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European Commission document highly critical of Ireland’s response to climate change – time for government to act
Saturday March 07, 2015 21:40 by ep - Environment Pillar
The Environmental Pillar is calling on the government to strengthen the Climate Bill in light of sharp criticism for lack of action.
The Environmental Pillar, which is made up of 28 Irish environmental NGOs, is calling on TDs and Senators to amend the Climate Bill.
Today a European Commission working document was published which described Ireland’s climate change commitments as ‘insufficient’.
The EC Country Report Ireland 2015 working document states:
“No progress was made in identifying how Ireland commits itself to meeting its existing, binding climate and energy targets for the period up to 2020 in an integrated way and how best to use the earmarked, available EU support for the structural development needed in the different areas.”
It also highlights how much Ireland is off track when it comes to reducing emissions.
According to the report, recent studies suggest Ireland is likely to have reduced emissions by 3 per cent by 2020 – far off the 20 per cent target.
It highlights agriculture and transport as the two sectors contributing most to this problem.
The Environmental Pillar believes the government should see this as a wake-up call to amend the Bill as it makes its way through the Dáil.
Key actions needed to strengthen the Climate Bill
* Include specific greenhouse gas emission targets in the Bill.
* Use the government’s own definition of low carbon in the Climate Bill.
* Establish a Climate Change Advisory Council on an independent footing similar to the Fiscal Advisory Council.
* Put in place a National Mitigation Plan to reduce emissions now.
Ian Carey, spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar said:
“This EU school report on Ireland’s Climate Change progress must be startling to the Government, whose commitment seems only to meet the EU 2020 targets – They are being told in no uncertain terms that they will only achieve 3% as against the 20% target – In anybody’s school report that would be a fail.
“The report also points to a lack of investment in public transport, especially rail. We have only 5 years to 2020, so we must urgently invest now to have any impact on our poor performance.”
“An interesting point in the report is the fact that although there are carbon taxes, methane and nitrous oxide emissions are not included. Methane contributes at least 24 times more to climate warming than carbon dioxide – This is of interest to Ireland, as agriculture is a major contributor of methane. We are all paying Carbon Taxes – why should agriculture not pay its real share?”
“The report not only fails us for what we haven’t done it also fails us for lack of progress in finding an integrated way of meeting our binding climate and energy targets for the period up to 2020. We have failed this exam and will fail the resit unless we strengthen the bill.”
The working document is not the final country specific report and is not considered the official position of the Commission. It is however a good indication of what will appear in the final report.