Global alliance pledges to step up climate action at COP24

December 13th, 2018

Ireland did not join other European states at the climate summit in Poland in directly pledging to increase their climate targets by 2020.

 Yesterday, a coalition of 27 countries, including Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, committed to stepping up their ambition in line with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement.

The coalition will achieve this by increasing their Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement and increase both short-term action and long-term low emission strategies.

The recent Special Report of the IPCC on 1.5°C warming has shown that in order to have a safe chance of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, national pledges for emission reductions by 2030 need to be substantially increased.

While the EU is a signatory to the pledge, the Irish Government did not individually sign up like many of its European counterparts.

Irish climatologist Prof John Sweeney welcomed the move by the EU countries to take the pledge to step up their ambition to tackle climate change and increase their emission reduction targets in the short and medium term.

He was, however, critical of Ireland’s failure to sign up to this ambition alongside its European neighbours.

“In terms of moving from laggard to leader, the first opportunity to demonstrate intent has been rejected,” he said. “As the French say: plus ça change.”

The Minister for Climate Action, Richard Bruton TD, did, however, sign a commitment to work together with other European countries on more ambitious carbon pricing measures.

One of the main forms of carbon pricing is a carbon tax that directly sets a price on carbon by defining a tax rate on greenhouse gas emissions.

Ministers from nine countries, including the UK, Italy, France and Sweden, said that in order to reach the long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement, we will need “enhanced measures” to strengthen the carbon price signal.

The signatories emphasised the significant benefits of meaningful carbon prices for accelerating the development of new jobs and low-carbon industries.

“In order to accelerate the pace of the low-carbon transition, the signatories commit to work together to support the uptake of a set of broader and more ambitious carbon pricing measures, while realising the benefits of increased cooperation and taking into account the role of supporting policies and measures,” a letter from the Minister’s reads.

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