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Sammy risks wrath of Europe

17 September, 2008

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has warned the Environment Minister Sammy Wilson that he is setting himself on a collision course with Europe over the stance he has taken on global warning.

Ms de Brún sits on the European Parliament Environment Committee and Temporary Committee on Climate Change.

Ms de Brún said:

"In recent weeks the Environment Minister Sammy Wilson has voiced strong doubts about whether humans are responsible for climate change.

"But whatever Sammy Wilson's personal view about global warming the fact is that the European Union has set ambitious targets to reduce CO2 emissions.

"While Minister Wilson wants to debate whether human activity is responsible for climate change he cannot forget that these targets on reducing CO2 emissions apply here, and are due to be included in new EU legislation which he will have to implement.. Any failure to bring forward the measures required to meet these targets will have serious negative consequences locally.

"It's absolutely false to say there is no scientific consensus on the link between carbon emissions and global warming. There is very broad consensus that the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide (CO2) from the burning of fossil fuel, is rising rapidly, trapping heat and causing climate change.

"Is the Environment Minister going to propose that we renege on our international responsibilities to make every effort to cut emissions and develop renewable energy sources because he wants to fly in the face of a virtually united international scientific consensus?

"Will the local economy lose out on the potential benefits of being a centre for producing renewable energy because our Environment Minister wants to play provocation politics?

"Sinn Féin proposes that both governments in Ireland set legally binding targets of reducing CO2 emissions by 80% on 1990 levels by 2050. The key to achieving this locally will be an agreed approach across all Stormont departments on how to build a low carbon economy. This will include promoting energy efficiency, better waste management, investing in renewable energy sources such as wind, tidal and solar, and expanding public transport." ENDS

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