Mary Robinson Addresses Climate Change Conference

Pioneering solutions to climate change and environmental problems were showcased by leading researchers and industry leaders at a major international conference in Trinity College Dublin on Friday, September 11th, 2015.

Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson and UN special envoy for climate change gave the key note address at the event. Dr Robinson, who is also Chancellor of the University, gave a talk entitled ‘People and planet: shaping a pathway to climate justice in 2015’.

The event, entitled Tackling Climate Change and Harnessing Sustainable Resources: The Potential of Research-Industry Partnerships, was organised by the Trinity International Development Initiative (TIDI) in conjunction with the French Embassy accredited to the Republic of Ireland, and the France Ireland Chamber of Commerce.  

Dr Carol Newman, Assistant Professor in Economics, Trinity; Dr Mary Robinson; Jean-Pierre Thébault, French Ambassador; Professor Martina Hennessy, Chair of TIDI at Trinity; and Cliona McGowan, Executive Director of the France Ireland Chamber of Commerce

At the conference Trinity researchers and French companies based in Ireland showcased current cutting-edge research and explored how innovative solutions for real-world climate and renewable energy challenges are being developed and applied in the developing world with a particular focus on wave energy, water efficiency and sustainable transport.

The conference also provided a platform for researchers and industry to explore innovative ideas about how partnerships and collaborations can be formed for pioneering solutions to climate change and critical environmental problems, such as water quality and sustainable water use, facing the developing world today.

Presentations at the conference included:

  • ‘Decentralised Water and Wastewater Treatment – Sustainable Approaches for Human Development’ – Laurence Gill, Associate Professor in Civil Engineering. Trinity College Dublin.
  • 'Towards a more Energy Efficient & Sustainable System of Water Supply’ – Paul Coughlan, Professor in Operations Management, School of Business, Trinity College Dublin.
  • ‘Shift from conventional waste-water treatment to a bio-refinery’ – Joe Higgins, Technical Director, Veolia
  •  ‘Sustainable Transport: Removing Oil from the Transport Sector’ – Niall Gleeson, Managing Director, Alstom

Speaking at the event, Professor Martina Hennessy, Chair of TIDI at Trinity said: “2015 is a historical and critical year for human development globally, as it will see the culmination of two processes of global negotiations that will define the future of human well-being – the post 2015 UN sustainable development agenda, taking place in September and the United National Climate Change Conference of Parties, COP21, taking place in December. Both negotiation processes share interconnected objectives – transitioning to sustainability will entail new ways of thinking and new modes of production and consumption across multiple sectors, levels, scales, and populations.”

“The critical ingredients of innovation, research, development, and cooperation between public and private sectors are recognised and promoted through both the development and climate negotiation processes. Such change requires a whole-of-society approach to harness human ingenuity, creativity, and innovation to protect global public goods and develop new technologies to support human as well-being and development.  This conference adopts such an approach, bringing together researchers and private sector industry actors, actively working/researching in the areas of innovative solutions to alternative energy sources and sustainable water use.”

Cliona McGowan, Executive Director of the France Ireland Chamber of Commerce (FICC) added:  “Many of our patrons and members are French companies working in the sustainable energy sector in Ireland, including Alstom, Veolia, BNP Paribas, Schneider Electric, Renault and OpenHydro. The Franco-Irish business community is dedicated to promoting climate change adaptation policies. This year, we have launched a Special Jury Award at the Ireland France Business Awards 2015 to honour businesses for their ‘Impact on Climate Change’ and will welcome entries from those attending the conference today.”

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