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President Higgins invites Engineers to take action on Climate Change

Date: Tue 20th Oct, 2020 | 14:13

On Wednesday 21 October, President Higgins will deliver the keynote address at the Engineers Ireland annual conference.

Entitled ‘Engineering Climate Action: Solutions to combat climate change in Ireland’ the conference provides a forum for engineers, business leaders, policy makers and others to discuss climate action and the leadership role engineers have in addressing climate breakdown and in helping communities to transition to a more resilient society.  

The conference will take place as a virtual event, having been rescheduled from April 2020, in light of COVID-19 restrictions.

The delivery of the fruits of science and technology for universal social benefit has formed one of the central themes in the Presidency of Michael D. Higgins, with the President stressing the importance of using scientific insights to address the great challenges facing humanity. The President has consistently argued that it is essential that the benefits of research and scientific discoveries are shared equitably between, and within, nations.

In his address to the Engineers Ireland conference, President Higgins will be building on his recent address to the OECD and highlight the role of engineers, and the science community, in addressing climate change, “the greatest contemporary challenge facing us as inhabitants of this planet in peril”. 

Stressing how economic policies of recent decades that neglected, inter alia, ecological impact have brought humanity to “an ecological precipice”, President Higgins will call for a new approach to economics, one that is based on an appropriate connection between ecology, economics and society, and one that “combines the radicalism that is in the consciousness of climate activism, with the consciousness of egalitarianism and the programmes of inclusion activists.”

The President will say that “we cannot continue with the mere placing of a green lens on economic policies …, policies that have failed manifestly and are continuing to cause damaging ecological impacts,” and that what is required, instead, is a new paradigm “framed around the three implicit goals of welfare States: redistribution, social consumption and social investment” and characterised by gender equality, income redistribution, a reconfigured social consumption” and such a transfer of resources and technology from rich countries to developing countries as will assist them in dealing with the challenges of climate change and enable them to follow a path of sustainable development.