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Dublin: 19 °C Wednesday 5 August, 2020

Ireland ranks in bottom 30 in world for tackling carbon emissions, according to UN report

The UN called on countries to take immediate action to safeguard childrens’ futures.

The UN report warns that more needs to be done to protect the future of children.
The UN report warns that more needs to be done to protect the future of children.
Image: Brian Lawless/PA Wire/PA Images

COUNTRIES ARE THREATENING the future of children through carbon pollution and failing to limit climate change, according to a landmark UN report. 

The report, co-authored with the World Health Organisation and the Lancet, is highly critical of global efforts to tackle climate change, noting that no country in the world is doing enough to protect children and promote sustainable environmental policies. 

Ireland performs particularly poorly in the report’s ranking on sustainability.

When it comes to delivering on emissions targets, Ireland is ranked 154th – placing it in the bottom 30 countries. 

It warns that Ireland is on track to exceed its 2030 carbon dioxide emissions target by 208%, placing it alongside countries like Iran, Libya and Finland. 

The report ranks 180 countries on a range of factors related to children’s health and education. 

While Norway, South Korea and the Netherlands all ranked highly when it came to “child flourishing”, no country escaped criticism. 

Ireland is ranked 5th when it comes to child health, education and nutrition.

Around 250 million children under-five-years-old in low and middle-income countries are at risk of not reaching their development potential, the report finds, while calling on governments to spend more money on improving children’s health.

Private companies also faced significant criticism, with the report warning that the “commercial sector’s profit motive poses many threats to child health and wellbeing, not least the environmental damage unleashed by unregulated industry”. 

It calls for more action to protect children from the marketing of tobacco and alcohol and the impacts of social media.

“Industry self-regulation does not work, and the existing global frameworks are not sufficient. A far stronger and more comprehensive approach to regulation is required,” the authors write. 

The report warns that while wealthy countries generally have better child health outcomes, historic and current greenhouse gas emissions “threaten the lives of all children”. 

The poorest countries have a long way to go towards supporting their children’s ability to live healthy lives, but wealthier countries threaten the future of all children through carbon pollution, on course to cause runaway climate change and environmental disaster. 

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