Speaking about the revised Climate Action Plan which was approved by Cabinet today, Labour leader and climate spokesperson Ivana Bacik TD said it was “deeply frustrating” that constant delays and missed targets are now characterising the Government’s approach to the climate crisis.
“Last week, I challenged the outgoing Taoiseach on the Government’s failure to prioritise the publication of the updated Climate Action Plan before the Dáil rose for Christmas,” Bacik said.
“Unfortunately, whether it is the Climate Action Plan, the carbon budgets, or the sectoral emissions ceilings, I struggle to recall an occasion during the lifetime of this Government when climate policy measures were delivered on time. Moreover, I have been disappointed to see the Government repeatedly miss its own targets.
“Indeed, we have seen reports in the media that the Government appears that it is not even aiming to achieve its own targets, with documents released under freedom of information procedures confirming that internal briefing materials in the Department of Agriculture concede that it will not meet its methane emissions reductions targets.
“This is an era of serious politics, and the matter of climate action is the most serious of all.
“Time should have been scheduled for the Dáil and Seanad to debate the updated Plan before Christmas.
“Notwithstanding the delay, I do welcome that we now have time to read the revised plan, and I look forward to doing so in coming days.
“We have heard reports that the plan is ‘high level’. We do need to think big but, for Labour, the real test for this Government is in implementation and delivery.
“With the recent change of leadership in the Government, it is of vital importance that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil recalibrate their approach to this existential issue. Ireland must lose its reputation as a “climate laggard”.
“We are well into the key decade in which we have to reduce our emissions by half.
“The Environmental Protection Agency reported that Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions rose by almost 5% in 2021. At this rate, we are seriously diminishing the chance of meeting our climate targets.
“This is simply too important for any further slippage.
“We must get back on track and the Cabinet reshuffle should serve as an opportunity to restate our commitment to those objectives. My hope is that the Government’s New Year’s resolutions for 2023 will include better protecting biodiversity and taking climate action more seriously.”