April 10th, 2018
The Minister for Climate Action has been urged to support increases in EU climate pledges to match the targets set in the Paris Agreement as EU Environment Ministers meet this week.
Green Party leader Eamon Ryan TD today called on Denis Naughten, TD to side with the likes of the Netherlands, France, and Germany in seeking more ambitious emissions reduction targets for 2030.
The informal meeting of the Environment Ministers is taking place over the next two days in Sofia and will cover the issues of air quality, regulation, and climate change.
In relation to climate targets, Mr Ryan said that he wants the Minister to “support a stronger EU commitment” to reducing emissions in line with the aims agreed under the Paris Agreement.
The Paris Agreement’s central goal is to keep the global average temperature rise to below 2C degrees and as close as possible to 1.5C.
According to the 2018 Climate Change Performance Index, Ireland is “nowhere close” to being on track concerning its well-below-2°C compatible pathway with both its current level as well as its 2030 target.
Mr Ryan added that Ireland is a “climate laggard” and he does not want us to continue playing a “negative role at EU level”.
“Not only are we failing to take action ourselves, but our inaction is slowing the EU in its work to achieve the transition to a low carbon economy,” he warned.
Today’s portion of the meeting focused on the issue of air quality and the need for better regulation and coordination across Europe on the issue.
The delegates agreed today that although air quality is improving across Europe, more urgent action is needed, including additional funding.
Air pollution is the cause of the premature death of over 1,500 Irish people every year, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA) has found.
The Agency’s annual Air Quality in Europe report released last October estimated that over half a million Europeans die prematurely as a result of exposure to poor air quality each year.
The Chair of the meeting and Bulgarian Minister of Environment and Water, Neno Dimov, said that it is time for countries to “reconsider our approaches” to tacking air quality issues.
“The time has come to… move from visions and ambitions to real actions and tangible results,” he added.
“Effective action to reduce the impact of air pollution requires profound changes in policies, lifestyle, and attitudes.”
The discussions during the second day of the meeting will be dedicated to the international climate change negotiations and the Talanoa Dialogue launched at COP23 in Bonn last year.
The word ‘ Talanoa’ originates from Fiji – who held the presidency at COP23 – and reflects a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue.
The purpose of the Talanoa portal is to share stories, build empathy, and to make wise decisions for the better good.