The Tánaiste says Ireland has “turned a corner” in its greenhouse gas emissions – warning that previous Governments “didn’t move fast enough” on the issue.
Micheál Martin was speaking after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warned that Ireland is set to fall well short of its climate targets for 2030.
The agency said the country is only likely to cut emissions by 29% - well short of its 51% goal.
Speaking at the Bloom festival in Dublin this morning, Minister Martin said the Government has put climate measures in place that will “take time to bear fruit”.
“I think we have turned a corner”.
The Tánaiste says previous Governments “didn’t move fast enough” when it comes to emissions and climate change. pic.twitter.com/O1St0fAmik
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“That is probably part of the challenge,” he said.
“We have put in place very, very challenging targets and perhaps in the previous ten years we didn’t move fast enough in respect of the emissions reduction agenda.”
He said he believes Ireland has “turned a corner” on emissions -despite the damning EPA report.
“I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead of us in respect of reducing emissions, but we have to do it,” he said.
“In terms of sustainability globally but also in terms of better quality of life as well because we can see the impacts of climate change now in terms of our weather and in terms of the impact it will have on food production and in terms of the sustainability of life on our planet.”
Minister Martin said Ireland’s wind energy potential will help the country achieve its targets into the future.
“I do see potential in some areas,” he said. “I think the wind energy is coming on-stream. I think the offshore wind targets, I think we can realise those in and around 2030.
“I think the trajectory, the trend, is downward now – and it is irreversibly downward.”
The EPA report found almost all sectors are set to exceed their targets for 2025 and 2030 – including agriculture, electricity transport and industry.
Residential buildings are the only sector not expected to seriously underperform in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.