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Ireland ranked second worst in Europe for tackling climate change

Ireland and Poland rank lowest because of their opposition to climate action nationally and in the EU.

Image: Shutterstock/Ugis Riba

IRELAND IS THE second-worst performing EU country for tackling climate change, according to a report published today by Climate Action Network Europe.

The report, which looks at how countries perform in reaching their climate and energy targets, ranked Ireland 28th, with a score of 21%.

Ireland and Poland (16%) rank lowest because of their stiff opposition to climate action nationally and in the EU, the report said.

PastedImage-23485 Source: Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe.

According to the report, Ireland is set to miss its 2020 climate and renewable energy targets and is also off-course for its 2030 emissions target.

Emissions from the transport and agriculture sectors are increasing significantly. Ireland has failed to prepare effective policies to align near-term climate action with EU and Paris Agreement commitments.

Ireland will face annual non-compliance costs of around €500 million if substantial efforts are not made to cut emissions.

CAN Europe says that to improve its ranking the Irish government need to radically revise its National Mitigation Plan, currently subject to legal challenge, and immediately put in place measures in the transport and agriculture sectors.

In its National Mitigation Plan, the Irish government said it was “committed to reducing emissions and building a climate resilient low-carbon transport sector by 2050″.

The report also recommends that Ireland end the use of peat in electricity generation by 2019 and coal use by 2025.

”Ireland needs to join the group of progressive EU Member States calling for increased EU climate ambition and deliver urgent, near-term emissions reduction,” the report said.

Wendel Trio, Director of CAN Europe said the lack of willingness to act on climate among all other member states is underwhelming.

While all EU countries signed up to the Paris Agreement, most are failing to work towards delivering on its objectives. Countries urgently need to improve their ranking by speaking out and acting in favour of more ambitious climate and energy policies and targets domestically and at EU-level.

The five EU countries that score the highest are Sweden (77%), Portugal (66%), France (65%), the Netherlands (58%) and Luxembourg (56%), because they are advocating for more ambitious climate targets at EU level.

Sweden is ranked second because it is on track to meet its domestic climate and energy targets for 2020, and it has a high share of renewable energy.

The top position of the ranking is unoccupied because all EU countries are off target and are failing to increase their climate action in line with the Paris Agreement goal according to CAN Europe.

No single EU country is performing sufficiently in both ambition and progress in reducing carbon emissions. Countries can and must to do more to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.

CAN Europe recommend that the EU, like all other countries in the world, needs to urgently and substantially increase its action, well beyond the currently agreed targets.

”Adopting the Paris Agreement in 2015 and committing to pursue efforts to limit temperature rise to 1.5°C was a major step forward in safeguarding our planet’s future. Yet the contributions proposed at the Paris talks are nowhere close enough to keep temperature rise below this threshold,” the report said.

Citizens Assembly 

The CAN Europe report has recommended that the Irish government incorporate the recommendations made by the Citizens Assembly on how Ireland should tackle climate change.

The “How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change” report made 13 recommendations including higher taxes and increased public transport and a tax on greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

CAN Europe say that the EU must start preparing for the next climate summit COP24 when countries are expected to commit to putting forward more ambitious 2030 climate targets by 2020.

Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan has said that the report released today is ”a shameful indictment of this Government’s climate record.”

We need to change tack to restore our green reputation and put us onto a more sustainable path.

Ryan said that the Dáil reform committee has agreed to the establishment of a new Oireachtas Committee to consider the recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change.

”We want that Committee to focus on what the public sector can do and to influence the drafting of the new National Energy and Climate plan, which we have to present to the EU in the next year.”

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Adam Daly

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