Monday, November 07, 2022

By Cate McCurry, PA

Time is running out to act on the devastating consequences of climate change, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has warned.

Mr Martin, who arrived at the Cop27 climate conference in Egypt on Monday, said that measures previously committed to need to be accelerated.

He said that this includes Ireland’s delivery of off-shore wind targets.

Targets set by the Government under its Climate Action Plan 2021 seek to increase the proportion of renewable electricity by up to 80 per cent by 2030, and for 5GW of offshore wind generation also by 2030.

Mr Martin said that events like the climate summit in Sharm El-Sheikh “concentrate the mind” and create greater global awareness about the dangers, particularly for future generations, posed by climate change.

“We are running out of time, and we have to accelerate delivery on the various measure we have identified,” Mr Martin said on Monday.

He said that the country needs to move on its target for 2030.

The Fianna Fáil leader said that other measures Ireland has committed to include biodiversity, retrofitting of housing, environmentally friendly farming and public transport.

“The retrofitting and environmentally friendly farming is underpinned by the carbon tax funds and that’s why the carbon tax is important because it allows us to deliver, and it gives us the resources to make a difference,” Mr Martin added.

“My focus at this conference is, let’s look at the tangibles that we can do and get them done.”

The Taoiseach said that Ireland will commit to its pledged €225 million to help vulnerable countries to fight climate change and to help with the losses of climate change.

He added that other countries needed to step up and deliver on their promises.

He also said that Ireland is prepared to go further.

“I think what they are really looking for is delivery of the existing pledges that have been made by countries across the world,” Mr Martin added.

“Ireland will deliver on what we have committed to, and we are prepared to go further, but we want to deliver on what we have promised.

“If developing countries saw that commitment from everybody, it would make a huge difference.

“Funding is to be announced on Tuesday as part of the loss and damage package.”

Mr Martin is attending the event with Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney and Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora Colm Brophy.

At the summit, the Taoiseach will take part in a number of high-level events and roundtables, including on food security and on the sustainability of vulnerable communities.

Mr Martin said there needs to be a better focus on delivery of the measures that countries have committed to.

“We have real work to do, we have achieved a lot in terms of onshore wind, and we need to make sure we can accelerate offshore wind, putting together all the various inputs that are required of different departments and agencies,” he added.

“We are looking at a fundamental review of our planning code, which is about the whole renewable infrastructure as well as housing and other things.

 

“Those proposals will come forward in the next number of weeks.

“There is an urgency attached to it, it can’t be business as usual.”

He added: “There is a body of science that is now saying that people are making a difference and every step makes a difference.

“We don’t want people becoming totally overwhelmed by the negativity and doomsday scenarios that get articulated, understandably, but can also depress people from taking action.

“We need to tell people you are making a difference, but we need to move faster.”

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