Responding to reports that agreement has been reached by cabinet on Sectoral Emissions Ceilings, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD, has said that the government needs to move away from the divisive, punitive approach to climate action to have any hope of achieving emissions reductions.
The Meath East TD also called on government to honour its commitment to publish all of the analysis which informed the ceilings negotiations.
Teachta O’Rourke said:
“I note the reports that agreement has been reached on the sectoral emissions ceilings.
“Sinn Féin has consistently said the ceilings must reach the 51% national objective and that every sector must do its fair share.
“Government should now publish the models and all of the analysis which informed these ceilings negotiations in order to show the range of options considered and the trade-offs and compromises that have been agreed.
“They must also set out, in Budget 2023 and Climate Action Plan 2022, policy proposals and a clear pathway to achieve these emissions reductions.
“While there is much focus on targets, we have been here before. Targets have been set and, on every occasion, targets have been missed.
“It is clear that this government’s divisive, punitive approach to climate action is not working. The EPA report last week confirming an almost 5% increase in overall emissions in 2021 is proof positive of that.
“Sinn Féin has consistently advocated for a just and fair transition to be at the heart of climate action. The necessary public support for emissions reductions measures will not be achieved in any other way.
“To actually achieve, rather than just set targets or talk about emissions reductions like the current government do, Sinn Féin in government would ensure the planning system is fully equipped to address existing delays and to realise the extraordinary potential of our off-shore wind resource – for energy independence and jobs and economic opportunity in rural and regional Ireland.
“We would transform rural public transport. We would deliver an area-based national retrofit scheme that prioritises based on need not ability to pay. We would give good examples to our young people by making schools ‘centres of climate action’. We would fund solar panels for every school – to reduce electricity costs and to introduce children to the benefits of renewable energy.
“We would transform the school commute by adding 10,000 extra places on the school transport scheme – eliminating the need for >40,000 car journeys per day and getting children into the habit of using public transport – and we would also eliminate fees over two years.
“These are the types of ambitious, transformative measures that are needed to empower sectors and communities, and to deliver emissions reductions.
“If government does not change its approach, it will continue to fail.”