Government committed to path for deep emission cuts - Naughten

€30bn under NDP for transition to low carbon society a step change, Minister says

The latest UN report on climate change ‘paints in stark terms the reality of the impact of our current trajectory of global emissions,’ Denis Naughten said. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

The latest UN report on climate change ‘paints in stark terms the reality of the impact of our current trajectory of global emissions,’ Denis Naughten said. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

The Government is fully committed to placing Ireland on the trajectory to deliver the deep emissions reductions needed, the Minister for Climate Action and Environment has said.

The latest UN report on climate change “paints in stark terms the reality of the impact of our current trajectory of global emissions, and the world we will be living in later this century” if collective ambition for action does not increase, Denis Naughten said.

“The Government’s commitment to direct almost €30 billion under the National Development Plan (NDP) to address the transition to a low-carbon and climate-resilient society represents a step change in the funding available for climate action over the next decade,” he said.

This week at a meeting of EU environment ministers, Ireland will be calling for increased ambition, “of at least 40 per cent improvements and as far as technically possible beyond that, in the level of CO2 emissions for new cars and vans under vehicle emissions standards,” he added.

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan said the report “shows the scale of the challenge we face in avoiding the most dangerous levels of global warming,” he said the NDP “will have to go”. “It follows a business-as-usual model when what we need is a radical transformation to our energy, transport, land use and industrial systems.”

There was a need to “end our use of fossil fuels in a single generation, transitioning our work-force to a low-carbon economy in a fair and just manner”.

Taking that leap was going to be good for society and the economy, he added. “We will have to reduce our national herd but can do so in a way which pays farmers properly for managing our land. We have renewable energy in abundance which can power our country into the future.

“Our over reliance on the private car is not working for anyone. Switching to public transport, walking and cycling will allow us build healthier and stronger communities for everyone.”

Ireland’s largest environmental coalition, the Environmental Pillar, said it was deeply concerned by reports that the Government was set to row back on increases in carbon and diesel taxes – given the scale of the climate challenge highlighted in the UN IPCC report. These measures were “vital to tackle out of control emissions, protect our health and environment, and bring in additional revenue”.

“If the Government decides to weaken its resolve on both carbon and diesel now, it will send a very weak message to the world and the people of Ireland about its commitment to tackle out of control emissions,” its spokesman said.