Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment and Climate Action, Darren O’Rourke TD, has called on the government to urgently address its wholly inadequate progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Commenting on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) latest report released today, the Meath East TD said:
“The latest figures from the EPA are a clear indictment of this government’s complete lack of planning when it comes to meeting our climate targets.
“Greenhouse gas emissions fell by just 1.9% last year. While we can welcome progress, this is clearly nowhere near good enough. Worryingly, the government’s meagre efforts to date will make what is a significant task an even more difficult one going forward. In fact, it is now quite apparent that they will exhaust the first carbon budget before they even leave office.
“The reality is that 47% of the carbon budget for 2021-2025 has already been used in the first two years alone. This means that in order to stay within it, we will be required to reduce emissions by 12.4% for each of the remaining years.
“The picture is bleak across the board, with only small decreases across most sectors, with even increases in some.
“For example, agricultural and energy emissions fell by just 1.2% and 1.8% respectively, with transport emissions rising by a whopping 6%.
“In fact the only sector that showed significant reductions was in the residential sector with emissions having fallen by 12.7%.
“What this proves, yet again, is that this government is determined to pursue a deeply inequitable approach whereby ordinary workers and families are expected to do heavy lifting while other sectors are let off the hook.
“All of this leaves us with the extremely challenging task of an annual target of a 17% reduction in the electricity sector over the next three years to stay within budget, while industry, agriculture, residential buildings and transport need to make annual reductions of 9%, 8%, 7% and 5% respectively.
“There is no denying that Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party can set targets. However what they have proven time and time again is that they are incapable of actually meeting them. A destination with no roadmap of how to get there is not a plan at all.
“While the challenge that lies before us is now even more daunting, we cannot give up. Without radical steps to battle climate change our future and that of our future generations is under threat.
“What is needed now is an approach that has the scale and ambition to do what is needed, and furthermore effective leadership in ensuring that our journey to net zero is part of a progressive rather than regressive approach. Sinn Féin is ready to take on this challenge as part of a just transition.”