Belfast Telegraph

Ireland among worst-performing European countries for climate action – report

In this year’s Climate Change Performance Index, Ireland ranked 41st out of 57 countries worldwide.

A painter puts the finishing touches to a display stand at the COP25 climate summit in Madrid, Spain (Paul White/AP)
A painter puts the finishing touches to a display stand at the COP25 climate summit in Madrid, Spain (Paul White/AP)

By Aoife Moore, PA

Ireland ranked among the worst-performing European countries for climate action, according a global report.

The 2020 Climate Change Performance Index, launched on Tuesday at the UN Climate Conference (COP25) in Madrid, shows that although Ireland has slightly improved its position since last year, it still ranks among some of the worst-performing countries in Europe.

Germanwatch, the NewClimate Institute and the Climate Action Network publish the Index annually.

In this year’s index, using data from 2017, Ireland ranked 41st out of 57 countries worldwide, moving up from the group of “very low” to “low” performers.

In greenhouse gas emissions, Ireland ranked third from bottom for EU countries.

The Government must go much further in implementing policies across all sectors that drive sustained emissions reductions over the next decade 2020 Climate Change Performance Index report

The ranking is an improvement on last year, moving up by seven places, after Ireland was ranked the worst EU performer.

The report reads: “Ireland’s GHG (greenhouse gas) per capita emissions remain at a relatively high level, and significant challenges lie ahead in closing Ireland’s emissions gap, meeting the (current) 2030 target and aligning Ireland’s emissions trajectory with a net zero goal for 2050.

“Therefore, the country still ranks among the bottom ten performers in this indicator.”

The report also criticises “the significant lack of progress in decarbonising key parts of the economy, mainly in agriculture, road transport and the residential sector”.

It said: “The Government must go much further in implementing policies across all sectors that drive sustained emissions reductions over the next decade.”

On a positive note for the Government, the index report welcomed Ireland’s new proposals set out in the 2019 Climate Action Plan, including putting the 2050 target into law and introducing legally binding five-year carbon budgets.

Campaigners have long criticised Environment Minister Richard Bruton’s policies on the climate emergency, which they say do not go far enough to tackle the issues.

Catherine Devitt, head of policy at the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, said: “Ireland’s polluting emissions remain on an upward trend, the Government has yet to join other member states in calling for the EU to urgently raise its ambition in line with the Paris Agreement, and the scale of 2% emissions cuts per year presented in the Government’s action plan is wholly inadequate.

If the Government is serious about wanting to improve its reputation on climate change and to do its fair share of the global effort, there needs to be a frontloading of concrete action across all sectors to ensure the scale of reductions needed can be delivered Catherine Devitt, Stop Climate Chaos Coalition

“The science and the mounting evidence clearly demonstrates that we need far-reaching transformation across all aspects of society.

“If the Government is serious about wanting to improve its reputation on climate change and to do its fair share of the global effort, there needs to be a frontloading of concrete action across all sectors to ensure the scale of reductions needed can be delivered.”

The publication of the CCPI report comes as Mr Bruton is expected to participate in the high level segment on December 10 and 11 at COP25, where heads of state and government will make national statements on increasing their targets.

Fianna Fail’s Lisa Chambers said the report is no cause for celebration.

“The report shows that the country is now in the ignominious position of being worst on climate action in western Europe and still among the top 20 worst performers globally,” she said.

“It is shameful and hugely damaging to our international reputation that this expert analysis again shows up Ireland’s response as being completely inadequate to the climate crisis.

“It is noted in the report that major challenges lie ahead in closing Ireland’s emissions gap, meeting our 2030 target and aligning emissions with a 2050 net zero goal.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment said the report does not take into account its new policy arrangements for climate, adding: “This report, prepared by a German climate NGO, based on 2017 data and interviews from other NGOs, highlights the urgency of the work the Government are doing with the Climate Action Plan.

“The Climate Action Plan, launched earlier this year, will ensure Ireland will reach our 2030 targets and will put us on the right trajectory to meet net zero emissions by 2050.

“The plan have actions across all sectors of society and will have timelines with clear lines of responsibility.”

PA

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