EPA figures welcome, but highlight scale of challenge remaining – Darren O’Rourke TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate, Communications Networks and Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, today welcomed figures from the EPA which show Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 4.5% last year, but added there is a huge amount of work to be done to get Ireland on track to meet our international binding obligations.
Speaking today, the Meath East TD said:
“The 4.5% reduction in Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2019 is welcome news, but it does put into sharp focus the scale of the challenge ahead.
“As a result of decades of neglect in this area, Ireland has a huge hill to climb to meet our renewable energy and greenhouse gas emission targets.
“According to the EPA’s projections, our 2020 emissions could be 2% to 4% below 2005 levels, a mile off the state’s 20% target, which will result in millions of euro in fines for the taxpayer.
“The major reductions in 2019 came from a significant decrease in coal use for electricity generation and a greater portion of our electricity coming from wind power.
“This highlights the need to move faster to exploit our massive offshore wind potential, and the progression of the Marine Planning and Development Management Bill is essential to this.
“In addition, the Climate Action Bill will be brought before the Oireachtas in the coming weeks, and we will bring forward amendments that we believe will strengthen this Bill in key areas.
“These are two key legislative areas that should be receiving more attention and public debate, but unfortunately have been overshadowed by scandal after scandal from this administration.
“Transport emissions saw a very small reduction last year, highlighting the need for greater investment in our public transport system, to ensure the buses and trains are there for citizens to use.
“Taxing people more for driving, when there are no alternatives there, is not going to work and will not help us meet our targets.
“Taxing people to heat their homes, when they can’t afford to install solar panels or retrofitting is again the wrong move and will not assist us in this national effort.
“Carbon shaming doesn’t work, and if we are to build on these positive 2019 figures, we need to assist people in changing their behaviour and not punish them for not being able to afford greener alternatives.”