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Minister Creed's remarks at IPCC Climate change event, 5 September 2018

Speaking points for the Minister at the Reception marking the hosting of Ireland of the lead author meeting for the:
IPCC Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems  (Climate Change and Land)
on Wednesday 5 September 2018

Speaking Points:


  • I am very happy to be back here in the Thinking Houseto host this reception together with Bord Bia and Teagasc on this important occasion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) lead author meeting for the Special Report on Climate Change and Land. This meeting is an important stage in the progress of this Special Report and it is a privilege for Ireland to host the IPCC. It does not seem like a year and half has passed since we last gathered in this building. 
  • It is, however, quite appropriate that this event should be held now when the weather events of this year in which we saw snow in spring, followed by a long spell of high temperatures leading to drought conditions this summer, are foremost in our minds. These conditions were difficult for our farming community and gave an indication as to what things might be like in the Ireland of the future should we fail to tackle the pressing climate change issue.
  • It is very important that our agricultural sector is capable of coping with these types of conditions and is resilient and adaptive to the outcomes of climate change while at the same time addressing emissions.
  • We must look to the long term in formulating policies that will address the twin challenges of climate change and the global increase in demand for food. 
  • Ø It is vital that we continue to produce food sustainably. Our grass-fed, low carbon model of livestock production here in Ireland places us at an advantage compared to other livestock producing nations and with the right approach to sustainable agri-food and the right mitigation techniques, we can approach our responsibilities to climate change in a very positive and effective way.
  • Ø In an area of science that is constantly evolving it is so important that we are cognisant of the different perspectives and the latest thinking as it emerges. It is here that the IPCC play such a central role in ensuring that governments have access to precise, impartial, policy relevant science upon which to make long-term policy decisions.
  • With an internationally recognised reputation as being the leading body for the assessment of climate change the IPCC is well placed to take on this task.
  • Indeed, over the decades since the first Assessment Report was published back in 1990, the IPCC has provided comprehensive scientific reports about climate change internationally. I commend you on responding to the need for information on scientific and technical matters from governments and international organisations and for producing topic relevant Special Reports. 
  • The Report that you are here to discuss this week is of particular importance as I think you would all agree the role that land will play in future climate change issues is increasing and that this is a very uncertain and challenging area to address.
  • It is fortunate in that there is a great many scientists from across the globe involved in drafting this report.  The fact that so many eminent persons give of their time and expertise freely is laudable, and demonstrates the helpfulness and generosity of the scientific community worldwide. Without your assistance, this essential work could not be carried out.
  • We are very aware of the challenges facing us here in Ireland regarding mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The extent of the challenge to reduce GHG emissions is clearly understood by the Irish Government.  It is important that every element in our society and economy plays its part in addressing the climate change challenges that we face. This most obviously includes the agricultural sector, given its important position as Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and the fact that a third of Irish GHG emissions come from this sector.
  • At a national level we are taking a whole of Government approach to climate policy.  Our long term policy vision is an approach to carbon neutrality which does not compromise the capacity for sustainable food production.
  • With this in mind, Ireland is endeavouring to integrate all our environmental challenges, so that each area is not examined on its own. Consultation and input from various stakeholders is very important as it helps to embed ownership and responsibility in the challenges ahead.
  • In June of this year my Department hosted an Environmental Sustainability Dialogue to highlight the challenges facing the agricultural sector regarding GHG emissions and opening a dialogue on finding likely future additional mitigation and abatement measures to apply.
  • I am happy to acknowledge the part that Ireland has played through supporting the IPCC by hosting a preliminary workshop in 2015 and the IPCC scoping meeting in 2017, the latter at which the terms of reference for this report were agreed.  
  • To conclude, I would like to thank you for the work that you have completed to date. 
  • I understand that this is one of three Special Reports being undertaken as part of the 6th assessment cycle which will culminate in a 6th assessment report expected in 2022 in time for the first global stock take in 2023. 
  • I have no doubt that this Report will also play an important role in feeding into the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture agreed at COP 23, which was a major step forward recognising the role of agriculture in tackling climate change and achieving the ambitions of the Paris Climate Agreement .
  • I wish you every success and in particular I look forward to the publication of the final report on Climate Change and Land due next year.