Northern Ireland news

Ireland has been ranked as the worst-performing country in Europe on climate action for the second year.

Minister for communications, climate action and environment Richard Bruton has a lot of work to do to get Ireland up to speed
Cate McCurry

IRELAND has been ranked as the worst-performing country in Europe on climate action for the second year.

Experts say that Ireland's response to global warming, which is among the worst in the world, will leave it unable to "achieve either its EU 2020 or 2030 targets".

The Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) 2019 report states that the country's "longstanding lack of implementation" of substantive measures to put it on a pathway to limiting warming to well below 2C has left it with a very low rating worldwide.

The report, which was launched at the UN climate conference in Poland on Monday, examined 56 countries and ranked them in order of their performance to tackle climate change.

It ranked Ireland 48th out of the 56 countries, up one place from last year.

Speaking from Poland, Clodagh Daly, of friends of the Irish environment, said: "This report highlights the gap minister Richard Bruton [minister for communications, climate action and environment] has to close between his new rhetoric on climate change and reality of Ireland's approach to climate action.

"His ministerial colleagues don't seem to have got the memo. Minister Bruton has successfully raised expectations in recent weeks, but as yet he hasn't taken actions that will actually lower our emissions."

Jennifer Higgins, policy and advocacy adviser at Christian Aid Ireland, said: "We have heard consistently citizens calling for more action, and a willingness to take on the radical changes we need to see domestically to tackle climate change.

"It's time for government ministers to wake up and listen, not only to the science and to the criticism we continually face at the bottom of the pack, but also to the people, both at home and in countries worst affected by climate change.

"With minister Bruton coming to Katowice to the UN climate conference this week, the government needs to respond immediately to the strong recommendations from the citizens' assembly."

The publication of the report comes a month after Mr Bruton announced the development of a new government climate action plan.

A special all-party Oireachtas committee on climate action is currently considering the recommendations from the citizens' assembly and will produce proposals for the development of Ireland's new national energy and climate plan.

The climate change performance index 2019 also highlights the continued growth and competitiveness of renewable energy globally.

However, it is emphasised that the gap between current emission levels and what is needed to put the world on track for a pathway of well below 2C or even 1.5C is widening.

Almost half of the G20 countries are in the group of very low performers: Japan (49), Turkey (50), Russian Federation (52), Canada (54), Australia (55), Korea (57) and – at the bottom of the index – the USA (59) and Saudi Arabia (60).

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