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Gavin Harte - Climate Change

Monday, 30 November 2009

Press release from Gavin Harte:

"Human Wave expected to hit Dublin on Saturday the 5th of December

Recent flooding events show clear need for Global Action on climate change

The Stop Climate Chaos coalition are organising The Wave, a mass demonstration demanding action on climate change on Saturday the 5th of December in Dublin's city centre linking up with simultaneous actions in Paris, London, Glasgow, Belfast, Brussels and Berlin ahead of the crucial global climate summit in Copenhagen next month.
Gavin Harte and spokesperson for Stop Climate Chaos said "It is difficult to attribute any one event to climate change but what's clear is that events like the terrible flooding we are having around the country fits the pattern of what the science predicts.

The unprecedented flooding we are currently seeing is likely to become more and more frequent if we don't act. Therefore its imperative that we join together on the 5th December and demand a safe, low carbon future for all of us."

Stop Climate Chaos are looking for thousands of people to form a Wave as it surges from the Department of the Environment at Custom House Quay to "crash" against the Department of the Taoiseach on Merrion Row. The action taking place at 12 noon on the 5th of December, it will be colourful and powerful, with participants wearing blue to represent the upsurge of public opinion for a fair and safe global deal in Copenhagen".

Gavin Harte

. Gavin Harte works for himself and is an Independent sustainable development consultant. I give advice on Climate change and planning on energy efficiencies in their homes.
. He reduces his carbon footprint by being a vegetarian and cycles everywhere he can.
. He graduated from UCC in 1986 with an electrical engineering degree.
. He appeared in the RTE series Across the Line - where he traveled around the world on a minimal budget.
. He was also a musician - but his music career failed to ignite the charts.

What is Climate Change?
In basic lay man's term Climate Change is as a result of all of our activity and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a gas that holds heat and as we add more of it into the atmosphere our atmosphere is getting hotter so our planet is getting warmer.

What do you say to those people that say Climate Change is a myth?
They are completely wrong.

How do we know that our use of energy is resulting climate change?
There basic science to this - carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse gas happens to be in coal, oil and gas - when you burn it carbon dioxide is released. When you put more of it into the atmosphere it holds more heat. The connection between fossil fuel and carbon dioxide was a puzzle 100 years ago so we have known about it for a very long time.

What can we do to make changes?
We really need to drastically reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in to the air. What we are seeing now in Copenhagen the big international conference where the world leaders are coming together to come to some sort of agreements. They have proposed 40% reduction. That would be a huge change. We would be using a lot less fuel, more renewable energy, traveling in different ways and eating different food. It will really bring changes to our life if this happens.

What are your tips to the average person?
We all have to do this together. It's not about turning off your mobile phone, turning off your TV - they are all important but they are no means anywhere near where we need to be going. We need to be using a lot less energy in our homes, we need to be insulating our homes, we need to be getting out on our bicycles and eating fresh local foods. These are the things we need to look at.

What is Ireland doing wrong?
By not reducing our carbon admissions. We were given an allocation but we have gone over it by 25%. So Ireland has gone in completely the wrong direction. We are in the top 10 carbon admitters in the world. Our government hasn't given us a huge amount of direction.

Is it too late to change?
Some scientists are saying that the extreme weather that we have seen in the last few weeks are real worrying signs. It's almost an unanswerable question. I think we know it's dangerous and it's not the right thing to do but that we need to make changes as soon as possible and if we continue the way we are going - yes it will be too late.

We should not hide and hope it will go away - we need to become engaged and a part of this change. It should be exciting as we are the first generation to be faced with this difficulty let's make it a challenge to all of us.

Is the recent flooding a direct result of climate change?
Scientists would say that they can't make a direct correlation but what we are seeing in extreme weather is evidence to suggest to that it is closely linked to what climate change is predicting. It is happening much more frequently. So the computer models are predicting this type of weather. In my opinion - yes it probably is a result of climate change.

In the 1980's scientists did predict that extreme weather will be a result of more and more carbon dioxide.

Do you think the government is to blame for letting developers build on floodplains?
I think this is a related issue. I come from one of the towns really badly hit by the floods -Bandon in Cork. I used to play on a field that they used to call a bog and now has a supermarket on it. NO one build anything on the bogs as everyone knew they would get flooded. What we saw was everything getting washed through the supermarket. A friend of mine has 2 feet of water in his house. No one has ever seen the likes of it. It's the worst flood in 800 years.

What areas do you see being under threat?
Climate change will have effects across everything. We have already saw new species coming into Ireland - birds and insects as our temperatures have warmed up and some species have left because it's too warm.

It also has huge effects on health. We say heat waves across Europe that caused deaths. We are also seeing agricultural impact - a lot more difficulty in keeping animals on the land and predicting weather for their crops. Really it is affecting everything. As it bits more we may see people actually move more northwards.

In Ireland - it is possible that we may see more floods in the next year or two. If this happens we may have to ask ourselves should people be living in these areas?
Irishtown and Ringsend may be affected by sea level rises in the future. We also have huge industry down there. Even today there is talk of building a huge incinerator - which we may have to ask ourselves is that a good idea spending millions when it could have trouble keeping the sea out.

What would you ask the government to do?
We now need to consider it in any policy we are making. Let's think of big national infrastructure down in Ringsend - we need to make sure it's climate proofed - Shannon Airport is also very vulnerable. It might not be a good idea to extend the runways without thinking of climate change first.

It's looking at things in a different way. We need to climate proof things.

Tell me about the human wave you are organising?
It's a really interesting coalition. We have Concern, Trocaire, Friends of the Earth and 30 other organizations involved. They all see the common link in the climate change story. Developing worlds will suffer the most from climate change so we need to make sure that they also get a safe deal. We are trying to rally people about this issue. We are urging people to come to Dublin on the 5th of December - the start of the Copenhagen conference and wear blue and make noise. We want them to wear blue and make noise and to really create a wave of energy. We are meeting at the custom house in Dublin and then we will move on to the Taoiseach's office and we want to raise the voice for a fair and safe climate deal in Copenhagen and for Ireland to play its part.