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Time for the Taoiseach to face up to the Climate Crisis

11 Dec 2008

Irish charities slam Europe's leaders for inaction on climate

Christian Aid Ireland, Friends of the Earth, Oxfam Ireland and Trócaire have called on the Taoiseach to face up to the climate crisis and deliver real action on climate change.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen today flies to Brussels for crucial EU talks on climate change. These talks need to deliver an EU climate package which shows real leadership and moves forward the global climate change talks, currently taking place in Poznan, Poland. EU leaders are set to decide the European Union's Climate and Energy Package - a collection of measures designed to cut Europe's greenhouse gas emissions and to pave the way for a global deal on climate change - but the EU package is being diluted out by special concessions to EU businesses and member states.

"EU leaders must deliver a European deal which enables a global climate deal next year in Copenhagen but European business and member states are busy hollowing out Europe's commitments. EU leaders need to stand up to big industry and address the human crisis of climate change", said Colin Roche of Oxfam Ireland.

The leadership required of the EU is leadership Ireland has thus far failed to provide. As the 6th worst climate polluter in the world Ireland is way behind in its responsibility to tackle climate change.

"'As the sixth worst climate polluter Ireland has failed to deliver substantive action on climate change. Failure by rich countries like Ireland to act on their responsibilities will mean a global failure to tackle catastrophic climate change", said Oisín Coghlan of Friends of the Earth.

Member states such as Poland, Germany and Italy, urged on by big business, have been watering down the measures proposed by European Commission and Parliament. Even Ireland has opposed important measures to support developing countries.

The European Parliament had proposed that half of the revenue raised from big business through the auctioning of carbon emission permits should be spent supporting developing countries to tackle climate change including adapting to climate change, which is already happening. At least $50 billion is already needed every year for such adaptation.

"EU member states look set to fail to support developing countries to tackle climate change. It's disgraceful that Ireland did not back support for developing countries. The Taoiseach needs to make clear that Ireland will deliver on its climate responsibilities to cut carbon and support developing countries. Brian Cowen needs to act on our climate crisis", said Niamh Garvey of Trócaire.

The meeting of EU leaders coincides with the global talks in Poznan, Poland which are the midway point in climate talks, set to conclude in Copenhagen in December 2010.

"We've twelve months to prevent catastrophic climate change. We need effective, decisive and sufficient action from European leaders right now", continued Ms. Garvey of Trócaire.

Read the Molly Walsh's Friends of the Earth blog at the UN talks in Poznan.

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