€23m climate fund announced


Minister for the Environment John Gormley has announced details of a new €23 million funding package to help developing countries address climate change.

The initiative forms part of a commitment made in December 2009 when Ireland agreed to make a contribution of up to €100 million towards a three-year so-called "fast-start" finance package for some of the world's poorest nations.

Ireland's pledge followed on from a European Council meeting last December where a total EU pledge of €7.2 billion was agreed.

Mr Gormley, who announced details of the package in Dublin today, defended the decision of the Government to provide the funding at a time when Ireland had been forced to seek a €85 billion EU/IMF bailout.

"It goes without saying that Ireland is facing severe economic difficulties, which are impacting on the lives of our people. But we also have to remember that climate change is threatening the lives and safety of many through drought, flooding, lower agricultural productivity and more frequent and severe heat waves and storms,"he said.

"Ireland has a proud tradition of giving and assistance. We recognise as a nation that there are others in greater need, and that we have a responsibility in this regard," Mr Gormley added.

Green Party colleague and Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Climate Change Ciarán Cuffe also defended the programme.

"A significant proportion of the world's population continue to live in persistent severe poverty and hunger on a scale which is often unimaginable for many people in Ireland, " he said.

"Climate change is and will continue disproportionately affect those who are already poor and vulnerable and who have done least to cause the problem," he added.