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Minister’s optimism rings hollow against EPA report – Stanley

10 May, 2017 - by Brian Stanley TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action and Environment Brian Stanley TD speaking to Minister Denis Naughten yesterday on Irelands renewable energy targets which we will fail to achieve, said that “the Minister's officials and advisers are very optimistic people”.

The Laois TD said:

“Questioning the Minister yesterday, I asked what specific measures were being put in place to deal with our binding targets on emissions and renewables which Ireland will not reach by 2020 according to an Environmental Protection Agency report. This is both in terms of our emissions and our renewables. Ireland in fact is expected to fail to reach all our targets. We knew this was coming. I said to the Minister that ‘Several of us raised the fact that this was going to happen when there was an economic recovery’.

“The Minister stated that he ‘confidently predicts we will reach our target’ on the electricity generation side. This is to have 40% of our renewables by 2020, which would mean an increase of almost 13% renewable energy electricity production in less than 3 years. Predictions from the EPA report would not share the Ministers optimism. They have given a figure short of the 40% and we will also be short in terms of our renewable heat and transport.

“I said to the minister ‘There needs to be an honest assessment of this because we are not in a good place. We have hit a carbon cliff. We are trying to play catch-up and we need specific measures’. We are completely behind the curve when it comes to many environmental issues including the electrification of our transport network. To date there has been only 1,946 electric vehicles purchased under the SEAI Grant Support Scheme since 2011. The Minister said yesterday ‘We are looking at how we can stimulate the electric vehicles sector’.  We have less than 3 years to reach our 2020 targets, we should be gone past looking at issues and should be putting actions into place.

“EPA forecast that emissions from transport will increase by 12% by 2020 and that we will be short of our 10% renewable transport requirement. The figure given by the EPA is underpinned by further roll out of the Biofuels Obligation Scheme and the further uptake of 10,000 electric vehicles deployed by 2020.

“As well as the environmental implications, the State will now suffer immense financial penalties for not reaching our binding obligations. I asked the Minister what will be the cost to the State but he could not provide a figure on this, but it will mean that State monies best spend on other vital needs will be wasted because of the government’s lack of vision.” 

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