Sinn Féin climate action spokesperson David Cullinane has called on the government to radically expand the ambition of its climate action plan, saying that small gestures alone will not change anything.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“We all have a part to play, and Minister Bruton’s proposal to put a charge on disposable cups will go some way towards changing behaviour.
“Nonetheless, there is a fallacy at the heart of the minister’s plan, which is the assumption that small actions alone will save the planet.
“Today I received a reply from the Minister regarding public transport investment, in particular, rail.
“I ask whether Minister Bruton had any plans to expand the rail system, given rail’s noted role in lowering carbon emissions.
“The answer was disappointing, depressing, and predictable.
“The government has no plans to expand the rail system outside of the existing network, save for a paper review of proposals for the western corridor.
“In order to tackle climate change, we need to put in place viable alternatives for people.
“Just as reusable cups are there as an alternative to disposable ones, we need viable alternatives in transport and energy.
“Yet here is where the government is seriously deficient.
“It is obsessed with the idea that price signals will save the planet.
“In reality, we need serious investment in public transport, in renewable energy, in construction, and in waste disposal.
“Without these measures, a change in price for coffee cups will not change anything.”