite catastrophic.”
This year, Ireland suffered both an absolute drought and the wettest July on record.
The report underlined the “rapid” change in the climate in recent years and Professor Sweeney said it is just the beginning.
“[It’s] merely a precursor to things which will be much worse,” he said.
COP28 begins next week in Dubai but Professor Sweeney said it’s likely to see more targets that Governments fail to achieve.
“Countries across the board have not delivered on their promises,” he said.
“It particularly says that it’s the wealthy countries that are really not making good on the promises they made.
“Maybe we are just unable to do the necessary things to change our lifestyle?”
To those who say Ireland is too small to make a difference, Professor Sweeney had a simple rebuttal.
“If we’re emitting 50% more than the EU average in terms of our own personal emissions, there’s no real moral right for us to point the finger,” he said.
“It’s a morally bankrupt argument which should be consigned to the litter bin at this stage.
Ireland has promised to generate 80% of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
Main image: A dead zebra in drought-stricken Namibia, Africa.