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Policy issues concerning Environment

Budget 2020 does not contain the ‘bold and new decisions’ required to meet the ‘defining challenge’ of climate change, and there was no progress on examining subsidies that the CSO has highlighted as potentially environmentally damaging.

Policy Coherence means making sure that the goals of one policy, or set of policies, does not conflict with another. Here are some areas where Ireland performs particularly badly in this regard.

The theme of the 2019 annual edition of Employment and Social Developments in Europe is sustainability.  The report explores how the EU can support the transition to a socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economy that benefits the well-being of all and leaves nobody behind.

The UN Climate Action Summit 2019 begins in New York today.  The purpose of the summit is for countries who signed the Paris Agreement in 2015 to bring concrete, realistic and effective plans to meet 2020 targets and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent in the next ten years.  What plan does Ireland have to fully transform the economy in line with the sustainable development goals?

It's time for Governments to put an end to policies that subsidise and encourage the extraction and use of fossil fuels. Without such a move, Ireland will continue to be a laggard in terms of our climate action goals and obligations.

Ireland has signed up to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 and is committed to legally binding climate commitments in 2020 and 2030.  We have a national commitment to be carbon neutral by 2050 yet we spend up to €4 billion every year on potentially environmentally damaging subsidies.

The most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report on Climate Change and Land raises some significant issues for Ireland, and in particular our policies on food production and land management.

Budget 2020 is an opportunity for government to implement a number of policies which would assist Ireland in meeting its environmental targets. Social Justice Ireland's budget submission contains a number of proposals that would help meet Ireland's targets while also incentivising better behaviour by our citizens and raising hundreds of millions of euros in revenue.

The contribution of airplane emissions to climate change is well documented. It's time the aviation industry made a contribution to society that more accurately reflects the harm it does while ultimately incentivising individuals to fly less. Click here to read how Government could raise €200m in 2020 while benefiting the environment.

Climate change will have the greatest impact on those living in poverty, who have the least capacity to protect themselves.  Yet they are responsible for just a fraction of global emissions.

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