Green Party Communications | 26.09.2014
Friday 26 September 2014, Dublin.
The Green Party has today criticised the government's approach to tackling climate change, with progress to date limited to rhetoric. Comments by Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the Climate Change Summit, New York, this week that, "Ireland will play its role as part of the EU contribution to the global effort", and that Ireland was "working within the EU to ensure a fair and effective burden-sharing of the EU’s overall commitment," belie the fact that the government are actively campaigning for the lowest emissions targets possible.
New Green Party Climate Change Spokesperson, Dr. Cara Augustenborg, has criticised the Taoiseach's handling of Ireland's climate responsibilities, saying today: "The reality is that the European Union is surrendering its leadership position on climate change, and our government is one of the most active when it comes to watering down emissions targets and abdicating from responsibility on the issue.
"Without a stronger commitment to decarbonisation, we simply will not meet our 2020 targets. To date, the Irish government have repeatedly expended precious political capital in European negotiations in an attempt to lower our contribution to the reductions in emissions that the Union has to commit to for 2030.
"In every area of the State we are missing targets and deadlines. The government have secured a special exemption to avoid emissions reductions in the agriculture sector; civil servants in the Department of Transport have briefed new Minister Paschal Donohoe that his Department will fail to meet its necessary contribution; and in the energy sector, the proposed 2030 targets for renewable energy will lead to an actual fall in the existing level of investment.
"We may be a small island, but we have some of the highest per-capita emissions in the world. We have a responsibility to act, but the economic opportunities opening up in the clean energy sector are also being squandered. Over the last three years, Labour and Fine Gael have done absolutely nothing to show they are taking the climate crisis seriously. Rather than seizing the opportunity to make the economic recovery green and innovative, the Taoiseach is protecting vested interests and the economic model that has already failed the environment. He talks about Ireland being a world leader in delivering new low-carbon technologies, but current economic policy is driving us in the opposite direction.
"The Green Party joins with Irish environmental organisations to call on the current government to push for strong climate legislation, with a commitment to 100% decarbonisation of the country's power system by 2040, and carbon-neutrality in Irish agriculture by 2050. Strong goals to reduce emissions are critical to preventing runaway climate change, and modernising Irish society to compete with the emerging global clean energy economy."
Notes for Editors:
The Green Party is delighted to announce the addition of Dr. Cara Augustenborg to its team of spokespeople. Cara has a doctorate in Environmental Science and Engineering, and has worked on a wide range of environmental issues in Ireland, from water quality to renewable energy.
In 2013, Cara was selected as Ireland’s first Climate Leader by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, and in 2008, she was sponsored by Ben & Jerry’s to participate in an Arctic expedition and report on the effects of climate change in the polar region.
Cara is the Managing Director of an environmental research consultancy and an occasional lecturer in climate change and environment at University College Dublin. She is also on the Board of Directors of Friends of the Earth Ireland, the Irish Environmental Network, and the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland.
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Follow Cara on twitter: @CAugustenborg
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Contact Cara by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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