Taoiseach: Ireland can lead from the front in global battle against climate change 

Taoiseach: Ireland can lead from the front in global battle against climate change 

Eve Smyth at Oysterhaven Co Cork taking part in the Plastic Free 4 Kids campaign. Picture: Eddie O’Hare

Ireland can lead the battle against climate change from the front as it is “one of the better countries” when it comes to food technology and emissions.

That is what Taoiseach Micheál Martin will tell his fellow world leaders as they gather at Cop26, the Glasgow-based United Nations climate change event.

“The key message for us at Cop26 is that every country has to play its part. Sometimes you’ll get the kind of a lazy analysis where people say let China do it or the bigger states do it.

“It is only when everybody does their bit that one makes the difference. That is certainly true of climate change. Every single state has to play its role.” 

Mr Martin likened fighting climate change to the ongoing battle against the pandemic: 

It’s a bit like the message around Covid-19. Everybody individually can improve their own personal behaviours, adhere to the basics that bit more - overall cumulatively we then bring down the level of disease. 

"The same applies to climate change. If every member state and country in the world works to try and improve its performance, we will have a much better chance of dealing with climate change.” 

Mr Martin says Ireland can stand out on the world stage when it comes to addressing the climate crisis.

I want Ireland to be in a place where we can bring solutions to the world table in terms of technology and in terms of methods of food production, because we are one of the better food production systems in Europe from an emissions perspective, but also in terms of other technologies. 

Ireland's climate plan

Cop26 comes as Ireland prepares to unveil its Climate Action Plan within the next few days. It is believed that a reduction of up to 30% in emissions from agriculture will be a key element of the plan, with no specifics on herd numbers being capped or cut.

Transport will also form a major part of the plan, with electric vehicle (EVs) charging points being significantly increased, along with walking and cycling targets, and an ambition to reduce driving petrol and diesel vehicles.

Mr Martin insisted herd-culling is not on the agenda, despite agriculture's status as a major source of Irish emissions: 

I know the Minister for Agriculture has reached an accommodation with the Minister for Climate, and it doesn’t involve the kind of sweeping generalisations that are being advanced in newspaper articles. 

“I believe that it will be done but we have to work together as a society because if we stand back for a minute, the planet is in trouble and our world is in trouble. It’s accelerating faster than people would have thought and I think we have to embrace how we collectively behave in all facets of life to deal with what is an emergency."

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