Jennifer Whitmore TD

A new report highlighting a significant increase in heat-related deaths in Europe over the past two decades lays bare the dire consequences of countries failing to meet their climate action targets, according to Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore.

Deputy Whitmore, who is the party’s spokesperson on climate and biodiversity, said:

“As we mark Earth Day 2024 today, this report from the EU Copernicus Climate Change Service and the World Meteorological Organisation is yet another wake-up call for governments across Europe.

“It found there has been a 30 per cent rise in heat-related mortality in Europe over the past 20 years, with the intensity and frequency of heatwaves continuing to increase.

“Warning of serious consequences for public health, the ‘State of the Climate’ report confirmed that Europe is the fastest warming continent on earth, with temperatures rising at around twice the global average rate.

“Heat-related deaths were at the heart of a recent landmark legal case taken by the so-called ‘Swiss Grannies’ in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The group, representing 2,400 older women, had argued that senior citizens are more likely to die in heatwaves.

“Earlier this this month, the court found that weak Swiss government climate policies had violated their human rights. The ECHR ruling will put countries throughout Europe, including Ireland, under legal pressure in domestic courts to meet their climate action targets.

“While a number of countries made written submissions to the court last year, Ireland, along with Switzerland, actually sent a legal team to Strasbourg to challenge the women’s case. Incredibly, it has now emerged that it was Minister Eamon Ryan himself who sought Government approval for Ireland to intervene.

“As it has become blatantly obvious that this Government will miss its climate action targets, I can only assume it was the minister’s aim to prevent any possible cases being taken directly against the State.

“However, Minister Ryan’s decision to intervene in the Swiss case is completely at odds with his own Climate Action Plan and could have undermined efforts to hold governments to account for failures in meeting targets.”

April 22, 2024

Back to all Posts