The Junior Minister for Rural Affairs and Natural Resources, Seán Canney, has pledged government support for offshore oil and gas exploration at an industry conference in Dublin – a move the Green Party has described as yet another step in the wrong direction in Ireland’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The move comes despite bleak reports from both the IPCC and WWF in recent weeks and a statement from the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment describing the Government’s failure to take more effective measures to address climate change as a breach of Ireland’s human rights obligations.
Green Party Spokesperson for Environmental Protection, Natural Resources, Marine, and Tourism, Senator Grace O’Sullivan: “This is yet another example of short-sighted policy in the middle of a global emergency. This government is not rising to the task of tackling the global emergency we are in, as they are too busy attending conferences to sell fossil fuels that can never safely be burned. At the same time that they are touting their green credentials we’ve seen a National Planning Framework that isn’t climate-proofed, a budget that lacked the courage to include a carbon tax, the continued blocking of the Waste Reduction Bill, and now a commitment to continue offshore oil drilling – when we know already that four fifths of existing fossil fuels can never be utilised if we’re to avoid a runaway disruption of our climate. These are all decisions that could be made at a local level to help combat the problem of climate change. We have the opportunity to lead on this, but instead the government is working to make the problem worse.”
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