Ireland needs to stop pleading it’s a ‘special case’ and start doing what is necessary to meet the Paris agreement

Screenshot from 2016-02-01 17:29:34

The Irish government need to stop pleading we are a special case in relation to climate change and start doing what is needed, experts told an Oireachtas Committee this week.

Members of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition this week spoke to the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade to outline what the Paris deal means for Ireland.

Prof. John Sweeney of An Taisce, Jerry MacEvilly of Trocaire, Dr Cara Aisling Augustenborg of Friends of the Earth all gave evidence to the committee.

Dr Augustenborg spoke specifically about what needs to be done from an Irish perspective.

Her key points were:

  • The government need to stop pleading for a deal on our agricultural emissions and state clearly what we are doing and can do to meet our emissions commitments.
  • We are bottom of the pack in Europe for our 2020 emission targets and non-compliance will be met with fines so we need to act fast.
  • All our government and local authority plans need to be redrafted in light of our Paris commitments.
  • Changing the energy sector is the easiest win and retrofitting is the key. We need to get our average house rating from D1 to B1.
  • We need to develop community ownership of renewable projects to build local buy in.
  • A price for solar energy needs to be set up so households and businesses can get paid for the electricity they produce.
  • She also warned about the potential dangers of importing biomass and the devastation it can cause in other countries.