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Ireland rows in behind EU 2050 net zero emissions target

June 19th, 2019

Ireland was among four Member States countries to yesterday announce their support for a net zero emissions target for the European Union by 2050.

Ireland was among four Member States to yesterday declare their support for a net zero emissions target for the European Union by 2050.

To date, 22 EU countries are in favour of the objective as the European Council prepares to meet in Brussels later this week.

The announcement comes just one day after the launch of the all of Government Climate Action Plan to Tackle Climate Breakdown that the Fine Gael cabinet says will lead Ireland to  “a pathway to 2030 which would be consistent with a net zero target by 2050”.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action (JOCCA) report released in March called for the 2050 net zero target to be set in stone in new climate legislation, however, the new plan does not include such a step.

In a letter from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres leaked last week, he urged the EU to step up its climate goals, putting further pressure on EU leaders to reach an agreement.

Mr Guterres called for a carbon-neutral economy by 2050, as well as a commitment to increasing the bloc’s 2030 climate target to bring down emissions by 55 per cent.

Delaying a decision to commit to such a goal would “leave the EU empty-handed at the September Climate Action Summit”, according to the director of Climate Action Europe Wendel Trio. Any delay, he said, would be a “major blow” to the EU’s international reputation as a climate leader.

The UN Summit will be held in New York where international leaders will present their plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the ultimate goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

According to Programme Director of CEE Bankwatch Network Anelia Stefanova, only a “few Eastern European countries like Bulgaria and Poland” still wish to postpone a decision on enhancing EU climate action, despite it being, “in their best interest.”

The Director-General for Climate Action at the European Commission Mauro Petriccione visited Dublin last month to discuss the European Commission’s plan to achieve a climate neutral economy by 2050.

During his official visit, Mr Petrricione referred to weekly climate protests as, “fundamental”, and expressed his hope that, “it’s going to continue until we’ve put all right courses of action on track.”

Extinction Rebellion has criticised that new climate action plan, stating that it “falls far short” of the radical changes needed to keep global temperature rises below the two degree threshold outlined in the Paris Agreement.

The movement wants to see the Government set a net zero target for 2030 and to “embrace systemic change” in industry, agriculture, electricity, transport and biodiversity.

About the Author

Kayle Crosson

Kayle is a multimedia journalist focused on climate and environmental issues and contributes to The Irish Times and The Green News.

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