Climate emergency requires government-led response – Carthy
Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has said that the climate change emergency we face must be met with an emergency response – and that governments must show leadership. Carthy was speaking following an Environmental Pillar hustings in Leitrim on Friday to which all European election candidates were invited. Despite the large turnout at the event, not a single Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael candidate turned up highlighting those parties position on this critical issue.
The Sinn Féin MEP said: “Climate change is the defining challenge of our generation. The IPCC’s report from October was the starkest warning yet of the impending climate catastrophe. The scientific consensus is that we have until 2030 to act to make ‘rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented’ transitions in all areas of our economies if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. That’s just 11 years away.
“The depth and breadth of change we require to decarbonise our economies and societies is such that it can only be dealt with by an emergency plan, led by governments, and coordinated at the international level.
“Leaving this challenge up to ‘market forces’ is a recipe for disaster. Proposals such as Carbon tax hikes not only punish the poorest, they are ineffective at reducing emissions. The international evidence in conclusive on this fact; market measures do not work, and emissions have continued to rise. Last year saw an EU record high in emissions. Leaving this issue to private interests to resolve merely provide the illusion of doing something.
“What we need more than anything at the EU and Irish level is a coordinated and unprecedented government-led roll-out of a major capital investment programme that massively expands public transport, retrofits homes and public buildings, invests directly in renewable energy, builds bike lanes and local gardens, and much more. At the same time we need a binding phase-out date for fossil fuels. This is the scale of work required. This is the scale of ambition we need, which is being demanded of us by the young students marching for their future each week around the world.
“The free-market fundamentalists in the Irish government will say, ‘let the market do its job – it’ll be grand’. The EU will say, ‘Don’t even think about breaching our arbitrary debt and deficit rules’. Our response to both of them has to be clear – that this is an emergency, and it requires an emergency response. The EU’s Fiscal Compact should be binned in favour of a coordinated EU-wide Green New Deal.
“We have seen the failure of the Fianna Fáil & Fine Gael approach. They have adopted a Forestry policy that actually damages the environment; they have a renewable energy policy that has antagonised communities; they have supported trade deals that will destroy our farming communities and rain-forests on the other side of the world. Leaving the issue of climate to private corporations clearly doesn’t work! The very fact that neither of these parties was represented at a debate on climate change during the course of this election campaign speaks volumes.
“The vast majority of people, and particularly young people, will be behind Sinn Féin when we demand real action that gives us a realistic chance of mitigating the worst aspects of this crisis – before it’s too late.”