Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, has called for immediate action to address the Climate Change Advisory Council’s (CCAC) stinging criticism of the government’s response to the climate emergency.
Teachta O’Rourke’s comments come as the CCAC’s annual review found that Ireland is presently “significantly off-track” from the path towards climate neutrality.
The Meath East TD said:
“This report exposes the lack of action behind the wall of climate rhetoric from this and previous governments.
“It exposes key areas where the government have failed to act and bluntly lays out the reality that if we don’t see a significant step change in delivery, we will fail to meet our emission reduction targets.
“This report highlights how many of the measures in the 2019 Climate Action Plan have been delayed, how we missed our 2020 emission reduction targets by a country mile, and how Minister Ryan has again failed to prepare an Annual Transition Statement for a second year running.
“The message from the CCAC is clear; Ireland is presently ‘significantly off-track’ from the path towards climate neutrality.
“They emphasise that there are a number of critical gaps in implementation where national policy and ambition are not translating into the necessary action.
“On offshore wind, for example, we still don’t have a planning framework in place, leading to delays in developing our massive offshore wind energy potential.
“Onshore wind guidelines are fifteen years out of date, while unnecessary planning restrictions are still preventing schools and community groups installing solar PV to generate electricity.
“The crisis in our forestry sector has worsened under this government. Against an afforestation target of 8,000 hectare per year, only 2,400 hectares were planted in 2020, and it may not even reach 2,000 in 2021.
“Public transport will be key to reducing transport emissions, but some key projects have been kicked into the next decade while low hanging fruit like expanding school bus transport continues to be overlooked.
“This stinging criticism from the CCAC should act as a wakeup call to this government.
“It’s clear the current pace of change won’t deliver the transformational change we need to meet our climate targets.”