Ireland is among the best and the worst and so ends up in the middle when it comes to sustainable development.
Developed countries will pledge to achieve sustainable development goals later this month, but it won’t come as a surprise that Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and Finland are the only ones likely to achieve them.
Ireland languishes at 20th of the 34 OECD states studied by Germany’s Bertelsmann Stiftung. It is one of the best for quality of life in cities, clean air, freshwater usage, and efficient energy use.
However, it falls to 29th for renewable energy sources, last for land designated as protected, and close to last for the amount of material consumed by households.
The study concludes that the developed states are not good models for emerging countries on use of resources, social inequality, and climate change.
O’Reilly warns on refugee response
The EU and national governments’ response to the refugee crisis will be measured against the many EU treaties, charters and codes that guarantee fundamental rights, EU Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly has warned.
In an impassioned plea that pushes out the boundaries of this once conservative EU position, Ms O’Reilly warned that it was part of her job, and that of her colleagues in the European Network of Ombudsman, to ensure these rights were respected.
Evoking the reality of Europe in the 1930s when Jews and many others were fleeing the Nazi regime, and of others needing protection in later decades, she said they “were confronted by the same confused ethical mess as those now fleeing Syria and elsewhere. Familiar issues of xenophobia, denial, and political short-termism afflict the refugees of 2015 just as they did those of the 1930s and beyond”.