Changing for our Climate

Ireland's First Student-led Energy Summit

Changing for our Climate

The main inspiration for the title of this talk came from the release of the IPCC special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels released in October, if you haven’t read it yet check it out here. There is no scientific doubt that humans have caused this catastrophic climate change and now it is our turn to make changes to reverse this.

With this in mind the team has gathered some of the most knowledgeable people on this topic to see what they are doing to change for our climate.

Dr Cara Augustenborg Environmental Policy Fellow at University College Dublin, The Verdant Yank blog site, ‘Down to Earth’ presenter

Dr Mary Greene Lecturer, researcher and community activist based at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Tom Short  IFA South Leinster REgional Chair and Renewables committee Chair

Paul Deane Research fellow with interest in Energy and Power systems modelling, Energy Economics and Policy, Energy storage and Wind Resource Assessment



Moderator – George Lee RTE Journalist

George Lee  is an economist, journalist, television and radio presenter, and former Fine Gael politician. He worked for RTÉ from 1992 to 2009. He was appointed Economics Editor in 1996. During his time in RTÉ News and Current Affairs he was named Irish Journalist of the Year for uncovering a major tax evasion and overcharging scandal at National Irish Bank. He has also presented many documentary programmes for RTÉ.

Dr. Cara Augustenborg

Dr. Cara Augustenborg is an environmental scientist by training and a media pundit by passion. Image Magazine recently named her as one of 18 women to watch in 2018. She is currently a Senior Fellow in Environmental Policy at University College Dublin and serves as Chairperson of Friends of the Earth Europe.

Cara was appointed by Minister Denis Naughten as an advisor to Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency in 2016 and to the first National Dialogue on Climate Action in 2017. She also serves as an advisor to Cool Planet Experience’s Climate Champion programme and was the first person in Ireland to join Al Gore’s Climate Reality Programme in 2013.

In 2016, the Sunday Independent named Cara as one of the 20 most influential people to lead the low carbon transition in Ireland and GreenNews.ie called her one of five women in Ireland making incalculable contributions to Irish environmental issues. Her blog, ‘The Verdant Yank’ gives her take on “green” issues from an Irish-American perspective and was awarded Ireland’s best political and current affairs blog in 2016. 

Cara conducted her doctoral research at Ireland’s Agriculure and Food Research Authority, Teagasc, and was the Irish Ambassador for Ben & Jerry’s Climate Change College, traveling to the Arctic with the late Marc Cornelissen in 2008 to witness the impacts of climate change first-hand. 

Mary Greene

Mary is a Lecturer in Human Geography and co-director of the MA in Environment, Society and Development in the Discipline of Geography at NUI Galway. She is experienced researcher and lecturer specialising in the social-scientific study of society-environment relations and sustainability. 

Specialising in the study of the intersections between societal and environmental change, her research forms part a rapidly growing and increasingly significant field of social scientific inquiry. The research interests lie in cross fertilising social and environmental geography to explore intersecting social, cultural and political dimensions of environmental change and development in the following thematic areas: sustainable consumption and lifestyles; environmental citizenship; sustainable communities and grassroots innovations; social and environmental justice, urban and rural governance in developed and developing world contexts; environmental policy and planning; sociotechnical transitions and innovations; and innovative research methods for applied social science and sustainability research. To this end, the work can be situated at the interface between human geography, sociology, social psychology, lifecourse studies, planning, environmental policy and science and technology studies. 

Dr. Paul Deane – MaREI Foundation

Dr Paul Deane is a research fellow at UCC’s MaREI Centre, Environmental Research Institute and a fellow at the Payne Institute, Colorado School of Mines. He is a scientific advisor to a number of international research projects on clean energy. His research focuses on scientific methods to understand future energy systems.

Tom Short – IFA Renewables Project Team Chairman

Tom and his wife Geraldine are tillage and livestock farmers from east Wicklow. They also run a significant agri-contracting business.

Tom is currently the Chairman of IFA’s Renewable Energy Project Team. The team is working on formulating policies and lobbying Government and the EU Commission for the development of Ireland’s circular bio-economy.

This will create additional high-end employment in rural regions, deliver additional income streams for farmers, significantly decarbonise Ireland’s economy, allow for the sustainable development of Ireland’s export orientated agri-food and drinks production while meeting our renewable energy targets. It will also enable the development of the bio-pharma / bio-chemical sector future proofing employment in Ireland, develop Ireland’s circular bio-economy which will create additional employment in rural regions, deliver additional income streams for farmers, further decarbonise food production while meeting our renewable energy targets.