Former Irish President probes climate justice on 'Talking Foreign Affairs'
Former Irish President, Mary Robinson, was the recent guest on ‘Talking Foreign Affairs’ with Adil Cader, an initiative that seeks to empower and encourage young people to play an active role in foreign affairs.
The two discuss Climate Justice and the disproportionate impact that the climate crisis has on different people. Explaining the idea of climate justice, Mary Robinson defines it as a people-centered approach to the impacts of climate change which begins with acknowledging the range of injustices. “Climate change impacts much earlier the poorest countries and communities, small island states and indigenous peoples who are, in reality, the least responsible for it.” The injustice, she continues, can also be categorized as racial, gendered or inter-generational.
On the urgency for energy transitions, Mary Robinson remarks, “We must now move towards clean energy, or we will have no safe world”. She calls the Paris Agreement “unique” in the climate space for talking about human rights in such a broad and convincing way, including just transition that had never been done before. She further adds that “the most important contribution that climate justice made to the Paris Agreement was the role of small islands, indigenous peoples and the civil society”. She recounts that it was after the “1.5 to stay alive” ‘mantra’ led by the Marshall Islands on the streets of Paris that the Agreement had to ask the scientists and the IPCC to explain the difference between 1.5 and 2 degrees. Later, this led to the famous October 2018 IPCC Report.
She also emphasizes on the need for individual actions as well as for young people across the world to take charge. In a message to young people, Mary Robinson talks about the need for young people to organize, make an impact and bring people out on the streets for special marches. “We need all of that. Engage. Make it personal. Get angry with those who aren’t doing more.” She reminisces when Kofi Annan used to say, “you’re never too young to lead and you’re never too old to learn”.
Mary Robinson was the first woman elected President of Ireland. She has been credited with transforming the role with a Presidency of inclusiveness, equality and peace building. She also served as the first ever UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
‘Talking Foreign Affairs’ has interviewed several World Leaders, from a UN Secretary-General to Heads of State, from Nobel Laureates to those who have led mission-critical organisations like the WTO, World Bank and NASA. Adil Cader specialises in Global Diplomacy and Australian Foreign Policy . He is the Perth-based Founder and Host of ‘Talking Foreign Affairs’.