Climate change and policy

 

Sir, – Your editorial detailing Ireland’s ongoing inaction on climate change is welcome (“Inaction and lack of vision exposed”, March 10th). We agree that the latest projections by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) make for “grim reading”.

However, the truly grim situation is that such warnings are neither new nor surprising. Throughout the last Dáil term, a series of warnings came from the EPA, the European Commission, and others, highlighting that Ireland is failing to reduce its emissions as we have promised to.

Analyses both at international and national level have also repeatedly shown that unless rapid reductions are made in accordance with the best scientific information, vulnerable communities across the developing world will continue to suffer from a range of worsening social, environmental, economic and health-related impacts.

More grim news comes from Brussels, where Ireland appears increasingly out of step with EU ambition. At the recent meeting of the European environment ministers, Ireland did not support revising Europe’s 2030 target in light of the 1.5 degree commitments in the Paris climate agreement. Ireland’s stance undermines the leadership shown by the likes of Germany, France and UK.

Last December in Paris the Taoiseach said climate change “requires action by everybody – big and small. Ireland is determined to play its part”. Yet Ireland’s engagement with EU counterparts has largely focused on our “special circumstances”.

There is an immediate need to address the gap between the rhetoric and action on climate change.

Given that it may be some time before a new government is in place, an Oireachtas committee on climate action should be established immediately to provide parliamentary scrutiny and ensure the process of achieving necessary emissions reductions begins in earnest.

The Minister for the Environment must also change Ireland’s obstructive negotiating stance in Brussels. – Yours, etc,

CIARA KIRRANE,

Stop Climate Chaos,

Upper Mount Street,

Dublin 2.