8 February 2007 Edition
Government fails to act on greenhouse gas emissions
Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has slammed the Irish Government for its failure to act on the issue of greenhouse gas emissions after a report showing their steep rise was published by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“It is quite obvious from the outset that environmental protection has never been high on the government agenda.
“Implementation of EU environmental directives has been characterised by foot dragging, missed deadlines and warnings from the European Commission in areas such as the widespread pollution of drinking water, habitat damage, failure to submit reports on substances that damage the ozone layer, climate change and the failure to nominate areas of natural conservation importance,” Morgan said.
“The latest report from the EPA shows that greenhouse gas emissions have surged by more than one million tonnes, to a figure in the region of more than 70 million tonnes per year. The figures in this report completely contradict all the claims put forward by the government who stated, time and time again, that emissions growth is completely separate from economic growth.
“The Department of the Environment assert that they will meet the state’s Kyoto commitment through the purchasing of carbon credits to offset domestic emissions.
“Under the Kyoto Protocol the 26-County state must not let greenhouse gas emissions rise by more that 13 per cent of its 1990 level. The state is currently running at 23 per cent above the agreed target.
“The government’s failure to take the action necessary to curb greenhouse emissions in this state could result in fines in excess of the €270 million already set aside by the government .The state’s taxpayers and not the big industrial polluters will end up carrying the resulting financial burden.
“There is a lack of concern at government level with actually achieving reductions in emissions.
“Responsible states should not resort solely to emission trading. Ireland has one of the highest rates of emissions per head of population in the world.
“We should be aiming beyond Kyoto, which merely represents a minimum level with which all states should be complying with.
“It is obvious that a number of measures need to be implemented at the earliest opportunity to address the growth of emissions in this state.
“This government must build on Kyoto, strengthen its positive points and then further commit itself to greater cuts in emissions post-2012.”