WHEN are we going to properly turn the corner as regards reducing greenhouse gas emissions? In spite of all the government talk of climate action plans into the future, the latest Environmental Protection Agency report tells us that, while emissions have reduced overall by a minute 0.2%, key areas such as agriculture, transport and households showed increases in 2018, making it impossible for Ireland to achieve the 20% reduction from 2005 levels by 2020 that it committed to 15 years ago. It now seems that the overall reduction over the period in question could be as little as 1%.
An Taisce pointed out that Ireland has exceeded its annual EU emissions budget for the third year in a row and said that ‘it is surely impossible for any politician to credibly claim that we are anywhere near taking the appropriate action on emissions.’ This was backed up by the Green Party who said that the latest statistics make it patently clear that the government’s climate strategy is not working and has to radically change: ‘Fine Gael talks the talk but are unable to walk the walk when it comes to switching to a low-carbon future.’
Somewhat miffed by the criticism, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton, TD, acknowledged that, while emissions have fallen for a second year in a row, the decrease is too small. He pointed out that the figures reflect the position prior to the publication of his Climate Action Plan.
Minister Bruton also hears the EPA’s call for the swift implementation of the plan: ‘This is our pathway forward and today’s results underline the urgency of implementing the actions in the Plan across government.
‘We have a brief opportunity to act and we must act now. The government is determined to deliver.’
Fine words indeed, but urgent action is needed more.