Letters to the Editor: Cop28 must deliver as time runs out for humanity

There are five key areas that require particular attention for a chance to make Cop28 a success
Letters to the Editor: Cop28 must deliver as time runs out for humanity

We simply must address the root cause of the climate crisis — oil, coal, and gas. Picture: David Jones/PA

One would hope the devastating weather patterns that set startling new records in 2023, claiming lives across the world, will be a trigger for real and lasting solutions at this year’s Cop28 climate change conference in Dubai.

There are five key areas that require particular attention for a chance to make Cop28 a success.

First, while last year’s Cop27 was deemed a victory for climate justice as governments agreed to establish a Loss and Damage Fund, it is crucial there is agreement this year on the level of funding, and how it fund will work and be distributed.

Secondly, we simply have to address the root cause of the climate crisis — oil, coal, and gas.

To avert runaway climate breakdown, the fossil fuel era must come to an end in a way that is fair, fully funded, and fast.

It cannot be diluted by partial phase-out, and nonsense solutions such as carbon capture and we have to take every necessary action to do this.

Our lives, our children’s futures, our global solidarity depend on this happening.

Other actions are also needed — scaling up climate finance and a new work programme on agriculture and food security to be agreed at Cop28 must talk about the real solutions such as agro-ecology to make farmers and food systems fit for purpose in an era of climate change.

Every year there is great expectation in the build-up to Cop, with disappointing outcomes. This year has to be different. Time is running out.

Karol Balfe, CEO, ActionAid Ireland

Demands for justice

Today on International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, we mourn the more than 14,000 people, including at least 6,150 children, killed in Israel’s 48 days of bombing Gaza.

Thousands have been wounded, and more are buried under rubble. Hospitals, schools, refugee camps, universities, libraries, laid to waste by relentless bombardment, much of the infrastructure required for life has been ruined. More than 1.7m people have been forcibly displaced and everyone there has been deprived of food, water, fuel and power.

In the West Bank, Israeli forces have killed at least 237 Palestinians, including 52 children since October 7, while imprisoning thousands. Communities are being driven from their lands under attack by armed settlers.

There must be a permanent ceasefire in Gaza and an end to all attacks on Palestinians by Israel. There cannot simply be a return to a “normality” of continued siege and injustice.

For 75 years the Palestinian people have been deprived of their freedom and of equality as the international community has shamefully failed to hold Israel to account. 

It is long past time that the Irish Government sanction Israel, it should enact the Occupied Territories and Illegal Israeli Settlements Divestment Bills, refer the state to the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide, recognise that it is committing the crime of apartheid and cut diplomatic ties.

For seven weeks, thousands all around the country have taken to the streets in solidarity with the Palestinian people, let us see our government reflect that demand for justice.

In the meantime, people of conscience can continue to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign and keep calling for a free Palestine. 

Zoë Lawlor, Chairperson, Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC),Dublin 1

Taoiseach careless with ‘lost’ tweet

The furore over the Taoiseach’s use of the word, “lost”, in his statement on the release of nine-year-old Emily Hand has drawn a lot of concern from the Israeli government.

In light of the massacre of an estimated 1,400 men, women, and children by Hamas on October 7 last and the abduction of over 240 of their citizens, the Israeli government is right to object to the inclusion of that word by the Taoiseach. Emily Hand was kidnapped by a terrorist organisation period and “words do matter”.

Other Irish politicians have called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador over the killing of civilians in the Gaza Strip.

As the Palestinian Authority continues to claim authority over the Gaza Strip and Hamas (a terrorist organisation) exercises de facto control, perhaps some Irish politicians should consider rescinding the diplomatic access given to the Palestinian ambassador as she also represents Hamas in Ireland, the same organisation that vows to destroy the Jewish state of Israel.

The attack by Hamas on Israel, the murder of innocent civilians, and the taking of hostages was pre-planned, and Hamas would have foreseen the Israeli reaction and mayhem that would have followed.

For years, the Middle East has been a quagmire of tragedy with various groups seeking the destruction of Israel and settlers removing indigenous Arabs from their land, which is illegal under international law and can never be accepted.

A two-state solution is the only way to achieve a lasting peace and for Israel and Palestinian groups to stop the killing, return all the hostages, and engage in dialogue with a view to a lasting solution.

Unfortunately, some Palestinian groups will never be reconciled to that objective.

Peter Mulvany, Clontarf, Dublin 3

Israel’s ‘lost’ tweet uproar is a sham

It is obvious to any sensible person that Leo Varadkar used the word “lost” regarding Emily Hand in the sense of her being “lost to her family”. Nobody really believes that he was trying to diminish her horrific ordeal.

The wilful misinterpretation of his tweet by the Israeli foreign minister and others in Israel is simply an exercise in distraction. With nearly 15,000 dead in Gaza, including thousands of children, and another Israeli onslaught apparently imminent, this manufactured outrage really should be ignored.

Fintan Lane, Lucan, Co Dublin

Ending triple lock hits Irish neutrality

The recent announcement by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, that the Government is in favour of eliminating the triple lock in regard to the deployment of Irish troops on foreign duties is a retrograde step and one which must be opposed by all who value peace on our planet.

One of the arguments that Mr Martin makes for this is that Russia and China could veto any UN-sponsored troop deployment at the Security Council. The fact is that the General Assembly, which is not subject to a veto, can agree to any such deployment without the approval of the Security Council.

On the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict alone, the US has used its veto 34 times against just two by Russia/USSR and China.

The reality is Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens have for some time now been trying to bully the Irish people into abandoning what is left of our military neutrality.

This is despite the fact that all opinion polls on the issue have favoured retaining it by a large majority.

Successive governments have eroded our neutrality by involvement with the misnamed Partnership for Peace, which is a subgroup of Nato and the EU’s Pesco.

The only beneficiaries of Ireland’s membership of these groups have been the arms industries.

The leadership of these groupings, the US, Britain and former colonial powers in the EU, have an appalling record when it comes to illegal wars in the recent past, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Yugoslavia, in which millions of innocent people were murdered by these powers.

With friends like these, who needs enemies? Ireland should never align itself with them.

The continued use of Shannon Airport as a US airbase also seriously undermines Ireland’s credibility as a neutral state. It should be ended immediately.

Instead, as a former colony, we should seek, with other countries of a similar background, to make improvements to the way that the UN operates to give it more powers to intervene in areas of conflict so that the present sorry state which our planet is in due to conflict between imperial powers, usually through proxies — Ukraine and Israel to name but two — is ended, and the peoples of the world can live in the peace and freedom that they deserve.

John Bowen, International Affairs Committee, The Worker's Party of Ireland

Social inclusion mends torn society

If the Government refuses to acknowledge that growing social exclusion and disaffection played a significant part in the breakdown of law and order in Dublin recently, then we do indeed need more draconian laws and a paramilitary-type police force. I offer Confucius as an alternative: “If there is harmony in the home, there will be order in the nation”.

Jim O’Sullivan, Rathedmond, Sligo

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