Ireland falling behind on environmental Sustainable Development Goals
Ireland is continuing to fall behind on its environmental commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a new global analysis has found. The Sustainable Development Goals Index and Dashboards Report compare different nations’ performance on the 17 goals at the centre of the UN’s sustainable development agenda. The SDGs, or global goals, seek to achieve over 150 targets aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet, and ensuring prosperity for all people by 2030. This year’s report shows that Ireland has made progress on some of the social goals but continues to perform poorly when it comes to action in meeting its waste, climate action and ocean protection goals. It shows that further efforts are needed to protect biodiversity and support sustainable production and consumption.
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Agriculture Committee report on climate “promotes myths and denies reality”
A report on “Climate change and sustainability in the agri-food sector” has been criticised by An Taisce – as it “fails to understand either climate change or sustainability”. The Joint Committee on Agriculture, Food and Marine’s report sought to identify policy solutions for the sector which is responsible for 47% of Ireland’s EU target greenhouse gas emissions. The An Taisce statement says that the report’s emphasis on continued expansion and “efficiency” in the dairy sector “fails to hold to account the industries which have the greatest responsibility to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture”. It goes on to say that to meet our Paris Climate Agreement commitments, “total emissions in all sectors must fall year on year: efficiency savings do NOT count if total emissions do not go down”
An Taisce did welcome the recommendation that an immediate impact assessment of climate change and sustainability targets in FoodWise 2025 be undertaken and agreed with the committee’s stated view that the objective of new strategies for the sector should be “mitigating climate change and introducing new production efficiencies aimed at producing more from less”. In conclusion, An Taisce called for existing subsidies to be redirected to support farmers and rural communities in a transition to a less emissions-intensive and more climate-resilient agriculture, including permanent agroforestry and natural woodland for carbon storage and biodiversity.
Passing of Heritage Bill
The Heritage Bill completed its passage through the Oireachtas last week despite widespread opposition from environmental groups, opposition parties, and concerned citizens and certain farmers. The Heritage Bill will allow for a relaxation of the dates of the closed period for the burning of vegetation and ‘the cutting, grubbing, removal and otherwise destroying of hedgerows’ contained in Section 40 of the Wildlife Act (1976 and amended 2000) The legislation will allow burning of our upland and lowland hills in March, extending the open period for burning by one month, and for the cutting of roadside hedgerows in August.
An Taisce Natural Environment Officer, Dr. Elaine McGoff, said: “This Bill will be disastrous for the wildlife of our uplands and hedgerows, and comes at a time when wildlife is in trouble across the globe. The Irish Government should be leading the way in protecting our wildlife, but instead have chosen to take a huge leap in the wrong direction.”
Event on in July and August can be found here