Ireland urged to boost climate record instead of judging Trump

Government accused of acting like a ‘chancer’ and ‘laggard’ on meeting climate targets

If the Government fails to meet EU emissions targets by 2020 it could face a fine of between €140 million to €600 million. Photograph: Frank Miller

Ireland is in no position to lecture other countries on their contribution to climate action given the State's failure to meet greenhouse gas emissions targets, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has said.

Mr Ryan said Ireland was building a reputation as “the least ambitious country” in the EU when to comes to battling climate change by failing to meet the 2020 EU emissions targets.

He said the Government was still refusing to accept the long-term benefits of a clean economic revolution in the areas of energy, transport, food and waste.

“They see it as a cost that will be imposed, something to be avoided, something that you only do at the last minute.”


Oisín Coghlan, director of Friends of the Earth Ireland, accused the Government of being a “chancer” and “laggard” on meeting its climate commitments.

He warned that US president Donald Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement could have a “chilling effect” on the climate action of countries falling behind on their commitments and embolden those resisting action.

Mr Coghlan also criticised the Government for producing a “hopeless” draft climate change plan earlier this year. “The Government argues we have unfair targets but the primary reason is we haven’t tried.”

The Environmental Protection Agency announced in April that the State was set to be one of only two EU States who will not meet the emissions targets by 2020. Luxembourg is also expected to miss its targets. If the Government fails to meet these legally binding targets by 2020 it could face a fine of between €140 million to €600 million.

Minister for Climate Action Denis Naughten said he was extremely disappointed by Mr Trump’s decision last week and that the US president was “sacrificing the future of today’s children in the hope of sustaining an unsustainable and dirty fossil fuel industry”.

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak

Sorcha Pollak is an Irish Times reporter and cohost of the In the News podcast