Fine Gael's Foundation for Government document shows they still have their heads in the sand on climate change
April 8 2016, 02:30pm
Stop Climate Chaos has today said that Fine Gael’s A New Partnership Government: A Foundation Document misses the mark on climate change. Despite spanning nine pages, the climate change section fails to include any reference to agreed climate targets from the National Policy Position which was introduced under Fine Gael in the 31st Dáil.
Commenting, Ciara Kirrane, Coordinator of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, said:
"The document’s climate change section outlines the challenges but says little about how Ireland will fulfil its commitments to immediately reduce harmful emissions across all sectors under the Climate Act agreed in December. There is also no mention of related targets outlined in the 2014 National Policy Position which sets an objective of 80% reductions by 2050 in energy, buildings and transport and carbon neutrality in agriculture.
"We’re in a very precarious situation at the moment. The EPA stated only last month that Ireland will miss our EU2020 emissions reduction commitments, which require Ireland to reduce our emissions by 20% by the year 2020. Instead the EPA project we will have reduced emissions by a mere 6-11% by the 2020 deadline. Analysis from Green Budget Europe shows that Ireland’s performance is the second worst in Europe, and that Ireland could in fact become the worst performer if Luxembourg’s figures are updated. This would not only be extremely embarrassing for Ireland but failure to comply with the commitments we have agreed to will result in costly fines, with some putting estimates of these fines into the billions of euro.
The document is also weak on Ireland’s two most challenging sectors – transport and agriculture. By 2020 these two sectors will account for over three quarters of Ireland’s emissions in the non-ETS sector. Ms Kirrane continued:
"The only measures mentioned in the document relating to agriculture are about improving efficiency but this is completely inadequate. If we are to address the overall impact of agriculture we have to urgently introduce measures that reduce total emissions from the sector.
"The document implies that Ireland can be a world leader on climate change without doing much to address the causes of climate change. There are bold statements about Ireland wanting to reposition itself as a global leader, but in practice we know that Ireland is doing very little. Disturbingly it seems that if anything, Ireland is acting as an impediment to increasing action and ambition at the European level.
"In two weeks’ time world leaders will travel to New York to sign the Paris Agreement on climate action. Our Taoiseach was in Paris in December for the historic summit which led to the Agreement. Now the real work of making immediate, large and sustained whole-economy emission reductions begins. In our view, attendance at the signing ceremony will signal whether Ireland is serious or not about our intent to align our society and economic future with meeting the Paris Agreement climate targets."
Notes to editors:
- EPA figures were released on 7th March 2016 http://www.epa.ie/newsandevents/news/pressreleases2016/name,59044,en.html#.VwdoDdygrIU
- Green Budget Europe’s analysis is available at http://green-budget.eu/ireland-is-the-second-worst-in-europe-for-climate-change-emissions/
- The Department of Public expenditure and Reform produced the following document on potential fines for Ireland due to failure to meet the 2020 EU climate targets: http://igees.gov.ie/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Future-Expenditure-Risks-associated-with-Climate-Change-Climate-Finance1.pdf
- The non-ETS sector covers emissions from agriculture, transport, residential, commercial, non-energy intensive industry and waste sectors which fall outside of the EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme.