Belfast Telegraph

Ireland ‘lacking in delivery’ in fight against climate change, says Bruton

The Environment Minister said the country ‘cannot countenance’ another such failure.

Irish Environment Minister Richard Bruton said that Ireland needs to do more to deliver its fight against climate change.
Irish Environment Minister Richard Bruton said that Ireland needs to do more to deliver its fight against climate change.

The Environment Minister says Ireland has been “lacking” in its fight against climate change as the country is set to miss its targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions by next year.

Richard Bruton said the country “cannot countenance” another such failure.

Ireland set a target of 2020 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below what they were in 2005, but forecasts suggest the figure will be just 1%.

The Government recently released its climate action plan, which sets out a number of ambitious targets to make Ireland cleaner and more energy efficient.

The Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment said climate disruption is the biggest challenge facing this generation.

Ireland has not been lacking in ambition, but in delivery Richard Bruton

Speaking at the Mac Gill Summer School in Glenties, Co Donegal, he said: “Ireland has not been lacking in ambition, but in delivery.

“There has been no roadmap, no coherent strategy that would in fact deliver on the commitments made. We cannot countenance another such failure.

“That is why the Government’s Climate Action Plan has taken a completely different approach.

“In building up the plan, we have recognised the importance of building consensus on the issues.

“The plan builds on the work of the Citizens Assembly and Committee and includes actions to ensure we engage people on the challenges and opportunities.”

He said the climate action plan will ensure the country reaches its 2030 targets, and puts Ireland “on a trajectory” to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

He called for an immediate start to tackling climate change.

“The plan envisages radical change. In 2030, we will have five times the amount of renewables on our grid that we have today.

“Thirty-three percent of the cars on our road will be fully electric or hybrids. No new car purchased from that year on will be fuelled by fossils, compared to 98% that are purchased today.

“When you are doing your weekly shopping, all the plastic in your local supermarket will be fully recyclable, food waste will be halved, 30% of our homes will be fuelled by renewable heat (compared to) 2% today.

“Symbolic gestures will do nothing to solve the climate crisis. There are no silver bullets.

“Responding to this crisis requires action across the board, led by the Government, with structures in place to ensure accountability.”

He added that the plan is built on three principles.

“Pursuing the policies which offer the least burden and greatest opportunity, recognising the need to support those most exposed and least equipped to meet the challenge, and ensuring every section of society make their fair contribution, while Government leads,” he said.

“To sustain this contract, we will engage in continuous monitoring and open feedback to ensure the policies we have in place are the best ones for our country.

“The greatest strides in the history of civilisation have been in societies challenged by the need to meet huge change. This is a challenge to our creative capacity.”

PA

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