Climate Action Minister Eamon Ryan has welcomed the European Commission proposal to set a tougher greenhouse gas reduction target for member states.
But activists have warned the new target of “at least” 55pc does not pertain to the drastic changes needed to stem global warming.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen made the widely welcomed statement in her State of the Union address yesterday.
Details on how the goal can be achieved are expected to be published today and discussions will need to take place in the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers to get all the seats on the board.
The EU is committed to collectively reducing emissions by 40 pieces by 2030 but since that level was set, iron has risen. The scientific consensus, backed by the UN-Paris Agreement, says the temperature rise should be maintained at 1.5 degrees to avoid a rapid escalation of climate change. This requires a reduction of 65 pieces.
The program for the Government commits to measures that would achieve a reduction of 51 pieces by 2030.
In her speech, Ms. von der Leyen said: “To become the first continent climate neutral, we are proposing to increase the 2030 target to reduce emissions to at least 55 pieces.
“I realize this is too much for some and not enough for others. But our economy and industry can manage that. And they want it too.”
Mr. Ryan welcomed her remarks. “This supports cuts of at least 7pc per year of emissions that we have committed to in our government program.
“We hope to work with the EU Commission to realize it and get empowered from there to fully deliver the Paris climate agreement,” he said.
But the commission’s target looks weak as the European Parliament’s Environment Committee last week voted in favor of 60 pc.
Climate activists have also expressed their disappointment. “The commission ‘s proposal to withdraw emissions reductions to 55pc still erodes Europe’ s responsibility to do our fair share of climate action,” the Friends of the Earth said.
“Europe mainly caused the historic emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by harming communities. We must go completely without fossils to avoid destructive warming.”
The Climate Action Network acknowledged that 55pc was a significant increase from previous engagement, but said it should only be a base from which to grow ambition.
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