Lisbon crucial to 'reduce emissions'


Ireland can exert an influence on climate change through its membership of the European Union, Taoiseach Brian Cowen has said.

Mr Cowen is due to travel to the US later today for a special United Nations Summit on Climate Change in New York tomorrow.

He said today climate change is a clear example of the increasing need for international and global cooperation in response to the challenges of the 21st century.

“Ireland’s policy and contribution on tackling climate change is increasingly shaped by our membership of the European Union, where we in turn can exert influence on the wider world,” he said.

Mr Cowen said Ireland “sought and secured” EU agreement to the explicit inclusion of combating climate change as an EU competence in the Lisbon Treaty.

He said the issue of climate change demonstrated the importance and effectiveness of the EU to its citizens and the wider global community.

While at the UN the Taoiseach will also meet with several other heads of governments and state and corporate leaders.

On Wednesday morning, he will attend the United Nations General Assembly which will include an address by President Obama, before returning to Dublin on Wednesday afternoon.

The New York summit has been convened by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to muster support for a new international deal on reducing emissions ahead of the Copenhagen conference in December.

The EU has taken a global lead on climate change with a unilateral 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and a commitment to step-up this target to 30 per cent in the event of world leaders reaching an effective and meaningful deal in December.

“Ireland fully supports the EU policy in tackling climate change and the important role it is playing in the lead up to Copenhagen,” Mr Cowen said.