Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

09.27 18 Jun 2019


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Climate Action and Environment Minister Richard Bruton has defended the Government's climate plan as "sensible and fair".

Yesterday, ministers unveiled the 'all-of-Government' plan aimed at decreasing the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

The plan has 180 recommendations across all government departments, in a bid to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Measures include quadrupling the carbon tax over the next decade (to €80 per tonne by 2030 from the current rate of €20), half a million home retrofits and massively expanding the amount of electric cars owned in Ireland.

Other measures include banning single use plastics and allowing anyone producing their own energy to sell it back to the main grid.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the new plan has been designed to limit the financial impact on people.

He insisted they wouldn't support actions that that "make people poorer, cost jobs or make us less secure or don’t actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions".

The proposals have been met with a mixed response.

The Green Party welcomed the plan but also said it fell short of "the significant system change required to truly tackle the climate crisis".

Sinn Féin's Brian Stanley, meanwhile, claimed the plan lacks ambition and over-burdens lower income families.

While the plan was welcomed by many interest groups and official bodies, others raised concerns.

The Irish Farmers' Association acknowledged the need for a change in approach, but suggested the proposals were "very demanding" for agriculture.

"Sensible and fair path"

Climate Action and Environment Minister Richard Bruton discussed the plan on Newstalk Breakfast this morning.

He observed: "We've 183 actions that we're determined to take, and we're going to drive it from the Taoiseach's office. Obviously the motivation is to leave the planet and our country in a better place for our children.

"I don't think anyone can doubt the need to move, because if you delay action... the action when you are finally forced to do it will be more costly, and you'll have less opportunity.

"This is a sensible and fair path to deliver change in every sector, and to bring people with us."

He insisted the plan is "very measurable" - adding that the Government will have "the Oireachtas breathing down our neck" if they don't deliver.

Minister Bruton added: "[The danger is] that people will feel that everyone should make a change but me... but I think we've designed this in such a way that every sector will have an expectation upon them."

He also said each minister will have to report in their budget how much carbon their sector is reducing.

Main image: Richard Bruton. Photo: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

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