Ireland to raise climate ambition, says Bruton

Source: Greennews.ie

Ireland will raise the
ambition of its climate action efforts in line with a global coalition, the
Minister for Climate Action said during his speech at COP25 today.

Speaking in Madrid at the climate conference this morning, Richard Bruton committed Ireland to join the Carbon Neutrality Coalition to achieve carbon neutrality by mid-century. 

Mr Bruton stressed
that Ireland is “determined to play its part” in addressing climate disruption,
adding that the new Climate Action Plan will put the State “on a trajectory to be net-zero” by
2050. 

Mr Bruton cited the
2020 Budget as evidence of Ireland’s commitment to climate action and stressed
that the state must “catch this historic tide in the affairs of mankind”. 

Despite Mr Bruton’s strong
words this morning, the data shows that Ireland continues to lag in its climate
commitments, with the 2020 Climate Change Performance Index singling Ireland
out as one of the EU’s worst climate performers for the third
year in a row
.

Although Ireland has
improved in relation to renewable energy, governance and commitment to
fortified EU-wide emissions targets, the Index still placed Ireland at 41st out
of 57 countries examined in the study based primarily on a comparison of 2017
data.

The Index cites aspects of the Climate Action Plan are “positive” policy moves if enacted without delay, namely a legally binding 2050 target and five-year carbon budgets.

Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton at stakeholder meeting Photo: Niall Sargent

Enthusiasm must turn
to action

The plan, however, will
likely see emissions fall by two per cent per year, substantially lower than
the UN recommendation
of seven per cent needed to stay within 1.5 degrees of warming. 

“We need the
enthusiasm in Minister Bruton’s speech to translate into concrete and ambition
climate action,” according to Jennifer Higgins of Christian Aid Ireland.

“We’ve learnt nothing
new in terms of Ireland’s planned response to the climate crisis and the
existing Climate Action Plan still places Ireland as a low performer in the
EU,” added Ms Higgins, who is currently in Madrid for the climate conference.  

Mr Bruton also announced
that Ireland will double its annual commitment to the Green Climate Fund that
helps developing countries transition to low-carbon economies. Ms Higgins said,
however, that the State should be doing far more to “fairly contribute to
efforts to prevent catastrophic global warming”.

Speaking to The Green News, Trócaire‘s Cliona
Sharkey concurred, stressing that the proposed level of funding “still leaves
Ireland well short of the financial support it owes to developing countries
given the State’s disproportionately high rate of emissions”. 

A new
report
from Christian Aid and Trócaire released this month found
that Ireland’s contribution to funding climate projects in developing countries
must, in fact, increase six-fold if we are to appropriately pay our way in the
global effort to tackle climate breakdown.

Ms Sharkey welcomed Mr Bruton’s endorsement of the Commission’s Green New Deal launched today to set more ambitious climate goals for the bloc but questioned why the State is also hesitant to join other EU states in calling for stronger 2030 emissions targets.

Responding to Mr
Bruton’s comments on the climate action funding included in Budget
2020
, Ciara Murphy of the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice said that the
funding allocations actually “failed to deliver” adequate support for real
climate solutions, “even overlooking simple adaptations such as cycling
infrastructure”. 

“Fine words about civilization, creativity and collaboration are easily proclaimed. But taking those words seriously means real and decisive action now,” she added. “Even after the publication of the Climate Action Plan, we remain laggards.” 

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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