Speaking at the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 18, in Doha, the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan TD today (5.12.2012) highlighted the urgent need for concerted action to deliver a successful outcome: “There is overwhelming scientific evidence that global warming is happening. In fact, according to UNEP’s latest Emissions Gap report, instead of declining, greenhouse gases are actually increasing more rapidly than previous projections. Climate change is likely to alter traditional weather patterns with important implications for the whole population of the world and particularly for the agricultural sector. We have a responsibility to future generations to ensure there is a successful outcome to our discussions this week.”
Given the limited scope for individual countries acting alone to successfully tackle climate change, the Minister emphasised the critical importance of the global efforts under the UN process, and the essential purpose of the negotiations taking place in Doha this week. “It is only by continuing to engage proactively with international organisations through EU and UN structures that we can have optimum effect in terms of developing an ambitious and deliverable global strategy to keep the planetary temperature increase below 2 degrees Celsius.”
“Internationally, strengthening the means of implementation for both mitigation and adaptation is central for effective action to address the challenges of climate change. An essential element of a balanced package from Doha will be the extension of the Kyoto Protocol until 2020; but the package must also involve taking decisive action now across a range of other elements, to close the ambition gap, through increasing pledges and tapping into other complementary initiatives, and to help deliver the new global, legally-binding agreement by 2015.”
“The EU is on target to meet their 20% emission reduction target by 2020 which is mandated in legislation throughout all its 27 Member States. However, the EU accounts for only 11% of global emissions, so we need others to also do more in terms of emissions reductions, in parallel with the increased efforts of the EU”. With the aim of contributing to those EU efforts, the Minister emphasised the progress being made nationally in delivering on the programme for the development of national climate policy and legislation published in early 2013, in particular the completion of an interim policy analysis report by the NESC Secretariat. “The remainder of this year will see further progress on the programme and I expect to announce details of additional initiatives in this regard in the coming weeks, all designed to move Ireland further along the transition to a low-carbon future,”
In addition to the efforts by the EU to reduce emissions, the Minister also emphasised the impressive European, and Irish, track record in providing financial assistance to support the efforts of developing countries to deal with climate change. “I’m pleased to confirm that, as part of the overall EU effort, Ireland will exceed its commitment to provide up to €100 million for the Fast Start Finance period. Over the three year period involved, 2010 – 2012, Ireland has delivered some €110 million in direct grant-aid which is being used to support activities in several of the poorest countries experiencing the worst impacts of climate change, particularly in Africa.”
Given Ireland’s forthcoming EU Presidency, Minister Hogan is also taking opportunities in Doha to participate in a range of bilaterals between the EU and other parties, supporting the current Cyprus Presidency. He is also meeting with many of his EU Environment Minister counterparts to brief them on, and seek their support for, what will be an ambitious environmental agenda under the Irish Presidency.