Members of MKO Environmental team attended the Environment Ireland conference in Croke Park, Dublin on the 4th and 5th October 2022.
The conference included focused sessions on climate, biodiversity, sustainability, circular economy and resource management, public health and the environment, water and planning and the environment.
The conference had a strong focus on the impact of the climate emergency on the health of people. International speakers covered topics which included a discussion around hotspots of high vulnerability, the loss of human habitat, climate change and increasing temperatures and heat stress.
The conference was opened with a presentation by Hans Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair IPCC Working Group II on the Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability of Climate Change. The message delivered by Hans was crystal clear in that the time for action was now. He also highlighted the significant potential for mitigation co-benefits, bringing together two of the key themes of the conference: the biodiversity crisis and the climate crisis.
Johannes Klumpers of the European Commission spoke on adaptation to climate change and the EU Missions Adaptation Project which focuses on supporting EU regions, cities and local authorities in their efforts to build resilience against the impacts of climate change. This was pretty much in line with the opening talks by Hans Otto Portner.
Brian MacSharry of the European Environment Agency spoke about tackling the Biodiversity Crisis, the scale of the problem and the policies to address the problem. Brian noted that one of the key tools being developed to transform the state of biodiversity in the EU is the Nature Restoration Law which is likely to come into force in 2024.
Patrick Paul Walsh of the United Nations Social Development Network spoke on achieving the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) on an EU and national Level. He focused on three key areas that need to come together in order to achieve the SDGs: Education; Data; and Institutional Reform. This was corroborated from the business level perspective by Andrea Carroll who presented on her experience as Head of Sustainability for the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA), adding further detail on the requirement for baseline data and monitoring programmes, and Transformational Change.
Aleksandra Klenke of the European Commission provided an EU perspective on the decarbonisation of transport at a policy level referencing the various frameworks and initiatives for sustainable and smart mobility. Once such framework is the EU Urban Mobility Framework which presents measures for EU cities to develop climate resilient and emission-free transport systems in order to achieve EU’s 2050 targets.
Minister Eamon Ryan TD spoke broadly about the action required to tackle climate change with a focus on the next 3 years. The Minister also spoke of the forthcoming National Land Use review and its role in the climate conversation.
A number of speakers spoke of the importance in regard to community engagement and the role of individuals in tackling the climate crisis and being the first responders. This was referenced in particular by speakers who shared information about community projects in coastal areas, public realm projects and the need to support community engagement in helping to manage local waters.
The conference programme can be viewed at the Website Link: https://www.environmentireland.ie/conference/
The MKO Environmental team are happy to discuss any of your Environmental queries. Please contact Eoin O’Sullivan or Owen Cahill at MKO.