Ireland a ‘delinquent country’ on climate change

Climate expert Prof John Sweeney says failure to move on emission cuts could cause reputational damage

Ireland is a delinquent country given its failure to respond adequately to climate change. It could cause reputational damage for the country that will “sooner or later come home to roost”.

The caustic view on the national response to changing climate is expressed in a blog by Prof John Sweeney of Maynooth University, who is attending the COP22 meeting in Marrakesh.

Minister for Climate Action Denis Naughten addressed the assembly on Thursday, describing Ireland’s plans for a climate dialogue and a mitigation and adaptation strategy.

Prof Sweeney noted, however, that Mr Naughten did not mention Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions were rising rather than falling.


“But then again Ireland’s position is beginning to be well known in the wider world as a delinquent country when it comes to walking the walk rather than talking the talk about climate change,” Prof Sweeney wrote.

Pathetic contribution

He commented on the country’s “pathetic” contribution to the Green Climate Fund, an effort to mobilise $100 billion (€93.3bn) annually in aid to help developing countries to reach their climate targets.

So far €37.2 billion has been raised, with Sweden contributing €46.65 per capita and Denmark pledging €9.33, Prof Sweeney said.

“Ireland, with the second highest GDP per capita in the EU and one of the highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita, has pledged €0.53,” he wrote in an earlier blog.

The latest figures from the Environmental Protection Agency show Ireland is unlikely to meet EU emission-reduction targets for at least this year and 2017.

Agriculture emissions are projected to increase 7 per cent up to 2020, and transport by 16 per cent.

Prof Sweeney’s blogs are being published by An Taisce.

Dick Ahlstrom

Dick Ahlstrom

Dick Ahlstrom, a contributor to The Irish Times, is the newspaper's former Science Editor.