Taoiseach Micheál Martin has told the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow that "if we act decisively now, we will offer humanity the most valuable prize of all - a liveable planet".

He said those in the developed world have contributed most to the problems that confront everyone, and they have an obligation to support those who are most acutely challenged by their consequences.

"Ireland accepts that obligation," he said.

"In support of achieving the $100bn target, I am therefore pleased to announce today that Ireland will more than double its contribution to developing countries, so that we are delivering at least €225m a year by 2025.

"As leaders, if we are to bring people with us on this journey of a lifetime we must also recognise and respect the real anxiety that many people feel when confronted by such an enormous challenge."

Mr Martin said it is "vital" that leaders attending COP26 "offer the leadership the world now urgently needs".

He said climate change is real and they are seeing its serious impacts already.

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"The IPCC Report in August confirmed to us that it is widespread, it is rapid, and it is intensifying," he said.

"The scale of this change is unprecedented, but, as the report made clear, it is not too late.

"Human actions still have the potential to determine the future course of climate, the very future of our planet."

Mr Martin said that to achieve their Paris goals, immediate, large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are essential, and unless action is taken now, they will not keep the possibility of limiting warming to 1.5C degrees alive.

He said scientists are playing their part in helping them to understand the dynamics of climate change, and in developing the technologies and responses needed to limit its effect.

"As political leaders, it is our responsibility to put the necessary policies in place," he said.

He added: "Ireland is ready to play its part."

The Taoiseach said Ireland has enacted legislation to put a legally binding target of reducing emissions by 2030 to 51% below 2018 levels. The country will reach climate neutrality by 2050, he said.

Ireland is working closely with its EU partners in the green transition that will make Europe the first climate-neutral continent, he told the summit.

He said they are implementing a statutory system of carbon budgeting and emissions ceilings for each sector of the economy, and they are working at the UN Security Council to put the destabilising impacts of climate change firmly on the agenda.

He said they do not believe or accept that it is too late or too costly, or that it is inevitable that some people will be left behind or someone else should "shoulder the load".

"We believe in the immense capacity of humans to work together and to achieve great things," Mr Martin said.

"If we act decisively now, we will offer humanity the most valuable prize of all – a liveable planet."

Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland earlier, the Taoiseach said Ireland has an opportunity to work with the farming sector to make sure there is a sustainable future for young farmers, but that everyone must also deal with the realities of climate change and "how much the land can take".

"We have no choice here. The climate change will catch up with us. It will catch up with our farming. It will catch up with our agriculture if we don't take action," he said.

Mr Martin said he believed there needs to be a switch to giving income to farmers to protect biodiversity that will enable them to grow native tree species and clean waterways.

He said he did not accept reports in the Irish Farmers Journal that emission cuts of 21% could result in the loss of 10,000 jobs and warned against "scaremongering".

There have been many headlines over the last number of weeks that are creating the impression that these goals are outlandish, he said, but "we have no choice here".

He warned that failure to take action on climate change will result in climate change undermining Ireland's economic viability, given the impact that weather events such as storms have on economic life.

The Government's climate action plan, he said, will contain specific sector by sector details outlining the measures needed to be taken over the next decade in order to achieve the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030, and to go climate neutral by 2050.

Mr Martin said he expects the Cabinet sub-committee will give the plan the green light tomorrow, adding "no sector will escape and it will be very challenging".

He admitted that Ireland has missed targets in the past, but said the passing of the climate law means legal imperatives have been set that this Government and future governments must achieve.

Pursuing the unpopular carbon tax approach disincentives the use of fossil fuels but also gives the Government funding for schemes, such as retro fitting of homes and more environmentally farming, he said.

The Taoiseach said reports that Ireland is on track to increase its emissions this year could be true and said many of the steps that will be taken soon will not have an impact until the latter half of the next decade.

He said there needs to be buy-in from the general public and the Government needs to do more in terms of communicating the message.

He added that young people are "absolutely committed to this" and should be "our inspiration".

In different sectors of the economy "we must engage more about the reality of this" and the need to take this action, he warned.

This will take an educational process and working with people to bring them around, Mr Martin added.

Temperature increased in Ireland by 1C in 120 years

Earlier, a senior climatologist with Met Éireann said that data gathered from weather stations shows that over the last 120 years the temperature in Ireland has increased by about one degree.

Also speaking on Morning Ireland, Keith Lambkin said the forecaster is working with its partners to use climate information to help to climate-proof infrastructure given the impact of rising temperatures.

He said all sectors have to make important climate decisions in areas, including flood defences, drainage, tree-planting and Met Éireann is helping to ensure that infrastructure that is built is fit for purpose.

Mr Lambkin said the data taken from its flagship weather station at Valentia is "priceless" as it has been recording weather signals since 1860.

He said this will continue into the future and the World Meteorological Organization has launched initiatives at COP26 to have more stations like Valentia Observatory in parts of Africa and in island states.

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