As global leaders gather in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, for COP27 (the 27th annual United Nations Climate Change conference), activists across the globe have launched protests to highlight the threats posed by climate breakdown.
Last month, students of UCD’s Innovation Academy hosted a number of actions across campus to raise awareness, including art installations and the placement of posters.
The Global Carbon Project has found that fossil fuel related CO2 is on course to rise by 1% to 36.6bn tonnes, the highest emission levels ever documented in Earth’s atmosphere, as reported in The Guardian. As the burning of oil increases due to increased levels of post-pandemic air travel, greenhouse gas emissions accelerate the rate at which polar ice caps melt, thus spurring volatile changes to global weather systems. This represents an existential threat to the survival of life on Earth.
An Taoiseach, Micheál Martin, spoke at COP27, urging world leaders to extend solidarity to more vulnerable countries that are bearing the brunt of the crisis. An Taoiseach said, as reported in the Irish Examiner: “Climate change is fuelling conflict, global instability, competition for resources and abject human misery. (...) If this generation doesn’t step up urgently, future generations will not forgive us.” Martin continued, arguing: “The science is clear. Every tonne of carbon warms the world. Every delay makes our task that bit bigger. Let us not waste a second more.”
The conference has hosted 90 heads of state and delegates representing 190 countries. Many small countries, particularly Pacific islands, are disproportionately impacted by rising sea levels, changes to biodiversity, and devastation inflicted upon marine aquatic life. With this year seeing record high temperatures, and numerous global weather disasters, including extensive flooding in Pakistan, global leaders face international pressure to implement urgent policy changes.
For more information on climate and environmental issues, the UCD Earth Institute offers online resources explaining its role in tackling the climate crisis, promoting ecological sustainability, and innovation in the development of green technologies.