Howlin Says Ireland Can Avoid Massive Fines Over Greenhouse Gas Targets


The Public Expenditure Minister Wexford’s Brendan Howlin says the government can avoid hundreds of millions of euro in fines from Brussels over our greenhouse gas targets.

He was speaking ahead of the Cabinet meeting this morning during which the heads of the Climate Change Bill will be discussed by Ministers.

Ireland is obliged to cut emissions by 20% by 2020, and not meeting that mark could see Ireland face significant sanctions.

Thousands of protestors are expected to march on Leinster House this morning in opposition to wind turbines and electricity pylons.

It comes just a day after the Minister for Communication, Energy and Natural Resources Pat Rabbitte said the government focus on renewable energy remains in place, despite the collapse of a plan to export energy to the UK.

The announcement coincided with a call from the United Nations for a rapid switch to renewables to tackle climate change.

A report says “Climate policies in line with the two degrees Celsius goal need to aim for substantial emission reductions”. “There is a clear message from science: To avoid dangerous interference with the climate system, we need to move away from business as usual”.

Scenarios show that to have a likely chance of limiting the increase in global mean temperature to two degrees Celsius, means lowering global greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 70% compared with 2010 by mid-century, and to near-zero by the end of this century.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says scientific literature confirms that even less ambitious temperature goals would still require similar emission reductions.

Minister Brendan Howlin says the government is making progress.

“We have made huge advances on a number of fronts; even by 2020 in terms of the energy sector…our target is get 40 percent energy production from renewables – I think that’s very important” he said.

“There’s resistance obviously in some sectors to that, but I think people will understand that we need to do things different into the future” he added.

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