Climate emergency declaration ‘crucial’ step forward


May 17th, 2019

The declaration of a climate emergency in several European countries is a “crucial” step forward, the Director-General for Climate Action at the European Commission said at a briefing in Dublin today.

Petriccione made the comment during an official visit to Dublin to discuss the
European Commission’s plan to achieve a climate neutral economy for the
European Union by 2050.

week, the Dail declared a climate and biodiversity emergency, one of the key demands of both the
student strikers and Extinction Rebellion. Both groups have held protests
across Ireland over the past number of months.

fact that you have people on the street every week is fundamental,” Director-General
Mauro Petriccione said at a media briefing this afternoon.

of them might not be voters now, but they will be soon. And I hope it’s going
to continue until we’ve put all right courses of action on track,” he

Petriccione also addressed the issues of carbon taxation during his media
briefing today, finding that it is, “is an instrument. It can work, but it
doesn’t always.

local carbon tax depends on circumstances, it isn’t a one size fits all. But
one thing is for certain: carbon pricing is essential and I think it’s
beginning to work,” he said.

At present, the current carbon tax in Ireland is set at €20 per tonne of carbon and brings in €440 million annually that goes directly to the Government’s main treasury account. It is set to rise to €80 by 2030.

Just this week, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland revealed that Ireland’s recent reduction in energy emissions will not suffice in meeting our 2020 EU target.

authority’s National Projections Report forecasts that 13 per cent of Ireland’s
energy will come from renewable sources by 2020, three per cent short of our
European target of 16 percent.

for the second consecutive year, Ireland has been singled out as the worst
performing country in Europe for addressing climate change.

to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Action yesterday, Mr Petriccione
stressed that Ireland’s current situation is not surprising, nor “is this a
unique situation in Europe”.

think this transformation is massive.  [Climate Change is] going to tax the way we
all think in policy-making in Europe and there are shortcomings across the
European Union,” he said.

Petriccione also addressed agricultural – responsible for one-third of Ireland’s
total emissions – at the Committee hearing.

have, as you know particularly well in Ireland, a real issue concerning
emissions in the agricultural sector,” Mr Petriccione said.

“We know decarbonizing from the agricultural sector, eliminating greenhouse gas emissions, at least in the foreseeable future, is likely to prove impossible. We have to manage that,” he continued.

About the Author

Kayle Crosson

Kayle is a multimedia journalist focused on climate and environmental issues and contributes to The Irish Times and The Green News.

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