Government climate policy “unacceptable”

Ivana Bacik TD
25 July 2023

Labour Leader and Climate Spokesperson Ivana Bacik TD has echoed the sentiments of the Climate Change Advisory Council, which published its annual review for 2023, and which has described Government climate policies as unacceptable, given the existential threat of climate change to society.

Deputy Bacik said,

“The Climate Change Advisory Council (CCAC) could not have been clearer today: on the Government’s current trajectory, Ireland will not meet its carbon emissions targets. The science on this is unambiguous. We simply must close the emissions gap to avoid long-term and irreversible catastrophic problems affecting energy and food security and, indeed, our way of life.

“This summer, lives have been lost across Europe, due to irregular weather events, such as prolonged drought, high heats, and fire. According to the UN, the first week of July was the hottest week on record globally ever. Indeed, June 2023 has blown away all temperature records for that month. Climate action is not the preserve of tree-huggers – human life is threatened by these dangerous developments in our ecosystems.

“Much of our targets are supposed to be based on the goal of avoiding global temperatures increasing beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius more than pre-industrial times. However, the United Nations estimated that global temperatures will now surpass that limit in the first half of the 2030s. These milestones are important. When they are reached, the most catastrophic effects of climate change become unpredictable and irreversible. They also speed up so call ‘tipping point’ events, such as the collapse of the Greenland ice sheet – something which would affect Ireland directly. The Government needs to end the constant cycle of missed targets and delayed measures.

“Climate change demands systematic action from all areas of State and climate action needs to get communities, both rural and urban, all involved. We need to mitigate against the worst impacts of climate change while also adapting to a carbon-free world. The CCAC has made a number of recommendations to the Government to ensure that we get back on track. Among these is the establishment of the Just Transition Commission. It is envisaged that this Commission would engage with communities to ensure that climate action leaves no one behind and that no class of worker or person is worse off as a result of taking these necessary measures. It is incredible that no such body is in place already.

“In keeping with the pattern of missed targets and delay, the Government was due to set up the Just Transition Commission earlier this year. In the Dáil (12th July), I challenged the Taoiseach on this delay, asking if the blockage was coming from within his own department. In his reply, the Taoiseach was noncommittal about exactly when the Commission will be up and running. My hope is that the report of the CCAC today will get the message through to the Government. Stronger measures are needed to tackle the climate and biodiversity disaster and they need to be put in place now. There can be no more delay.”

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