How Ireland Lags on Climate Action
The information coming from the UN IPCC 5th ASSESSMENT REPORT is overwhelming in communicating the scale of the global climate crisis. The lead must be taken by developed countries, including Ireland, to achieve the emission reductions that climate science requires. Ireland has no climate mitigation and adaptation strategy in place.
Ireland is currently bound to the EU target of reducing emissions by 20% on 2005 levels by 2020. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that in the non Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) sectors, Ireland will exceed its EU Effort Sharing Directive (ESD) target by 2017 and may have a cumulative excess emissions of 2-20Mt by 2020 in agriculture, transport and home heating. In effect, Ireland is not bothering to co-ordinate any concerted effort to reduce emissions and embrace low carbon development.
Furthermore, Ireland has no strategic planning in place to play its part, if the overall EU target is to be stepped up to 30% in the context of a global agreement on climate change.
The EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has collapsed by failing to put the climate pollution impact price on carbon.
Irish Government Departments and State bodies are indifferent to climate impact and mitigation; for example:
The Department of Agriculture adopted a “Food Harvest 2020” to increase milk yield by 50% and beef output value by 40% without considering climate emissions or fodder production capacity.
The National Roads Authority is using the limited national investment capacity to build more motorways and currently proposing to add a lane to the M7, to filter more traffic into Dublin from Co Kildare when there are ample public transport alternatives on this corridor.
An Bord Pleanála has sent out the worst possible signal in disregarding national “Smarter Travel” policy in granting recent permission for major expansion of car based retail outlets at Liffey Valley and Kildare Village.
Policies to encourage the increased use of biofuel imports are causing environmental damage in other countries. Ireland imports coal, oil and gas to the value of approximately €6 billion annually. There is no programme in place of the scale required to insulate homes and reduce energy use to reduce this dependence.
Bord na Mona is seeking to continue using the most carbon-polluting fuel, namely peat, for power generation for decades more.
The continuing extraction of peat for domestic fuel and horticulture is unregulated and untaxed, with continuing loss of a carbon sink. The Irish carbon burden is much more serious in long term impact than the amount of financial debt. We are liquidating the planet for short term profit.
The scale of action needed to be taken in Ireland is immense. The programme required to reduce climate emissions needs to be considered as comparable to a wartime emergency.
For further information, please call:
James Nix, Policy Director, An Taisce +353 1 7077062
Ian Lumley, Heritage Officer, An Taisce +353 1 7077062
Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce +353 87 2411995
An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland