There are only so many times you can hit the snooze button before you sleep it out—if the latest warning about Ireland's crawling progress on emissions reductions isn't now heeded, we'll remain in a deeply unhealthy slumber, sputtering and gasping for breath when we finally wake.

It's hard to comprehend the depth of the Cerberus heatwave that has smothered much of Europe when it remains wet and windy outside our own doorstep; perhaps one of the reasons we haven't fully grasped the magnitude of what is happening in the world. 

Putting the blame on the shoulders of bigger nations and rationalising that Ireland is a mere blip on the global emissions scale misses the point—we are one of the most intensive nations per person when it comes to generating greenhouse gas emissions. 

Yet according to the independent Climate Change Advisory Council's annual review, and the Environmental Protection Agency's warning just weeks ago, Ireland is way off the pace when it comes to the systemic change needed.

We are going to blow our chances of curbing emissions by 2025, and not by a small margin. We are legally bound by our own hands to reduce by 51% by 2030, but even the EPA's best projections sees it reaching 29%. 

Yet the country's leadership insists, as ever, that we are at least going in the right direction. Tánaiste Micheál Martin said on Tuesday that nearly 30% is not bad in the greater scheme of things. 

"The (Climate Change Advisory Council) report does acknowledge progress, albeit not enough. In other words, on current trajectories we get 30% reduction by 2030, which is not to be dismissed because that is progress and significant progress, more than anything we've achieved in the previous two decades," he said.

At the same time, as Ireland's emissions reduction crawls along, he acknowledged scientific modelling from Met Éireann that while the likes of the Mediterranean will suffer extreme summer heat in the future, Ireland will become even wetter in the future due to climate change.

"We will have potentially increased flooding, so people need to realise that in terms of the flooding schemes that have been designed by the Office of Public Works (OPW) a lot of people have been objecting to various aspects of those, but those are critical in terms of our capacity to adapt to the climate change that is occurring in Ireland."

That may very well be true, but it flies in the face of the old adage that prevention is better than cure. We took draconian preventative measures to lock down a country due to covid-19, yet seem happy to react instead of reduce the existential threat of climate change.

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