Ireland undermines EU action on climate change

Minister Naughten’s support for a series of loopholes in EU climate legislation shows lack of commitment to the Paris Agreement

EU Environment Ministers meeting today failed to deliver on their commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.The emissions reduction target in the EU legislation discussed today is not in line with temeprature goals of the Paris Agreement. Ministers also agreed several loopholes which further dilute the climate action required of Member States. Despite efforts by Germany and others to close one of these loopholes by amending the flawed starting point of the proposed climate plan, there was no majority support for the necessary amendments at today’s meeting. In fact, Minister Naughten supported the addition of a new loophole which will further weaken the overall system.

Speaking from Brussels, Jennifer Higgins, Policy and Advocacy Advisor at Christian Aid Ireland, commented:

“Ireland has played a very negative role in these negotiations, obstructing any proposals to strengthen the outcome. Today, the Minister supported a new loophole, creating a slush fund of pollution permits worth 115 million tonnes of CO2. Coupled with Ireland’s fierce opposition to Germany’s proposal to change the starting point, this would reward our laggard behaviour.”

Speaking from Dublin, Oisín Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth, commented:

“Why is the Minister looking for loopholes in our 2030 EU targets that directly contradict the Government’s own ambition for 2050? The Government’s own target for 2050 means Irish CO2 emissions must come down by 5% a year, every year for the next 33 years. Can the Minister look us in the eye and tell us that Irish emissions will fall next year? Or are they more likely to rise again? And why should the only EU country who is going to miss our 2020 targets and whose emissions are still rising get the easiest target for 2030. Why should other European countries take up the slack for us and reward or lack of action.”