Global Health Matters – Live Event Series

Category:
June 25, 2021

The Implications of Ireland’s Low Carbon Bill on Environmental and Public Health 

  • Date:  Friday – June 25th, 2021
  • Time: 1-2 pm Irish Time

The new Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021 to accelerate Ireland’s contribution to mitigating the effects of climate change closed for consultation in May 2021. Though the progress on the bill is welcome particularly in relation to binding targets for 2030 and 2050, concerns remain on some of the inherent weaknesses in terms of penalty enforcement to make sure government adheres to those targets.

This webinar examines the impact of health in relation to the bill: what are the health consequences of failing on targets? How well has health been integrated into climate action through this bill? How does the bill strengthen the framework for climate policy? What penalties could Ireland face if we miss our targets? 

View Recording

 

Topics for Discussion:

In this live event, we hear from a range of speakers leading different aspects of work in this area . Topics include discussions on the EU response to climate change and preparations for COP 26; the climate and health nexus in general; adaptation versus mitigation and Ireland’s own model of integrating health in government policies. 

Moderators

  • Niall Roche, Environmental Health Officer, Health Service Executive
  • Hala Ali, ESTHER Ireland and ESTHER Alliance Partnerships Programme Coordinator

Speakers 

  • Dr. Ina Kelly, Chair of the HSE Public Health Medicine Environment and Health Group
  • Dr. Tim Collins, CEO of the Irish Heart Foundation
  • Dr. Diarmuid Torney, Associate Professor, School of Law and Government at Dublin City University
  • Anne Stauffer, Deputy Director, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL)

SPEAKER DETAILS

  • Dr Ina Kelly studied Medicine in NUIG, trained in General Practice in the Australian Family Medicine Programme and later did Higher Specialist Training in Public Health Medicine in Ireland and in the WHO in Geneva.  She is Chair of the HSE  Public Health Medicine Environment and Health Group, and prior to Covid-19 her main areas of work included climate change adaptation, given the massive potential health impacts of this 21st Century existential threat.  She represents Health on the Adaptation Committee of the Climate Change Advisory Council, is a member of the National Adaptation Steering Group of the DECC; and is the climate change medical spokesperson in the RCPI. Ina was a contributor to the Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the Health Sector (2019-2024). 

She is an advocate for the implementation of WHO recommendations on Environmentally Sustainable Health Services and in particular “prioritizing disease prevention, health promotion and public health services”.  She is committed to strengthening Public Health Medicine and is President of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) 2021/2022. 

Key Points Made by Dr Ina Kelly

  • The WHO has recommended that health be included in all policies, and it is important to integrate across all sectors when looking at the environment and climate change
  • The health sector is a valuable place to reduce emissions, however currently climate change is not directly budgeted into many major health organizations
  • It is important to learn from the COVID-19 pandemic when looking at the climate crisis, and cost-effective prevention is needed
  • The 2017 WHO report on the relationships between health systems, the environment, and the positive impact they can have can be found here

    Dr.
     Diarmuid Torney is an associate professor in the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University. His research focuses on climate change politics and governance. He is a lead author of Ireland’s first Five Year Assessment Report on climate change, which has been commissioned by the Environmental Protection Agency and will be published in 2023. He teaches on DCU’s MSc in Climate Change: Policy, Media and Society.
      
     

Key Points Made by Dr Diarmuid Torney

  • The Climate Action Amendment Bill can be traced back to the Ireland Citizens Assembly running from 2016-2018, who voted 97% in favor of an independent body to address climate change
  • The current bill seeks to strengthen the existing climate bill enacted in 2015 by defining the goal of establishing a climate neutral environment by 2050
  • The bill has established carbon budgets, which are set to provide a 51% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, the second most ambitious decarbonization target in the world
  • The bill sets the framework, but it is important to see the policies and measures implemented to achieve both short-term and long-term objectives 

    Anne Stauffer
    is HEAL’s Deputy Director, Strategic Lead. She leads HEAL’s activities on climate change, energy and air quality and provides strategic input for HEAL’s organizational development, advocacy and engagement of stakeholders across the European region. She has 10+ years of working on environmental health issues and has led HEAL’s members and partners advocacy on key policy files including the EU’s Environmental Action Programme (7 EAP), the National Emissions Ceilings Directive (NEC – on air quality) and EU-Parliament climate resolutions.

Key Points Made by Anne Stauffer

  • Policymakers continue to move along in the implementation of the EU Green New Deal, with increasing the EU target of decarbonization from -40% to -55%, however more needs to be done to fully hits these targets
  • 700 billion euros in COVID-19 recovery action funds are being awarded to member states, with 37% designated for “climate activities”, but proper implementation needs to occur to ensure this money goes into green economies
  • Increased involvement by the health community is important to push further commitment to decarbonization and the Paris Agreement 
  • Tim Collins was appointed CEO of the Irish Heart Foundation in 2017. A former GP, Tim was Chief Executive at Newstalk radio station from 2015 to 2017. Prior to this, he was Chief Executive at North West Broadcasting from 2004 to 2015. Between 1990 and 1997 he acted as Special Advisor to Government Ministers Mary Harney and Brendan Howlin at the Department of Health and the Department of the Environment, befo re going on to become Director of Public Affairs with Drury Communications until 2003. He qualified as a barrister in 2005 and in 1983 graduated in medicine from Trinity College Dublin. He completed specialist postgraduate training in general practice before working as a GP in Ireland and Australia. During that period, he also served as Vice-President of the Irish Medical Organisation.

    Key Points Made by Tim Collins
     
  • There is a current absence of commitment to include a public health expert in new climate advisory council which is needed to fully integrate climate issues and health issues
  • About 1300 people die every year in Ireland from inhaling air pollutants, and framing climate change as both a short-term health issue and long-term climate issue will increase both awareness and action
  • The Climate and Health Alliance is a broad alliance of public health NGO’s, professional bodies, and experts that address climate change and the direct impact of health can be found here

Resources 

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