People Before Profit are pursuing a populist and conflicting climate strategy that would cost people dearly – and fall short of the actual goal of protecting the planet, a Fine Gael Senator has said.
Senator Michelle Mulherin said the ‘Keep it in the Ground’ Bill being pursued by PBP TD, Bríd Smith, shows that the party is promoting an ad-hoc climate strategy, at a time when a cohesive, sensible and fully thought-out plan is needed.
Senator Mulherin, a member of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, said:
“Ireland absolutely needs to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, that much is clear, and an all-of-Government Climate Plan to be published soon will further outline how we intend to get there.
“That plan will increase our renewable electricity from 30% to 70% by 2030, and significantly cut our greenhouse gas emissions and our reliance on fossil fuels.
“Fine Gael has committed to aggressively pursuing this as a priority and it appears the public are open to making environmentally friendly lifestyle changes – but it must be done in a way that is manageable for people.
“We cannot put the cart before the horse. Banning offshore oil and gas exploration will not do a single thing to reduce emissions in Ireland or reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
“All it will succeed in doing is driving up the cost of fuel for Irish people as Ireland will be forced to buy fossil fuels from foreign sources while the country transitions to renewable energy sources.
“Deputy Smith and her colleagues have been very vocal in their opposition to increasing the Carbon Tax and have been vocal in their support of the Yellow Vest movement in France which sprung up as a response to changes to Carbon Tax.
“Despite this stance, the party is bizarrely keen to promote a Bill that won’t reduce emissions but will increase costs for people and reduce Ireland’s fuel security.
“This defies logic and demonstrates that this Bill is not about real climate action but, rather, is a token gesture that will achieve nothing of note.
“Fine Gael has led unprecedented cross-party consensus on climate action and it is incumbent on all parties in the Dáil to play their part in this process.”