Category Archives: Irish Focus

Postings with a specific Irish angle

Bringing the climate emergency to book

When this blog first when live in late November 2007, the world was a quite different place.  That year, global CO2 levels, as recorded at Mauna Loa, had reached an all-time high of 384 parts per million (ppm). Since then, … Continue reading

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Silent killers of the biosphere revealed

I ran this article in the Irish Examiner in early October to mark and honour the 60th anniversary of the publication of ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson, the book that was arguably the foundation event for the modern environmental movement. Vilified … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Biodiversity, Global Warming, Irish Focus | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sorting scientific fact from fiction on climate

Seeking out and clinging to reassuring myths as an antidote to the often frightening realities around the climate emergency is a surprisingly common reaction among the public, and even persists amid the all-too-obvious signs of climate breakdown happening in real … Continue reading

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Coming up short on fanciful sectoral emissions goals

As the controversial sectoral budgets for Ireland were published, the Irish Examiner asked for my take on how they measured up, particularly the ultra-low 25% target assigned to Ireland’s largest polluting industry. This piece ran at the start of August. … Continue reading

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Shadow of war throws new focus on nuclear energy

One source of near-zero carbon for energy production that is often overlooked and excluded from serious consideration is that of nuclear energy. In ordinary circumstances this might be understandable, but in a dire climate emergency, I find it baffling that … Continue reading

Posted in Energy, Global Warming, Irish Focus, Nuclear | Leave a comment

The 1.5C danger line draws ever closer

I contributed the article below to TheJournal.ie in mid-May to mark the publication of a worrying new report from the World Meteorological Organisation. Tried to stress for the umpteenth time that physics is indifferent to the many political, economic, social, … Continue reading

Posted in Arctic, Energy, Irish Focus, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Turf wars signal betrayal on climate action

The bizarre and pointless recent ‘turf wars’ are a throwback to an Ireland many of us thought was gone forever. The scramble by politicians to outdo one another in capitulating to a handful of industrial turf cutters and their noisy … Continue reading

Posted in Global Warming, Irish Focus, Psychology | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Can we reimagine a better, safer world?

It sometimes feels like our collective inability to respond to the global climate and ecological emergency is first and foremost a failure of imagination. We are conditioned to see the world the way it is, and can easily assume there … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Economics, Energy, Global Warming, Irish Focus, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Food and energy insecurity mean double trouble

The long-banished spectre of food insecurity has returned to Europe for the first time since the 1940s. I wrote the below piece for the Business Post in late March which looked at the intersection of energy and food security in … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Economics, Energy, Global Warming, Irish Focus | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

EU decries attacks on Irish environmental defenders

The well-worn narrative emanating primarily from the Irish agri sector and amplified by a cohort of vocal rural TDs is that, despite being the true custodians of the natural environment, they are being constantly “demonised” by over-zealous environmentalists, animal welfare … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Irish Focus, Media, Sustainability | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Things are Looking Up as climate crunch hits funny bone

It will come as no surprise to regular ToS readers to learn that the biggest ‘story’ of the 21st century, or perhaps 66 million years of Earth history, is the rapidly unfolding climate emergency and simultaneous global mass extinction event, … Continue reading

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Confronting consumerism for a safer future

Among the many challenges we face this decade is how to achieve radical decarbonisation in a way that does not entirely alienate the public. This is no mean challenge. After all, we are all bombarded with constant advertising and promotional … Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Global Warming, Irish Focus, Media, Psychology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

No national security without food security

We often hear about Ireland’s supposed role in “feeding the world”. The reality is altogether different. Despite the hype, domestic food insecurity is a very real concern in the difficult decades ahead. I explored this issue in detail in a … Continue reading

Posted in Agriculture, Biodiversity, Global Warming | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The library of our living planet is burning down

Shortly before the COP26 climate conference began, another global conference, this one on biodiversity, known as COP15, took place in Kunming, China. My piece around the global biodiversity crunch ran in the Business Post in late October. THE NATURAL WORLD is … Continue reading

Posted in Global Warming, Habitat/Species, Irish Focus, Pollution, Sustainability | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No time to lose as climate clock approaches midnight

This article was published in the Irish Times in late October, just days before the start of the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. AHEAD OF the upcoming UN’s COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, many countries are now revising their nationally … Continue reading

Posted in Arctic, Global Warming, Irish Focus, Sustainability | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment