Red Alert! We’re Europe’s leading…Climate Change Laggard

Red alert on Climate change inactivity

The good news first ….it’s official. We’ve moved up one position in the climate change action league table. That should be enough for our laggard government politicians to spin into a good news story. But the reality trumps rhetoric. 

Our current reality is stark and it will hit us deep in our pockets as we inevitably hand over taxpayer money in mitigation fines and buy credits. That’s money we could really use in offering incentives to people to reduce their emissions. It’s another lost opportunity and a disaster for our political leaders who have become ostrich like when faced with the real facts of inaction. 

Today, an International expert group’s analysis –  the Climate Change Performance Index – ranks  Ireland the worst country in Europe on climate action for a second year in a row. Ouch!

What is the Climate Change Performance Index The Index is produced annually on the basis of joint analysis by two leading European think-tanks. It places Ireland 48th out of 56 countries worldwide, up one place from last year. Hooray for that!

The Climate Change Performance Index by Germanwatch and the New Climate Institute is a ranking of the 56 countries and the EU, together responsible for about 90% of global GHG emissions.

The four categories examined are:

  1. GHG emissions (40%),
  2. renewable energy (20%),
  3. energy use (20%) and
  4. climate policy (20%).

The latter is based on expert assessments by NGOs and think tanks from the respective countries. The CCPI also evaluates to what extent the respective countries are taking adequate action within the categories emissions, renewables and energy use to being on track towards the global Paris-goal of limiting global warming to well below 2°C. Since no country is on a Paris-compatible path yet, the top three of the CCPI 2018 are left unoccupied.

Sweden, Morocco and Lithuania lead the ranking. Almost half of the G20 countries are in the group of very low performers: Japan (49), Turkey (50), Russian Federation (52), Canada (54), Australia (55), Korea (57) and – at the bottom of the index – USA (59) and Saudi Arabia (60). Experts from the USA rated the climate policy of the Trump administration very low.

However, Ireland’s polluting emissions are on an upward trend. We are failing to meet EU obligations and the Government is not joining other member states in calling for the EU to raise its ambition in line with the Paris Agreement.

It’s time for Government ministers to wake up, acknowledge the facts and listen, not only to the science but accept the criticism we continually face at the bottom of the laggard pack.

This report highlights the gap the Taoiseach & Minister Bruton has to close between his new rhetoric on climate change and the reality of Ireland’s approach to climate action. His ministerial colleagues don’t seem to have got the memo. Minister Bruton has raised expectations in recent weeks, but as yet he hasn’t taken actions that will actually lower our emissions.”

We agree with Ireland’s leading experts in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who have repeatedly highlighted the inadequacy of current policies and plans. Unfortunately, our performance is getting worse, not better. Ireland will miss its 2020 emission reduction targets under the EU Effort Sharing Decision, The EPA have indicated that Ireland is at best likely to achieve a 1% reduction (below 2005 levels in the non-ETS sector) rather the 20% pledged, with emissions projected to continue to rise across all the main polluting sectors, indicating a policy failure on a massive scale. The EPA analysis also indicates that total Irish emissions would still be 9% above 1990 in 2030.

The time for rhetoric and vague plans is over …immediate credible actions are needed. We have lost patience with this Governments spin.

ACT NOW : Email our Environment Minister now and complain.

Sign a petition :  #InMyName

You’ll need to sit down, have yourself a strong coffee  (sip from your re-usable coffee cup) and ponder the array of recent reports below, all saying the same thing. Then take action to show your concern.

What the report says about Ireland’s position of 48th

Due to its increased renewable energy share over the past five years, and forthcoming support schemes for renewable heat and renewable electricity which recognise the value of citizen and community participation, Ireland is rated medium in the Renewable Energy category.

Rated as the worst-performing EU country in the CCPI, Ireland reaches position 48 and remains in the group of very-low performing countries. The performance in the GHG Emissions category is rated very low and the country is also occupying a spot among the low-ranking performers in the Energy Use category.

National experts commend the Irish Parliament for its leadership in deciding to pass the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill, which is the first of its kind in the world, and for the innovative Citizens’ Assembly process which produced far-reaching recommendations for climate action now being considered by a special parliamentary committee working on the development of Ireland’s National Energy and Climate Plan.

Therefore, the performance on international climate policy is rated medium. However, existing climate mitigation efforts will not enable Ireland to achieve either its EU 2020 or 2030 targets domestically. The long-standing lack of implementation of substantive measures to put the country on a well-below-2°C pathway results in a very low rating for Ireland’s national policy performance.”

Last year, the Climate Change Performance Index noted Ireland as being the worst performing country in Europe for action on climate change. The Index placed Ireland 49th out of 56 countries.

Independent reports reveal a sad story of climate change inaction. 

  1. In June 2018, analysis by Climate Action Network Europe put Ireland in second last place in the EU for action and ambition on climate change.
  2. In July 2018, Ireland’s Climate Change Advisory Council produced its second Annual Review report, which provides an independent, expert assessment of Ireland’s performance on climate change.
  3. The Council concluded that Ireland is ‘completely off course’ in its response to climate change. It noted that at the current rate Ireland will not meet both its 2020 and 2030 EU obligations and crucially also underlined that even with investment commitments in the latest National Development Plan, major new initiatives are necessary.
  4. The Citizens’ Assembly’s May 2018 report, with 13 recommendations on ‘how the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change’ is available here.  These were agreed by the Assembly after four days of expert presentations in 2017 and following a major public consultation which received close to 2000 submissions.
  5. Analysis by the EU body, the European Environmental Agency (EEA) indicates that Ireland is part of a small group of EU Member States which is set to miss its 2020 emission reduction targets under the EU Effort Sharing Decision. However, Ireland is the only one of these Member States where emissions are predicted to continue to rise and where the State will likely be highly reliant on concessions and special flexibility procedures, such as the buying of permits from other countries, to close the gap.