No point replacing one ‘car-dependent system’ with another, Eamon Ryan says as he defends reduction in 1m electric car target
Environment Minister Eamon Ryan has defended Ireland’s climate policies after a new report showed the country is not making enough progress.
reland ranked 37th out of 59 countries in the 2023 Climate Change Performance Index, which is nine spots up from the last report but still in the bottom half, securing a “low” rating.
It is the only EU country, along with Poland, to receive a “very low” rating on action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Minister Ryan, who is attending the Cop27 climate summit, said despite the low scores, the report shows that Ireland has the right policies in place.
“[Ireland is] putting the right policies in place but we now need to deliver in the reductions across so many different sectors,” he said on RTÉ Radio 1’s Morning Ireland.
“It’s going to be good for our country, good for our economy, but we cannot opt out. We cannot say Ireland, a green country, is not going to go in this in this direction.
“It’ll be challenging but it’ll be good for the country and I think we will see that ranking continuing to rise if we do that.”
Minister Ryan said a new Climate Action Plan will be published before Christmas, and it will set out “backed up by law measures” that Ireland will have to take.
He said a previous target of one million electric cars by 2030 will be changed as a “more systemic change” is needed as roads can’t take the numbers.
“It is starting in the likes of retrofitting in our homes. We are on target for 27,000 houses this year that will be upgraded and improved with bills reduced because of people taking action with government support,” the Green Party leader said.
“The areas that are probably likely to be difficult are transport and agriculture because there you have long-term patterns.
“In transport, long-term patterns of a car-dependent system. We need to switch that towards a much stronger system based on active travel, public transport, reducing the need for travel by promoting things like remote work. We can and will deliver that.”
“So yes, we have to now deliver and I’m confident that we can do so. We have to do so because by not doing so, I think our country would fall behind and would be seen as a laggard.
“That is changing. We are going up the rankings, we now need to put the foot to the pedal and go much further, faster.”