A major new report on climate change provides a “very stark and real wake-up call” for governments around the world, Sinn Féin has said.
The report by leading climate scientists published on Monday provides evidence that unless there are large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, “limiting warming to close to 1.5 degrees or even 2 degrees will be beyond reach”.
“It provides a very stark and real wake-up call for governments across the world. There is a need to respond in kind with the types of policy that address it,” Sinn Féin TD Darren O’Rourke said.
“Fundamental to the effort around climate change needs to be bringing people with us. It is clear in our mind that measures that are punitive, carbon taxes, increases in fuel and electricity prices, will not do and will not suffice.”
He said more needs to be done to facilitate people in remote areas to travel without cars.
“In the area of transport, we have been critical of this Government in terms of their investment in public transport, their need to expand particularly in rural areas to provide people with real alternatives when it comes to making decisions that are climate relevant. The opportunities aren’t there yet.”
Senator Lynn Boylan said there is a tight window to turn the situation around.
"That means banning the importation of fracked gas which is releasing huge volumes of methane and destroying local communities. The Irish Government needs to be able to ban fuels like LNG without the fear of legal action from fossil fuel companies.
"Minister Eamon Ryan should join his French and Spanish counterparts and demand that the EU leave the Energy Charter Treaty. A treaty that facilitates energy companies to sue governments for making policy changes has no place in a Paris-compliant future."
“The pandemic has given us a test run of what’s required to deal with a global crisis which is what climate change is. But you can’t do it without direct state involvement. We are calling on the Government to take the position that the Spanish and French have around the Energy Charter Treaty, which is that there is no room or space for a treaty that includes in it the potential for governments to be sued for actions they take by energy companies.”
“We need to be able to take action and change our energy sources,” she said.