Government withdrawal of support for EU energy savings fund shows climate indifference - An Taisce
An Taisce is dismayed at reports today by Euractiv  that An Taoiseach Enda Kenny allegedly ordered Irish MEP, Seán Kelly, to drop his support for a €5 billion ring-fence for energy efficiency projects in the €315-billion Juncker Investment Plan.
Speaking on the move, Tomás Bradley Planning & Environmental Policy Officer asked:
“Why are Fine Gael intent on locking Ireland into fossil fuel dependence in a time of energy uncertainty? Annual imports of fossil fuels come to €6.5 billion. Here is an opportunity for Ireland to reduce this cost and avail of funding through energy efficiency schemes.”
The move appears to be entirely political and as a result of pressure from European People’s Party (EPP) of which Enda Kenny is a leader. However, outside of the politics, there is an overriding necessity for positive steps to be taken to fund energy efficiency measures which would address critical challenges of energy uncertainty and climate change.
Ireland has major issues in energy efficiency which it needs to address in power generation, home heating and transport. However, the current National Energy Efficiency Plan is deficient in terms of legal force, scope, timetables and targets.
Given that projected total agricultural emissions will grow, the government's energy policy needs to acknowledge that a corresponding additional decrease in total energy emissions is required by immediately making greatly increased investments in energy efficiency, energy conservation and decarbonisation of energy supply.
Mr Bradley continued:
“Enda Kenny, while playing the political game, has not remotely grasped the fundamental problems of a poorly insulated national building stock and inefficient fossil fuel use nationally. Regrettably, his move is counter productive to several priorities of the government Energy Green Paper published in May 2014.”
Furthermore, this move is contrary to and inconsistent with An Taoiseach's own words from his address to UN Secretary General's Climate Change Summit, New York, 23 September 2014 where he stated: ''Leaders must show conviction, clarity, courage and consistency in their actions [to climate change]'' .
By any assessment, An Taoiseach is sending mixed messages on the climate to suit his own political ends. Unfortunately, Climate Change is indifferent to An Taoiseach's political pandering.
For further information, please call:
Tomás Bradley, Planning & Environmental Policy Officer, An Taisce Tel: +353 1 454 1786
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland