Ireland is falling behind its EU counterparts due to failure to decrease polluting carbon emissions, the chair of An Taisce's Climate Change Committee has said.
In response to Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe's latest report analysing the climate action performance of EU member states, Phil Kearney said "the Government has continued to trumpet supposed exceptionalism and push for loopholes in EU legislation which serves to undermine EU-wide progress on climate change".
It was “extremely concerning to see Ireland again labelled as a laggard in terms of domestic and EU climate action”, he added.
The CAN report highlighted the critical need for Ireland to urgently implement the recent Citizens’ Assembly proposals and increase ambition in accordance with Paris Agreement commitments, Mr Kearney said.
"This report reaffirms what we know, that political leadership is urgently needed to turn Ireland's record around on climate change," said Niamh Garvey, head of policy and advocacy with Trócaire, which is a member of CAN.
“Bold, ambitious action is in all our interests, and is a moral imperative in light of the devastating impacts climate change is already having on the poorest communities in developing countries,” she said.
Despite welcome recognition by the Taoiseach in January of Ireland's position as "a climate laggard" and commitments to change this, "six months on it appears Ireland's reputation when it comes to climate action is stagnating, not improving", said Christian Aid policy and advocacy advisor Jennifer Higgins.
“This dismal ranking highlights the inadequacies of current policies and plans to fulfil our fair share of the global effort to deliver on the Paris Agreement,” she added.
“It should be a clear signal to [THE]Government to rapidly remedy this by revising the current National Mitigation Plan,” said Ms Higgins - who was among a large number of environmental experts who contributed to the report.