Ireland ranked worst in Europe for taking action against climate change

Ireland ranked worst in Europe for taking action against climate change

PULL your socks up Ireland, there’s an environment to be saved.

Ireland has ranked as the worst performing country in Europe for taking action against climate change, according to a new report.

The annual Climate Change Performance Index, issued jointly by Germanwatch and the NewClimate Institute, reveals Ireland has dropped 28 places from last year’s report, with Ireland ranking 49 out of 59 international countries.

This was the lowest ranking of any European country with Sweden and Norway standing at the top end of the index as one of the countries doing the most to tackle climate change.

According to the report, Ireland produces the highest volume of emissions per person in Europe an the eight largest in the world.

It also said Ireland’s performance in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions was very poor, and the country is “nowhere close to being on track” to meeting targets to keep rising temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

Ireland is ranked in the “very low” performance category on climate change action by the index. Other countries in the same category include Japan, Malaysia, Russia, Australia, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The only positive to be taken from the report from an Irish perspective, was a positive trend in the development of renewable energy in Ireland but said that as “the current share of renewable energy in energy supply, as well as the 2030 target, are insufficient” and Ireland only rates “medium” in the renewables category.

“According to national experts, Ireland is one of the few EU countries to miss it's 2020 emission reduction targets under the EU effort-sharing decision, which is one reason why the country rates very low in climate policy,” the report said.

In 2016, Ireland, through the European Union, indicated its commitment through the Paris agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels.

Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughton said: “The Paris agreement requires that all parties produce plans to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change, and show increasing ambition over time with these plans.”

“Ireland’s obligation will form part of the European Union’s overall commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.”

If Naughton’s intent is to be taken seriously, Ireland has a steep hill to climb to put themselves in position to reach those goals and reduce emissions to greater contribute to the international battle against climate change.

On November 5th, members of the Citizen's Assembly recommended the Irish Government take a range of actions on climate change.

One proposal included taxing the greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, which 89 per cent of 75 members present for the ballot voted to support. A total of 98 per cent of members voted that climate change should be at the centre of policymaking in Ireland.

Members of the Assembly also voted to recommend an independent body should be resourced appropriately to address climate change.