A global temperature rise of more than 2°C will have “critical consequences for agriculture and health” according to Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, who was responding to the publication of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Climate Change 2021: the Physical Science Basis saw hundreds of scientists review more than 1,400 studies to evaluate how human activity is impacting the Earth.

The report’s authors have called for immediate action to the “immediate threat” of climate change, which is already affecting every region on Earth, in multiple ways, it said.

“Today’s report by the IPCC is a stark reminder that we have limited time in which to act to prevent more devastating impacts,” said the minister.

“For Ireland and Europe the report predicts more intense heatwaves and increased flooding as temperatures rise. If global temperature rises by more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, there will be critical consequences for agriculture and health. 

“Here in Ireland we recently passed the Climate Act, which commits us to reaching net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 at the latest, and a cut of 51% by 2030 (compared to 2018 levels).

“We will, very shortly, publish the Climate Action Plan 2021, which will set out the measures we need to take to reach our 2030 targets, including more renewable energy, decreased transport emissions, changes in how we heat our homes and how we grow our food and look after our land.

“These steps will be challenging but they will also create new opportunities” he said.

Limiting climate change

The UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties – COP26 – in November will be a critical juncture, said Minister Ryan.

“We must also agree solutions to support the most vulnerable in the world who face unprecedented climate extremes. Today’s report makes it clear that failure to act will have devastating consequences, but it also offers hope.

“Strong and sustained reductions in emissions of C02 and other GHGs would limit climate change. We know what we have to do. We now need to harness a national and global effort to do it.”