Despite the devastating problems and hardships that Covid-19 has been causing us for nearly a year, this pandemic is not the biggest challenge humanity must face. Climate change remains the most enormous threat to our civilisation globally, and we must act as one to tackle it and to prevent irreversible damage to our planet. In the last couple of decades, modern industrialisation and free market economics initiated and generated mass production on a large scale worldwide. This proved to be beneficial for the world economy, but problematic and damaging for the environment.
Major Environmental Issues
Due to the tremendous amount of CO2 emissions worldwide, global warming has been causing a significant increase in temperature, ice melting, and a rise in sea levels.
Air pollution refers to air pollutants like smog, soot, or greenhouse gases that come from energy use and are deleterious to the environment and to our health. It is one of the biggest environmental problems globally, and it is present in most cities and towns that are inhabited by large numbers of people.
The next one is definitely linked to air pollution, trees not only absorb carbon dioxide but greenhouse gases too, which are among the major contributing factors to global warming. Deforestation is caused by many different human activities, for instance, farming, grazing of livestock, mining, drilling, and logging operations.
The more trees that are cut, the less chance we have to reduce CO2 emissions. Furthermore, deforestation is also devastating for biodiversity, and extremely harmful for all kinds of species that are dependent on the healthy condition of forests.
European Green Deal to Tackle Climate Change
After the Paris Climate Accord was signed in December 2015, the EU introduced the European Green Deal Investment Plan in 2020 to reach the EU’s climate change targets, as also set out in the 2030 Climate Target Plan. The bloc plans to mobilise over €1 trillion to reform the energy and infrastructure sectors and make the economy of the EU sustainable and eco-friendly going forward.
Ireland and its Policies to Fight Climate Change
The Emerald Isle’s Climate Action Plan was made and introduced in 2019, it includes over 180 actions that are aimed at putting Ireland back on track to addressing environmental issues. This is a vital step, but it is also stated that the action plan will only be successful if the recommended policies and actions are made on time. This is a race against time and the clock is ticking fast.
The 2019 Climate Action Plan is strongly connected to the EU’s National Energy and Climate Plan. Ireland was asked by the European Commission to consider a number of investments and reforms that are going to assist in meeting its climate change targets for 2030 and 2050.
These include measures to modernise and renovate existing buildings, including social housing. Further recommendations include investments in renewable energy and initiatives to support a shift towards sustainable modes of transport. In addition, further regulations will be introduced to address deforestation and to protect wildlife.
Ireland is to receive roughly €13.3 billion from the European Union between 2021 and 2027 to help make the economic transition happen.
Fortunately, surveys also show that protecting the environment is important to 93% of Irish citizens and they recognise climate change as one of the biggest challenges facing the EU.
There are issues in this world and most of them are generated by us, human beings. This is the truth. The sooner we realise it, the sooner we can act. I feel optimistic and believe that if all the planned, above-mentioned measures and actions are taken by the Member States of the EU, this will likely lead to positive and significant changes.
Erasing all the damage we have done to our oceans, soils, to the plants and animals seems to be naive and maybe impossible, yet learning from our mistakes can and must be done. This is the way to make things right and take our first steps towards a better world.