Ireland’s Green MEPs today gave a cautious welcome to the European Green Deal presented by new European Commissioner Ursula von der Leyen in the European Parliament in Brussels. The Irish MEPs, along with their Greens/EFA group in the Parliament have been calling for an ambitious Green Deal for Europe that will take the radical action needed to address the climate and biodiversity emergencies and improve the lives of all Europeans.
“Today I spoke in the European Parliament in response to Commission President von der Leyen’s presentation of a European Green Deal. In this crucial week for decision-making on climate action, with COP25 concluding in Madrid, I extended a cautious welcome to the European Green Deal. There are some promising initiatives, but greater ambition and detail are needed on some crucial issues.
“Today I spoke of the 140,000 children in Ireland who the St Vincent De Paul tells us live in inadequately heated homes, with leaks, damp and rot, which is detrimental to their health and wellbeing. I called on the Commission President to deliver a green deal for Europe that provides healthy, warm homes, that provides jobs and breaks the cycle of poverty.
“I spoke of poor air quality which in Europe kills half a million people every year and in Ireland contributes to almost 2000 premature deaths annually. Myself and my Greens/EFA colleagues want the European Green Deal to phase out fossil fuels and investment in renewables to improve people’s health and save the planet.
“I was very surprised to see the Taoiseach tweet this morning proclaiming his pride in Ireland’s ranking under the Climate Change Performance Index released yesterday. Our ranking under the assessment places us 41st out of 57 countries worldwide, and while we have moved up from the group of “very low” to “low” performers, we are still very much considered to be climate laggards on the international stage. Hardly something to shout about from the rooftops. The Taoiseach and his government colleagues need to end the greenwashing and take the urgent action needed to mitigate the worst impacts of climate and biodiversity emergencies.”
“The European Green Deal has to be nothing less than transformational if we are to succeed. I’m glad to see the idea of a European Green Deal take centre stage in the policy programme of the new Commission, it has been a Green Party policy for many years.
“I agree with Ursula von der Leyen when she says it’s “our generational duty to deliver” for the young people who have come out onto the streets worldwide asking for leadership and action. The current system is broken. Inequality is growing. The European Green Deal must be an environmental project focussing on our lands and oceans that cuts emissions, restores biodiversity, and puts measures in place to tackle consumption and instigate new policies around areas such as agriculture, water quality, plastics and chemicals.”
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