Share

Expert Council calls for ‘urgent new measures’ from Government to reverse Ireland’s worsening climate change record

Campaigners demand immediate revision of Government’s weak National Mitigation Plan on foot of Advisory Council report and Citizens’ Assembly recommendations

December 6 2017, 10:35am

Today (5 December 2017), the Climate Change Advisory Council produced its first Annual Review of Ireland’s action on climate change. The Council, an independent statutory body established under the 2015 Climate Act, has emphasised that the Government’s strategy on climate change (the National Mitigation Plan), produced just 5 months ago, does not put Ireland on a pathway to meeting its national or EU commitments and calls for new measures to be immediately put in place across all sectors of the economy. The Council states that the pace and scale of Government action to reduce polluting emissions must be accelerated. The Council also highlights that Ireland is still over-reliant on fossil fuels and that this dependence is hugely damaging for our climate and our health.

Jerry Mac Evilly, policy coordinator for the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, commented,

We welcome the Advisory Council’s clear conclusion that the climate actions listed in the National Mitigation Plan are simply insufficient. Minister Naughten must now revise Ireland’s climate strategy on foot of the Council’s recommendations, as well as the mandate recently provided by the Citizens’ Assembly.

Just last week the Environmental Protect Agency highlighted that Ireland’s polluting emissions are rising at an alarming rate and that an immediate change of approach is needed if Ireland is to reap the benefits of a low-carbon economy.”

Cliona Sharkey, policy adviser at Trócaire, commented,

 “The Advisory Council’s report makes for disturbing reading. After 5 years without any plan on climate change, it is extremely disappointing that the Government’s recent strategy does not even fulfil its fundamental purpose – to make sure Ireland cuts polluting emissions so that we meet our own national and EU commitments.

We fully support the Council’s recommendation that a clear strategy is needed to phase out fossil fuels with much greater action across all sectors. These measures are critical not only for Ireland but also for developing countries which are most impacted by climate change.

Minister Naughten is expected to face tough questions on Ireland’s pollution record and his climate strategy this Thursday (7 December) when he presents the Government’s annual statement on Ireland’s climate action to the Dáil.

The recommendations recently produced by the Citizens’ Assembly highlight that the Irish public is prepared to back immediate and strong action to tackle climate change.  On the 5th of November, the Assembly voted to make 13 common-sense, practical recommendations for state action on climate change.

ENDS

The Climate Change Advisory Council is an independent statutory body, established under the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Act 2015. Its role is to review national climate policy and advise government on how Ireland can move to a low carbon, climate resilient economy and society by 2050.The Annual Review is available to download at http://www.climatecouncil.ie/councilpublications/annualreviewandreport/

Minister Naughten will come before the Dáil at 2.10pm on Thursday 7th of December to deliver the Government’s second annual statement on Ireland’s action on climate change. The Transition Statement is also scheduled to be presented in the Seanad by Minister Creed and Minister Murphy in the evening of Wednesday 6 December. In view of the delivery of the Annual Transition Statement, the Stop Climate Chaos coalition has prepared a briefing for TDs and Senators.

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact Mr. Jerry Mac Evilly, Policy Coordinator, Stop Climate Chaos Coalition: jerry@stopclimatechaos.ie

Notes for the Editor

Stop Climate Chaos  is the civil society coalition campaigning for Ireland to do its fair share to tackle climate change. The Coalition’s 33 members include overseas aid and development, environmental, youth and faith-based organisations.

The recommendations, presentations and transcripts from the Citizens’ Assembly's examination of climate change are available at www.citizensassembly.ie

Information on Ireland’s climate action

  • On the 27th of November, the Environmental Protection Agency released its latest analysis which shows that Ireland’s emissions increased markedly in 2016, following another substantial increase in 2015. National emissions increased by over 7% in just two years with significant increases across all the main polluting sectors. 
  • Earlier in November, the EU’s independent advisory body on climate change, the European Environment Agency, produced its annual overview of emissions reductions. Ireland is the third highest producer of emissions per person in the EU and is one of seven EU Member States which is set to miss its EU 2020 emission reduction targets under the EU Effort Sharing Decision. Crucially, Ireland is the only one of this group where emissions are predicted to continue to rise.
  • Also in November, Ireland was ranked the worst performing country in Europe for action on climate change. The Climate Change Performance Index, which is produced annually on the basis of joint analysis by two leading European think-tanks, placed Ireland 49th out of 56 countries, a drop of 28 places from last year.
  • The Government has pushed for the inclusion of several loopholes in EU legislation currently under negotiation concerning reductions in polluting emissions to be made by Member States between 2021 and 2030. The weak provisions as currently proposed would see Ireland’s required efforts going from a 10% additional reduction in emissions to just 1%. In relation to renewable energy legislation also being negotiated in Brussels, the Government is proposing that our 2030 target should be no higher than our 2020 target and is resisting EU initiatives to get us to do more.
  • Ireland’s reputation among EU partners has suffered as the Irish Government has repeatedly called for less demanding obligations rather than planning on how to meet them, thereby undermining rather than supporting EU collective action on climate change. See Editorial by the Times here (final section). See articles by the Irish Times, the Irish Examiner, two articles by Politico (here and here), as well as Climate Change News.
  • The Government is lagging behind the public on support for climate action. In a recent Eurobarometer poll, of all 28 EU member states Irish people responded most favourably to the statement "Fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently can boost the economy and jobs in the EU" (88%). The poll shows that Ireland is 4th strongest on the need for our own government to "increase the amount of renewable energy used, such as wind or solar power, by 2030". 96% of 1,021 respondents in Ireland said that was important or very important.