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Minister Alex White pledges Irish action on climate change

minister white speaking at the un climate change conference lima, peru un ccc lima
Lima, Peru 10 December 2014

Addressing the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, today (Wednesday), Minister for Energy Alex White, TD, said Ireland was accelerating its actions to combat climate change. He said Ireland was playing an active part in meeting collective EU targets and global aspirations for reduced carbon emissions through energy efficiency, renewable energy, afforestation, improved agricultural practices, and financial support for developing countries.

Minister White said the Government would publish a Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development Bill this month. The Bill will "provide the statutory framework for transition to a competitive, low-carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by 2050," in line with EU and international efforts to combat climate change. He said Ireland was "actively exploring all options" in relation to climate finance for developing countries "including in relation to the Green Climate Fund."

Almost 200 countries are represented at this UN Climate Change Conference, which is working towards agreeing draft negotiating text on key elements of an international climate change agreement ahead of the summit to finalise a legally-binding global accord in Paris next year.

Minister White said: "Ireland is determined to play its part as we work together to deliver an ambitious, global response to our collective climate challenge when we meet in Paris next year. We need decisions here in Lima that pave the way for that, and that build trust in each other's actions and commitments.

"Ireland is contributing to meeting the EU's collective 2020 target, and to setting an ambitious EU climate energy framework for 2030. Ireland will strive for de-carbonisation of the power generation, transport and built environment sectors, whilst working towards a goal of carbon neutrality in our agriculture and land sector in a manner consistent with the global framework."

Minister White said Ireland was actively exploring all options on climate finance, including in relation to the Green Climate Fund. "We fully recognise the need to support our partners in their own responses to the threat of climate change. We are supporting the work of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) for example, and, through our overseas development aid programme, we are helping communities pursue climate-resilient sustainable development.

"Despite our recent difficult economic circumstances, Ireland has maintained flows of public climate finance at fast-start finance levels, delivering approximately €34 million in grants in 2013. We expect to match that in 2014, and we are actively exploring all options for scaling up our mobilisation of climate finance, including in relation to the Green Climate Fund."

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Notes to editors

• The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive set Ireland a legally-binding target of meeting 16% of our energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. Ireland is committed to meeting 40% of electricity demand, 10% of transport and 12% of heat from renewable sources.

• Ireland is, on average, half way towards meeting its 2020 renewable energy targets. 21% of electricity, 5.7% of heat and 4.9% of transport is now produced from renewable sources.

• Average Irish household energy household consumption fell 32% between 1990 and 2013, helped by improved building energy regulations, building energy ratings and better energy programmes. The average CO2 emissions per house fell from 11 tonnes to 6 tonnes in the same period.

• Last October the European Union agreed a new target of a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and a 27% target for renewable energy use, by 2030. It also set a 27% target for improvements in energy efficiency.

• The Green Climate Fund was established by the UN to help poorer countries decarbonise and deal with the impact of global warming. Parties agreed at the 2009 Copenhagen Climate COP to mobilise $100bn per annum from 2020 to fund this work and over $10bn has already been pledged to kick start the initial capitalisation of the Fund.

 

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