Ireland sets ambitious targets for environmental protection

Ireland’s environment ministry has set ambitious targets to protect the environment from future climate change, the country’s environment minister has said.

Environmental protection minister Michael McGrath said the new measures are part of the Government’s “historic” commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

It was a historic day, he said in a statement on Wednesday.

The target of a quarter of our electricity generation from renewable sources by 2050, and the reduction of CO2 emissions from power generation by 70 per cent by 2050 are among the most ambitious and achievable commitments ever made by the Government, he added.

“We are working with partners around the world to achieve the ambitious climate change goals,” Mr McGrath added.

The statement came as Irish newspapers reported that a major new report by Greenpeace Ireland said the Irish Government was “in a state of denial” about climate change and that it was making little effort to address the problem.

Greenpeace Ireland, which has been monitoring Ireland’s CO2 levels, said the Government had “no plan for tackling climate change” and was ignoring the reality that CO2 is already at record levels in Ireland.

Mr McGrath was asked on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show whether the Government was making a climate change commitment, and said it was a “big part” of the strategy.

“The government is in a state as a whole of denial about climate,” he said.

“Climate change is happening, it is happening now, it’s happening at a rate of about three or four per cent a year.”

Greenpeace said it had found evidence that the Government is not taking a strong enough action to reduce emissions from the power sector.

“Our analysis suggests that the Irish government is actively failing to act on the most important issue of our time: climate change,” Greenpeace Ireland executive director and campaigner Nick Dearden said.

Greenhouse gases are the main cause of climate change.

Ireland is the world’s third-largest emitter of CO 2 after China and the United States.

The Irish Government said it is “deeply committed” to the Paris climate agreement, but that it had not yet made any decisions on emissions reductions.

“It is also vital to recognise that Ireland’s national interests are also at stake.

The country is the biggest emitter in Europe and the fourth largest CO2 emitter,” the statement said.

It said the European Union (EU) has set its targets for emissions reductions by 2030.

“This agreement is the most comprehensive and effective agreement on climate change yet reached, with a global reach and scope to tackle the challenge,” it added.