Twenty-nine leading Irish academics have published an open letter to all political parties and election candidates calling for decisive commitments on climate action.

They also called for the creation of a sustained citizen-led national discourse on the issue.

The letter highlights a temptation among politicians to minimise the climate challenge and tacitly suggest that hard choices might still be postponed, and for politicians to opt instead for incremental cosmetic changes.

The academics, who are drawn from all seven Irish universities, are urging politicians to begin a national process of profound non-party, national re-determination to be known as the Citizen's Convention on a Post Carbon Ireland.
 

Speaking on their behalf, Professor John Sweeney of Maynooth University said that every other national issue now pales into insignificance compared to the climate challenge we face.

He said a convention will allow the sustained, citizen-led, engagement that is now essential to unite all of society in embracing and designing a critically urgent transition to a secure, just, democratic and authentically sustainable post-carbon world.

The letter states that the process must engage and challenge the public, in a sustained, iterative series of major events and activities.

It should be accessible to every community in the country and it should consider the range and nature of the challenges we face, and seek to advance policies commensurate with them.

The letter concludes that in the aftermath of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change agreed between more than 190 governments in December doing "our best" is no longer good enough in relation to climate change.

It said that it is finally time to do what is necessary.

The academics say that the recent storms and flooding in Ireland should bring home to all the immediate, unpredictable and severely disruptive impacts of climate change.

They also warned that such impacts are likely to grow progressively more severe in the decades immediately ahead.

They have set up an online petition for individual citizens and organizations to endorse the call.

The details and the full text of the letter as well as the names of all 29 academic signatories are available on postcarbonireland.org