John Gibbons

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John Gibbons is a Dublin-based specialist writer and commentator on climate and environmental issues. He blogs at ThinkOrSwim.ie. You can follow him on Twitter @think_or_swim.

How Climate Change is (Sort of) Affecting Ireland's Election

Read time: 6 mins
Leo Varadkar

Last May, Ireland was among the first countries in the world to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency. In September, over 20,000 students took to the streets of Dublin demanding urgent climate action. And, plugging into the new ecological zeitgeist, RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcaster, produced a week-long series of climate-related programmes and events that were broadcast in November.

In that context, Ireland seemed set for its first ever “climate election”, when Taoiseach Leo Varadkar dissolved the Dáil (parliament) and called an election for February 8th. Climate activists have been canvassing under the banner of “One Future Ireland”, with the slogan: “Act now for faster and fairer climate action”.

However, recent polls suggest that fewer than one in 10 people see climate as the most important issue when deciding how to vote. Parochial concerns have once again crowded out the bigger picture.

Ireland's Chief Scientific Advisor Pins Climate Action Hopes on Silver-Bullet Fossil Fuel Tech

Read time: 5 mins
Mark Ferguson

Ireland’s Chief Scientific Advisor believes fossil fuels still have a role in a low-carbon future – and there is money to be made ensuring it.

Late last year, Professor Mark Ferguson, a medical doctor and dentist with no Earth science qualifications, provoked a controversy in addressing Ireland’s parliamentary committee on climate action, when he stated: “as a scientist, I am optimistic. Climate change is a big problem and a big issue but I remind you that no crisis that was ever predicted in human history has come to pass”.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar Clarifies 'Climate Change Has Benefits' Statement

Read time: 4 mins
Leo Varadkar

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar moved to distance himself from recent claims he made that climate change had potential “benefits” for Ireland, including reduced winter heating costs and cold-related illnesses.

It’s interesting that when you do look at these things, there is a ledger, and there are benefits and there are downsides. The downsides outweigh the benefits but we need to be aware of them too,” Varadkar had stated.

Ireland's Meat and Dairy Farmers Bring in Tobacco PR Firm to Tackle Image Problem

Read time: 5 mins
Cow head

Ireland’s embattled beef and dairy sector has taken the unusual step of bringing in a public relations and lobbying firm with links to the tobacco and agri-chemicals industries to defend the sector against a growing chorus of critics.

A consortium of farmers, food processors and state agencies has been formed under the banner of “Meat & Dairy Facts“ to counter what it claims is “disinformation” aimed at beef and dairy products. The initiative is co-funded by six Irish participating bodies.

It will stress the role that meat and dairy plays “in a healthy balanced diet and the incredible efforts that Irish farmers are taking to care for their animals and protect the environment”.

Government Agency Accepts Invitation to Speak at Irish Climate Science Denier Event

Read time: 3 mins
ICSF and Teagasc logos

The climate science denying Irish Climate Science Forum (ICSF) held another behind closed doors meeting, and this time a government agency accepted the invitation.

The group has previously invited infamous climate science deniers from around the world to speak at its events, casting aspersions on the veracity of mainstream climate science. It has also submitted arguments to the Irish Parliament, suggesting climate change isn’t as bad as scientists make out.

'Incoherent, Inconsistent, and a Little Bit Funny' — Debunked Report Shows Strengthening Ties Between UK and Irish Climate Science Deniers

Read time: 3 mins
Graphs from debunked GWPF climate science denier report

Through participation in events and media links, the connection between UK’s premier climate science denial campaign group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and its counterpart in Ireland, the Irish Climate Science Forum (ICSF), has significantly strengthened in recent weeks.

Last week, the ICSF hosted what it described as a ‘mini-seminar’ in a south Dublin hotel, involving three speakers, including Harry Wilkinson, a GPWF researcher whose published works to date constitute a series of climate-denying articles for ‘The Conservative Woman’ website. While the ICSF, which operates in secret, and refuses to divulge either its membership or income sources, has brought a series of well-known climate deniers over the last two years, this is the first time the GWPF has been officially represented.

Secretive Irish Climate Science Denier Group Steps Up 'Bizarre' Parliamentary Lobbying

Read time: 6 mins
Leinster House

Climate denial group the Irish Climate Science Forum (ICSF) has significantly escalated its lobbying campaign to prevent climate action.

The group’s main function until now has been to hold behind-closed-doors meetings with infamous climate science deniers as guest speakers. But it has now submitted a document to the Irish Parliament insisting climate change simply isn’t as bad as scientists make out, DeSmog UK has learned.

Exclusive: Ireland's Government Using Fake Data to Pretend Dairy Emissions Aren't Rising Fast

Read time: 4 mins

Ireland’s Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed and his officials are mounting a co-ordinated campaign to mislead the Irish parliament (Dáil) about the true state of spiralling dairy emissions, DeSmog.uk has learned.

Emissions from Ireland’s rapidly expanding dairy sector have shot up in recent years, in direct conflict with government policy. But the government continues to use bunk data to assert that this is not the case.

Brexit Pushing Ireland Towards US Fracked Gas, Putting Climate Commitments at Risk

Read time: 5 mins
LNG carrier

Environmental groups have united in opposing a massive new terminal that would receive fracked gas from the US in a protected area on Ireland’s west coast. They fear the plan runs counter to Ireland’s newly agreed climate commitments and is contrary to the country’s decision to ban fracking.

The public consultation on the proposal closed yesterday.

Irish Climate Science Denial Group Invites GWPF Advisor to be Guest Speaker at Latest Secretive Meeting

Read time: 3 mins
Shaviv debunked graph

The latest in a line of supposed experts drawn from the fringes of science is the guest speaker at tonight's meeting in Dublin of the Irish Climate Science Forum (ICSF), a climate science denial group. This is the sixth in a series of quasi-public meetings hosted by the ICSF since its first event last May.

Guest speaker at the meeting is Nir Shaviv, a professor of astrophysics at the Racah Institute of Physics in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is one of a number of recent speakers selected by the ICSF who promote the widely debunked view that cosmic rays rather than anthropogenic emissions are the dominant driving force behind global warming.

Shaviv is a member of the academic advisory council of the UK’s leading climate denial organisation, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, an organisation with opaque funding that works to spread doubt and disinformation about the causes and consequences of climate change.

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