Could Ireland Have Committed to More Change at COP21 Paris?
On Monday of this week, as we got ready for another week of work in the world of renewable energy, our Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, addressed many of the world’s leading nations’ leaders in Paris at the COP 21 global summit on climate change.
It was a moment in which Enda could have made all of us in the renewable energy industry in Ireland proud. That includes all of our customers and everyone making genuine efforts to source and use energy from renewable and sustainable means. It includes everyone who takes pride in simple things like recycling. It includes a lot of people in Ireland. But he failed to declare Ireland’s strong intentions for climate change into the future.
Instead of standing and proclaiming Ireland’s willingness to do everything possible so that Ireland would reach its renewable energy targets, he simply didn’t deliver. He cited Ireland’s current targets for 2020 as being “unrealistic” and “unreachable”. Although he mainly referred to the difficulties facing the agricultural section in Ireland with regards to carbon emissions, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that incentives have worked in other industries.
You only have to look at the current solar energy grants scheme that has worked very well for our targets, our businesse,s and most of all, the Irish public who have been able to avail of renewable energy technologies in their home. Looking to agriculture, there is the opportunity to install medium-scale solar PV systems on farm buildings through the TAMS II scheme, but measures such as this should be more heavily supported if Ireland are to be seen as being serious about offsetting the emissions caused by our ever-increasing agricultural production.
The Irish Economy and Climate Change
Getting back to the topic at hand, Ireland is in a strong position currently thanks to our growing economy. Evidence of this was seen in the generous nature of the most recent budget. It would have been possible for the government to increase incentives and really push an agenda of change in relation to climate change and our 2020 targets, with a view to reaching our 2030 targets also.
Unfortunately, this didn’t happen and we, like many others, were left disappointed. But with this week’s COP 21 global summit on climate change unfolding, we felt that it was the time for Enda Kenny and his party to show the Irish public its future plans in relation to climate change and a chance for them to showcase to the world how Ireland could once again be a leader of change as it has done in the past.
The only real commitment to come from Mr. Kenny was The €175 million promised over the next five years, which is no more than existing Irish Aid spending repeated into the future.
We, like many others, will continue to drive the renewable energy industry in Ireland and are hopeful that Mr. Kenny scraps the notion that our recession restricted us in this regard. Plenty of poorer nations than Ireland, such as India, have been admirably powering themselves forward through the heavy backing and support of solar power. In fact, Ireland is the 8th highest polluter amongst developed countries in the entire world and we are 4th in Europe .
It is time for change, climate change!
 “World carbon dioxide emissions data by country: China speeds ahead of the rest” – The Guardian.