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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 18 May 2021

Ireland is 'buying' its way out of meeting its emission targets by spending €86.8m worth of carbon credits

TD Seán Fleming said it was ‘the biggest act of gross hypocrisy’ at play.

Image: Shutterstock/Remizov

HOW THE GOVERNMENT is dealing with the issue of climate change has been dubbed a “charade” after it was revealed today €86 million has been spent in buying itself out of international environmental targets.

Seán Fleming, chair of the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee, said it was “horrific” that Irish taxpayers’ money had been spent by the NTMA purchasing carbon credits from other EU countries in order to meet its targets. 

He said there was “the biggest act of gross hypocrisy” at play, stating the narrative from this government is “if we don’t meet our targets we can buy ourselves out of it”. 

Fleming said essentially Ireland is “pretending” it can meet its target. 

An additional concern cited by Fleming is Ireland could have to pay an additional €60 million to meet its current renewable energy targets.

The details were contained in correspondence from Secretary General of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Mark Griffin, to the PAC.

The letter read to committee members today states that “the EU requires member states to meet their targets using unused emission credits from earlier years or to purchase credits from other member states via international markets”.

“The State’s response, all of our response at Oireachtas and government level, is entirely hypocritical when you read this letter.

“In simple English, if we don’t meet our targets we can buy our way out of the problem by buying unused emissions from somewhere else. It’s the biggest act of gross hypocrisy when it comes to the environment.

“We are saying that if we don’t meet our targets we will buy unused emission credits from somebody else and pay the price so that when we come to the end of the 2020 target, we are below our target because we have unused credits in the system,” said Fleming. 

The government’s Climate Action Plan is due to be published shortly.

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