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April 1st . We all love to have a bit of fun….
This year, Friends of the Earth, members of Stop Climate Chaos, pulled a prank with a harsh dose of reality. On the morning of April 1st, they issued a press release revealing that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael had agreed on an ambitious new plan for climate action. The new deal included a solar revolution, a ban on fracking, and an SSIA scheme for retro-fitting homes.
The joke: there is no plan.
In fact, the last national climate action plan was published by Minister Dick Roche, NINE years ago. At the end of Dick Roche's press release nine years ago, it stated: "The Government will publish another climate change strategy for the period to 2020 when Ireland's post-2012 commitments are known." Our post-2012 commitments were known in 2008 and, yet, eight years later there is still no new action plan.
Commenting, Oisín Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth, said:
‘’The real joke is that Ireland isn't planning to have a proposal on how to meet our 2020 emissions targets until after we miss them.
The sad thing is the measures we included in our April Fool's climate action plan are not that radical. They're very practical. They would save the taxpayers' money being wasted on fines for missing out targets, and people would get clean energy and warmer homes.
And yet there is no sign of anything like this emerging from the talks on the formation of a new Government. There is still time to fix that and we would call on all parties to build on the high level of support for the Climate Bill in 2015 to agree a positive and practical plan to grasp the opportunities of the transition to to zero carbon future.’’
Hats off to Friends of the Earth for drawing much needed attention to this issue at a critical time in negotiations between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael on the formation of the next government. Our hope is that the ambitious, but extremely practical and achievable goals outlined in the fake press release reach the decision makers in Leinster House when a new government is finally formed.
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