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Hogan hits back at claims government doesn't care about climate change

Phil Hogan has been criticised by the opposition over reports that climate change legislation was being shelved.

Phil Hogan
Phil Hogan
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

ENVIRONMENT MINISTER PHIL Hogan has hit back at claims that the government does not care about climate change following a report that indicated legislation was not a priority.

Today’s Irish Times reported that climate change legislation was to be put on the backburner by Hogan in sharp contrast to the policy of his predecessor John Gormley who sought to set statutorily binding targets for cutting carbon emissions before the government collapsed in January.

The news led to the Green Party, of which Gormley is a member, accusing the government of not caring about the issue of climate change.

Leader Eamon Ryan said in a statement this morning:

As well as the moral bankruptcy in their approach, the Government have shown they don’t understand the simple truth that cutting down on Greenhouse gas emissions is going to be good for our economy.

Ryan, one of two Green Party ministers in the last cabinet, also said it was “madness for the Government to be abandoning the big public transport and energy projects at a time when further deflation is the greatest threat to our recovery.”

Meanwhile, Fianna Fáil’s environment spokesperson Niall Collin accused Hogan of “dismissing environmental concerns outright and denying the impact of climate change on our domestic economy.”

However, Hogan hit back on RTÉ’s Today with Pat Kenny expressing his belief that the Greens in government had been “all talk and no action” and insisted:

My policy approach is going to ensure we get this policy position right and we’ll underpin it by legislation in due course rather than the other way round.

Hogan added that he was focused on shaping policy throughout the course of next year aimed at reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in line with EU targets set by the historic Kyoto protocol established in the 1990s.

These targets specify that Ireland’s carbon emissions must be 20 per cent lower than output was in 2005.

Hogan added: ”Anyone that’s interested in progressing this policy agenda to a low carbon economy and that provides job opportunities to people can be assured that I will actually do what I say.”

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Hugh O'Connell

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