Fine Gael and the climate emergency

 

Sir, – On May 10th, under the leadership of Fine Gael, Ireland became the second country in the world to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency. This was an important step in recognising the unique threat climate change poses to our way of life. This is an important issue for us, and we are aware of the consequences if we fail to act now.

Fine Gael and the European People’s Party (EPP) have been unjustly accused of being too pragmatic, too focused on the broader picture and on a sustainable solution. In the past five years, Fine Gael and the EPP did more to tackle climate change than any other parliamentary mandate, something Fintan O’Toole conveniently chooses to ignore (“We must vote for survival of our species on Friday”, Opinion & Analysis, May 21st).

The EPP is the biggest supporter of finding a sustainable solution for the agricultural sector. Through legislation we supported, we were able to grant a limited and strictly controlled extension for the use of glyphosate, which is used by almost all Irish farmers, who have no alternative; if they cannot use it, their farms will struggle or disappear.

We legislated to safeguard our health and food safety and were able to do so without destroying a sector and the livelihoods that depend on it.

Our political group in Europe has led reforms and the emissions trading systems by putting a limit on how much C02 heavy industry can emit. We have ensured companies have flexibility to cut their emissions without cutting jobs.

The EPP and Fine Gael representatives have led efforts to introduce targets for EU countries for the next decades that limit greenhouse gas emissions in sectors such as transport, buildings, agriculture and waste.

We have offered a sustainable solution that will allow us to achieve our climate goals.

The EPP, which Fine Gael MEPs will be part of, took action to reduce plastic waste. Through this initiative we ensured our oceans will be plastic free, our beaches clean and the use of plastic gradually phased out.

We have set ambitious, realistic and achievable C02 emission standards for new cars, vans and trucks.

A lot remains to be done but with Fine Gael representation in the EPP as a leading political actor, we will always look at the bigger picture and offer sustainable solutions that take our citizens’ challenges and concerns into consideration.– Yours, etc,

SEAN KELLY MEP,

Fine Gael leader

in the European

Parliament;

MAIREAD

McGUINNESS MEP,

First Vice-President

of European Parliament;

DEIRDRE CLUNE MEP;

ANDREW DOYLE TD,

Minister of State;

FRANCES

FITZGERALD TD;

MARIA WALSH;

Fine Gael

Headquarters,

Mount Street Upper,

Dublin 2.