THE IRISH GOVERNMENT has been accused of making ‘a charade’ of its climate change promises by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
They’ve spent €86.6 million on purchasing emission space from other countries, which allows them to undercut the international carbon emissions target of a 16% reduction.
Ireland is currently operating at just a 13% reduction, and the PAC believe that a further €66.5 million of taxpayer money will need to be spent in order to buy the country out of renewable energy targets before the end of the year.
Under repeatedly stated international climate change targets, countries across the world have been asked to cut down their carbon emissions and pollution levels, with a 16% reduction by 2020 outlined.
But countries who struggle to reach those targets can buy emission space from countries whose emissions are far lower, effectively having them cover their emission targets.
With Ireland currently failing to meet the targets, at 13%, international auctions suggest that the going rate for a percentage point is €22.5 million, meaning that another €66.5 million will need to be raised before the nation can pass.
“This is horrific,” said PAC chairman and Fianna Fail TD Sean Fleming.
“I want everybody interested in climate change to know it is a charade what we are doing, we shouldn’t have to spend taxpayers’ money to buy our way out, we should be doing the right thing in the first place.”
The figures emerged as the Government continues to finalise its cross-departmental climate change plan, and just days after former US secretary of state John Kerry told an audience in Cork on Monday that governments are failing to take the climate change crisis seriously.
Earlier this year, Ireland became just the second nation in Europe to declare a ‘climate emergency’.