The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the inequalities in society and highlighted the need for climate change action, the Lord Mayor of Dublin has said.
Hazel Chu said the inequalities need to be addressed and that if any positive can come from the pandemic, hopefully it is that these inequities have been exposed.
The Green Party politician said it was now time for leaders, including Ireland’s coalition Government, to “step up” to the challenges posed.
Ms Chu said: “Covid has highlighted the inequalities in society. It’s something we’re trying to fix.
“(What it) has highlighted is that there are huge issues that we need to build forward for – climate action being embedded in those,” she added.
What we've seen during Covid is a lot of other generations come on board as well to try and drive that changeHazel Chu, Lord Mayor of Dublin
Ms Chu said there had been a mindset shift among generations in the pandemic with more people recognising the need for action on climate change.
“What we saw in February 2020, a younger generation, a younger cohort were championing what we need to do in terms of climate action and climate change,” she said.
“What we’ve seen during Covid is a lot of other generations come on board as well to try and drive that change because they can automatically spot the inequalities of what Covid has produced in terms of societal issues and what climate issues have been highlighted for years and years and we’ve done nothing about.”
We're off this lunchtime for our discussion on 'Cities and #ClimateAction'.@LordMayorDublin @hazechu and @MicheleRubirola, Deputy Mayor of Marseille, are introduced by David Donoghue, former Irish Ambassador @irishmissionun.— IIEA (@iiea) March 16, 2021
Opening remarks are delivered by @vincentguerend. pic.twitter.com/RF13Pd1WZ3
Ms Chu made the comments during an online discussion on cities and climate action hosted by the Institute of International European Affairs (IIEA) and the Embassy of France in Ireland.
Deputy Mayor of Marseille Michele Rubirola said she wanted to build a fairer city.
She said Marseille had been “suffering” inequalities for years between the northern part of the city, which is dedicated to the port, and the coastal area of the southern part of the city.
We have to face climate change and reduce our dependency on fossil energiesDeputy Mayor of Marseille Michele Rubirola
“We have to face climate change and reduce our dependency on fossil energies and reduce, as much as possible, the impact on biodiversity as well as improving quality of marine life,” she said.
“We have to find balance between technological solutions and incentives to changes in behaviours.”
She added: “The best energy is the energy you do not use so we need to push inhabitants to reduce their use of pollution transport modes.”
Ms Rubirola stressed that putting people at the centre of climate action is key to gaining citizen involvement.
She said all stakeholders needed to participate in addressing climate change, from members of the public to local authorities to companies, experts, officials and politicians.
“If you impose things on people, you have to make sure that they are involved in this change,” she said.
“That’s what I wanted to do in Marseille, put humans at the heart of the process to avoid losing people.”