Climate plan more an ‘action promise’ than an action plan


Last month 

Oisin Coughlan, Director, Friends of the Earth Ireland

the Government’s long-awaited National Mitigation Plan on Climate Change was published. Many environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth have expressed their disappointment that the plan doesn’t do enough to reduce Ireland’s climate-changing pollution.

Commenting on the plan, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan said: “I would like to be able to welcome this plan, we’ve waited so long for it. But it’s very disappointing, it’s more of an ‘action promise’ than an action plan. Mr. Coghlan did accept that it was good to see Taoiseach Leo Varadkar state in his foreword that what we need a ‘societal transformation’, ‘sustained policy change’ and the resources to back that up. Oisin Coghlan goes on to say that the document itself just doesn’t commit to enough policy change.


Commenting on the lack of some key actions Mr. Coghlan said: “There’s no end date set for burning peat and coal electricity for example, two measures that the Government was first advised to do 19 years ago. There’s nothing concrete on supporting small-scale solar to actually enable communities take part in the energy transition by making schools, sports clubs and parish halls into locally owned power plants, something the Taoiseach himself says he supports.”


The Friends of the Earth Director points out that the document “is honest about the scale of the challenge we face and our lack of progress so far, but it simply doesn’t commit to enough new actions to reduce pollution.” He continues: “The bottom line is that this plan fails the fundamental test of a climate action plan, it doesn’t say how much pollution will be reduced as a result of the actions it lists. Perhaps because too many of them are still ‘under consideration’. A half decent plan – like the last plan 10 years ago – would identify the emissions pathway we are on now, list the measures we are now going to take to reduce emissions, and state how much lower emissions will be as a result of all the measures in the plan. This document just doesn’t do that.”


In conclusion Oisin Coghlan says that we will have to wait for the new Planning Framework, the new Capital Investment Plan, the new Renewable Energy Policy and Budget 2018 “to see if the Government is serious about translating the shift in rhetoric into real action.”

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