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de Brún calls for all Ireland effort to combat climate change

12 January, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has this afternoon expressed great concern at the results of a report on greenhouse gas emissions in the 6 Counties and said that "a real commitment was required by governments, business and a change to our collective lifestyles".

Ms de Brún was responding to a report which found that carbon dioxide emissions in the 6 Counties were 1.9% higher than in 2002. The British National Environmental Technology Centre carried out the research for the Westminster Department of the Environment. The report comes in the week when both Ms de Brún and her colleague Ms Mary Lou McDonald voted in favour of a resolution on climate change in the European Parliament.

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"The results of the report into greenhouse gas emissions in the 6 counties are of great concern. In comparison with an 18% decrease in emissions in England, a 5.9% decrease in Wales and 3.2% in Scotland, statistics for the 6 Counties are actually 1.9% higher than in 2002.

"The report has been critical of an over-reliance on the use of private vehicles. What is required is an adequate public transport system. Only then will we begin to address our reliance on private vehicles. One clear indication of the lack of commitment to public transport is the talk of axing the Belfast to Derry rail link.

"Investment in public transport will save money in the longer term, as those countries who fail to meet their obligations under the Kyoto Protocol will be required to pay substantial fines.

"It is imperative that governments and big business show strong leadership and make difficult choices concerning our environment. The issue of global warming remains one of the most important issues facing humanity at present and it requires a global response. It also requires a local response, particularly in light of this most recent report.

"Sinn Féin believes that this response is best achieved through an all-Ireland strategy. Setting more ambitious targets to cap the concentration of greenhouse gases requires a real commitment and will require major changes to the manufacturing process; to the way that energy is generated, as oil and natural gas supplies dwindle, and to our collective lifestyles." ENDS

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