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Government needs to 'stop making excuses' and 'propagating myths' on climate change

This call comes from group The Environmental Pillar, after a new study shows Ireland is unlikely to meet its 2020 emissions targets.

Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall

A NEW EUROPEAN study has found that Ireland is highly likely to miss its 2020 emissions targets.

In the report, which has been conducted by the European Environment Agency (EEA), a number of environmental trends are looked at – and the countries not complying with targets are identified.

Ireland came in as the country second most likely to miss the 2020 emissions targets – just behind Luxembourg.

Despite Ireland’s relatively poor performance, the overall findings in the report indicate that the EU is on target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 21% of 1990 levels by 2020, which would surpass its initial target of 20%.

It was also noted that energy consumption is falling across the region.

Around Europe

The report indicates that Germany, Luxembourg and Poland are at risk of missing individual targets set in 2013 under the Effort Sharing Decision. These are binding agreements focused on making member states reduce emissions.

These three countries, along with Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Finland and Spain, are not considered to be on track to meet their greenhouse gas emission targets due to domestic policies and measures.

To meet the 2020 EU policy targets, countries are required to comply in the policy areas of greenhouse gas emissions reduction, increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The report found that nine countries in the EU were making good progress towards complying with the policy objectives laid down under the 2020 targets.

New emissions targets 

In a conference held last week, EU leaders agreed new climate-change targets for 2030 that would see greenhouse gas emissions cut by 40% of 1990 levels.

As part of the new agreement, Ireland secured favourable concessions for its agricultural and forestry industries. Speaking after the agreement, Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly, described previous targets as “unrealistic and unachievable”.

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Criticism

The news has been met with disappointment by Irish action group The Environmental Pillar – which is made up of 28 Irish environmental NGOs.

Speaking today, spokesperson for the group Oisín Coghlan said, “The Government also needs to stop propagating the myth that Ireland is hard done by in relation to targets and start making proper plans to move to a low carbon economy.

If the country does not make serious moves towards cutting emissions now we will pay for it in the future – either by having to make more serious cuts over a shorter period or paying out very large sums of money for our excessive emissions.

Also: Here’s how the world is calling for action on Climate Change today

 

Read: ‘The clock ticks’: Kenny calls for urgent climate change action

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