Irish president calls for new approach to economics that incorporates the “radicalism” of climate activism

Ireland’s President, Michael D Higgins was speaking at an event in Ireland this week where he called for an entirely new approach to climate activism. James Ward explains in an article up to the event on The Times website leading.


Economic plans must include climate radicalism, says Michael D Higgins

Michael D Higgins will today call for a new approach to economics that incorporates the “radicalism” of climate activism.

The president is due to make the comments as part of his keynote address to the Engineers Ireland annual conference.

Part of the worldwide response to climate change should be framed around the principles of “redistribution, social consumption and social investment”, the president will say.

He will say: “We cannot continue with the mere placing of a green lens on economic policies — policies that have failed manifestly and are continuing to cause damaging ecological impacts.”

Mr Higgins will call for a new approach to economics, one that “combines the radicalism that is in the consciousness of climate activism” with the “consciousness of egalitarianism and the programmes of inclusion activists”.

It should be “framed around the three implicit goals of welfare states: redistribution, social consumption and social investment and characterised by gender equality, income redistribution, a reconfigured social consumption”.

Mr Higgins believes a transfer of resources and technology from wealthy countries to the developing world will assist in dealing with the challenges of climate change and enable them to follow a path of sustainable development.

The central theme of his address will be “the fruits of science and technology for universal social benefit”. He calls climate change “the greatest contemporary challenge facing us as inhabitants of this planet in peril”.

The president believes that the economic policies of recent decades that neglected environmental impacts have brought humanity to “an ecological precipice”.

Today’s conference, Engineering Climate Action: Solutions To Combat Climate Change In Ireland, will provide a forum for engineers, business leaders and policymakers to discuss climate action.

It will also focus on the leadership role engineers have in addressing climate breakdown and in helping communities to transition to a more resilient society.

The conference will take place as a virtual event, having been rescheduled from April 2020, in light of Covid-19 restrictions.

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