At the Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action this week, ahead of COP27, the Committee heard powerful testimony from NGO's and activists working for climate justice ahead. The Committee were reminded of the stark reality by activist Elizabeth Wathuti who told us that "We are witnessing devastating Loss & Damage right now. From the devastating flooding across West and Central Africa; to the prolonged drought across the horn of Africa that has seen five consecutive rainy seasons fail."
NGOs highlighted the need for a number of policy measures to ensure that principles of climate justice are reflected in our global effort. A proper loss and damage facility, Ireland following Denmark's lead and beginning to make loss and damage payments as an individual country, proper climate finance and a fossil-fuel non-proliferation treaty are some of the key policy measures we were told are fundamental to climate justice.
When officials from the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications came in, I specifically, asked them to ensure Ireland's support for a loss and damage facility for Global South countries and begin making payments as an individual country, I sought clarification that both loss and damage and climate finance measures would be additional to existing aid commitments and pushed for information on how Ireland intends to meet the 30% by 2030 methane pledge made at COP26.
I also sought a commitment that Ireland would support the inclusion of human rights in negotiated texts and a commitment that Ireland would sign the Declaration on Children, Youth and Climate Action.
Those who are already suffering the worst effects of the climate crisis and who have done the least to cause it, have been consistently let down by wealthy countries. Ireland must fight for climate justice at COP27.