Opportunity there to drive a Green New Deal for Ireland

Seán Sherlock TD
28 March 2019

Speaking in relation to the report of the Climate Action Committee, the Labour Party’s member on the committee Seán Sherlock TD welcomed the strong cross-party co-operation in writing the Committee Report and its comprehensive and detailed recommendations about how Ireland can make a rapid transition to a low carbon society.


Deputy Sherlock said: 


“Ireland is facing a 60 million tonne question. Currently we emit 60 million tonnes of greenhouse gases each year and we have to get that down to 33 million tonnes by 2030 and to net zero by 2050. Every year that we fall behind adds to our target, as CO2 stays in the atmosphere for decades and worsens the effects of climate change.


“We now have a strong and ambitious template for tackling climate change in Ireland. Our recommendations address the urgent need for far stronger governance on climate change, they ensure that every government department has to play its part in reducing emissions from their respective sectors, and it offers new supports for decarbonising Ireland’s electricity generation alongside incentives for diversified and low carbon farming.


“Labour has fought to ensure that workers and communities are not left behind as we make the necessary changes to the economy. Labour insisted on a recommendation to set up a national Just Transition Task Force. That means real supports for workers whose livelihoods may be affected by the reduction of fossil fuel use in the economy. There is an opportunity to drive a Green New Deal for Ireland in terms of ambitious targets on home energy retrofitting that will create many new jobs while also working to eliminate fuel  poverty.


“Labour has embraced the strong calls made by the Citizens Assembly that the State needs to take responsibility on leading action to address climate change. It is not enough to talk about individual responsibility or to rely on private enterprise. Labour’s clear preference is for ring-fencing funds from carbon taxes to pay for home retrofitting, including in local authority housing, and other ways of reducing energy poverty. These funds could also ensure fairness and inclusion, including assistance for low income households and support better public transport in rural areas as well as in cities. Unless we make those investments now, we will not deliver the scale of change that is needed with the urgency dictated by the science of climate change.


“The targets in this report are based on scientific fact. Failing to achieve our climate targets is not an option. Such a failure would not only damn future  generations, it would significantly deteriorate the quality of life of the generations alive today.”


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