Cop26: ‘It is essential we do this’ – Taoiseach Micheál Martin warns radical climate action vital for economy

TAOISEACH Micheál Martin has said Ireland’s economic survival depends on radical and urgent climate action.

r Martin said he understood why people talked about the cost of emissions-cutting measures, but he said the cost of not curbing emissions would be much higher.

“Economically it’s essential that we do this,” he said.

“Very often people talk about the cost of adjustments and the cost of the measures that we have to introduce in respect of climate change, but just think of the enormous disruption that big weather events or events that are a consequence of climate change will have on our economies in the future.

“It will not be economically sustainable to carry on the way we are carrying on, either nationally or globally.”

He said there would be positive outcomes to climate action measures through the creation of thousands of jobs in renewable energies, retrofitting and clean technology.

He said the carbon tax was not only a disincentive to fossil fuels but provided valuable revenue.

“It gives valuable resources to government to invest in retrofitting, for example, to invest in more environmentally friendly farming.

“We want to create income systems that reward farmers for protecting biodiversity, for protecting our water ways and for creating food productions systems that will be less harmful in terms of emissions.

“I would say to people as well that a city without fossil fuels is a much cleaner place to live in, a much healthier place to live in.

“I don’t see why people would be against cleaner oceans, cleaner water, fresher air and a healthier lifestyle and that’s actually what we can develop. That’s the carrot.”

He says others were opposed to the carbon tax “for electoral reasons”.

The Taoiseach was speaking in Glasgow, where he is attending the world leaders summit as part of the COP26 climate conference.

Mr Martin will be one of almost 120 heads of state to deliver a live address on national climate commitments and ambitions over the next two days.

He will then return to Ireland for the finalising of the revised climate action plan and sectoral emissions limits, which are due to be published on Thursday.

Mr Martin said the limits would vary from sector to sector, but would be “very challenging” for all.

He confirmed Ireland would sign up to a new EU-US led pact to reduce global methane emissions by 30pc by 2030, based on current levels.

But he said that would not tie Ireland into a 30pc cut.

“It’s a global pledge we are signing up to. The specific manifestation of that in each country may differ because countries have different challenges in that respect. The climate action plan will give details.”

The Taoiseach also confirmed that Ireland would be committing to more than doubling the national contribution to the global climate finance fund that helps developing countries build their economies in sustainable ways.

Collectively, countries have failed to honour a decade-old pledge to increase the fund to $100bn a year by 2020. Ireland contributed €93m this year and that is to rise to €225m by 2025.

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