Government incapable of putting climate action plan in place, warn Greens

Published by Manus Boyle on

July 27th, 2018

The Green Party has criticized a lack of Government action on climate change following the release of the Climate Change Advisory Council’s critical annual review.

The CCAC is an independent body set up under the 2015 Climate Act to advise the government on climate change policy and assess Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy by 2050.

Ireland needs to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to one million tonnes per year in order to meet targets set out in our National Policy Position. However, according to the Council’s chair, Professor John FitzGerald, we are currently increasing our emissions at a rate of two million tonnes per year.

As a result, Ireland is well off track to meet both its 2020 or 2030 climate targets or to decarbonise the economy as planned by 2050.

Green Party Councillor Ciaran Cuffe told RTE Radio One this week that he is disappointed with the progress made toward achieving Ireland’s emissions targets. “The government have proven themselves incapable of putting in place realistic measures to tackle climate change,” he said.

Cllr Cuffe called on the Minister for Climate Action, Denis Naughten TD to follow the advice of the Citizen’s Assembly to act decisively on tackling climate change. “There are many proposals that Ireland can and should implement now in transportation, energy, construction and agriculture,” he added.

Prof John Fitzgerald at CCAC Review launch Photo: Niall Sargent

Mr Naughten said that he noted the Council’s issue of concern in relation to the implementation of climate mitigation policy and will “consider” the recommendation of the report with Cabinet colleagues and officials. The Government is doing everything it can “at an absolute minimum” to ensure that Ireland meets its 2030 target, he said.

He added that the projected gap to our emissions targets is exacerbated by “constrained investment capacity over the past decade” due to the economic crisis and the “extremely challenging nature” of the targets themselves.

Environmental journalist, John Gibbons, told The Green News the vested interest groups are contributing to Ireland’s poor climate record and that they have no “care or concern for the future”.

He pointed in particular to Ireland’s agricultural policy, with the sector accounting for almost one-third of our overall emissions. “Any ‘climate solution’ that gives this sector a free pass on emissions reduction is by definition doomed to failure,” he said.

Mr Gibbons added: “The extreme weather of the last 12 months, culminating in the current severe drought, underline how highly vulnerable our agricultural sector is to the ravages of climate change, and how our model of ramping up beef and dairy output is a double whammy for the environment.”

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Manus Boyle

Manus is an MA Journalism student at DCU. He has an interest in the environment, the outdoors and live music.