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Minister and I differ over Ireland's position on emissions cuts

Posted by Oisín Coghlan on December 01, 2008 at 04:24 PM

John Gormley at Umbrella Action Day 2007

I expect to disagree with the Government from time to time on the positions they take on climate change policy. That's what campaigners and governments do after all.

I don't expect to disagree about what the Government's position actually is, but that's what's happened in advance of the EU ministers meeting this week.

You can see the report on today's RTE News online here.

Our contacts in Brussels tell us that Irish negotiators are resisting EU proposals to automatically step-up our commitment in the event of a global climate deal. The EU has committed to reducing its emissions by 20% by 2020 but the Commission is proposing that this be stepped up to 30% if the UN talks agree a successor to the current Kyoto commitment. This is in line with the political declaration by heads of Government, including Bertie Ahern at the time. But now Poland and Italy are resisting the practical plan to implement that promise and it seems that Ireland has also gone over to the dark side.

The Minister is saying that "Ireland will embrace the 30% target". But so far "embracing" doesn't seem to include supporting it when its being discussed by negotiators in Brussels!

The real test comes now when John Gormley goes to the Environment Ministers Council this week and when Brian Cowen goes to the EU summit which will finalize the EU position next week. We'll be pressing them to clarify their positions before they head to Brussels.

This is one occasion when we can't just agree to disagree.

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