Catholics Speak Out: Mary Robinson

April 1, 2016

Mary Robinson, former leader of Ireland and also former UN high commissioner for human rights, has been emphasizing it is in the west’s interest to secure climate financing for developing nations.  “It is human solidarity but it is also collective self-interest,” she said. “It’s in our self-interest to ensure that developing countries go clean because if they don’t they will lock in so much fossil fuel that we can’t have a safe world for anyone.

“It’s like the Titanic. When the Titanic hit that iceberg, it wasn’t just those in steerage that went down, it was the first-class as well.  There is a real sense of interdependence and a need for human solidarity to realise we are all in this together.”

When it comes to helping developing nations with the effects of climate change, that ship had already sailed, Robinson said.  We still need to turn around our dependence on fossil fuels, but we saw just recently how present some of the effects are starting to be.  “[Fiji] was hit by this awful cyclone Winston. Luckily not so many people were killed but it devastated their economy.”Mary Robinson

“The reality is that we’re running out of time. Everyone is shocked by what is happening – we had the announcement that in February we had the greatest increase in heat, that it jumped more than scientists thought it would.”

“We have to be self-preserving and sensible. And, as a grandmother of five who will be in their 40s in 2050 and share the world with 9 billion others … they will criticise us so harshly if we don’t get things right now.”

“We just have to get our minds right that we have a responsibility to move in the direction that Paris has given us – well below 2C as far as possible to 1.5C – a world that leaves no one behind. A world that is fair and inclusive … We can do it. And we will have a much better and more equal world if we do.”