December 16, 2020
State hit with €50m bill as decades of inaction on climate change catch up – Darren O’Rourke TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Climate Action, Communications Networks and Transport, Darren O’Rourke TD, has said the “failure of successive governments to prioritise the climate crisis isn’t just impacting our environment, but is now beginning to cost the taxpayer millions of euro due to missed targets”.

Speaking this morning on motions asking the Dáil to approve €50 million for statistical transfers, Teachta O’Rourke said:

“The EU Renewable Energy Directive 2009/28/EC set Ireland a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy demand from renewable sources by 2020.

“Due to decades of inaction in this area, we are set to miss this target, with the SEAI predicting between 12.5% and 13.2% of Ireland’s energy requirements will be met from renewable sources this year.

“The inaction of recent Fine Gael-led administrations deserves particular criticism – we have proof-positive here today that their climate rhetoric was not matched with climate action.

“This transaction isn’t just bad news for our environment and our international climate obligations, it’s also bad news for the Irish taxpayer who is now set to foot a bill of €50 million.

“To meet our binding obligations, Ireland now has to buy credits from Denmark and Estonia to make up for the state’s failings in this area.

“It is an absolute waste of money and is a result of previous governments not prioritising the climate crisis.

“Previous administrations have actively blocked solutions brought forward by opposition parties in this area, including by my colleague Brian Stanley TD. His Microgeneration Bill would transform energy production and sustainability for households, small businesses and local community groups. 

“We need a step change in approach. We need to move away from this carbon credit approach and drive down our overall emissions in real and measurable terms.

“This €50 million doesn’t help the environment, it won’t retrofit any homes or install a single heat pumps or solar panel. This €50 million of taxpayer’s money is lost today.

“The Irish taxpayer is a huge loser here, we are paying a significant price, but we should acknowledge that we are not the biggest loser.

“The biggest loser here are the poorest people on the planet, the people who are living at the coalface of the climate crisis, the planet’s flora and fauna and, indeed, the planet itself.

“No amount of statistical transfers, economic wizardry or commodification of the climate crisis can distract from that.”

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