By Marianne Foody
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar rejected claims from socialist TDs in the Dail today for the government’s failure to tackle environmental issues saying, ”socialists are no friends of the environment”.
People before Profit TD Paul Murphy raised the case of 16 year old climate activist Greta Thunberg whose recent efforts have gained her global attention.
Thunberg’s #FridaysForFuture school strikes initiative saw over 30,000 students globally take to the streets every Friday and Murphy maintained that the government needs to listen to the Irish youth who will strike on March 15th.
Varadkar stated that eco-socialist policies are not what Ireland needs and although he is inspired by the children of Ireland, he said socialists need to listen too and pointed out that PBP objected to water charges and a carbon tax saying,
‘’Without a carbon tax we cannot achieve our targets’’.
Murphy accused Varadkar’s government of ‘‘greenwashing’’ and using climate change to implement a carbon tax although, he said,
‘’It’s the larger companies who are at fault here.’’
‘’Ireland is the third worst in the EU for renewable energy. 90% of corporations are responsible for 63% of global emissions – these students should be joined by trade unions to enable the just and rapid transition that we need. We need eco-socialist policies,’’ said Murphy.
When Varadkar confirmed that he supported the children who will strike on March 15th around the world, Murphy described it as great, as long as it wasn’t just a ‘’patronizing pat on the back’’.
The PBP politician argued that free public transport in Ireland would be an effective policy to implement costing the State €600 million per year, the same amount Ireland will be fined annually by the EU for failing to meet renewable energy targets and cutting emissions by 2020.
An Taoiseach confirmed that free public transport would not be a possibility as it is already ‘’at full capacity’’ and thusly can’t be used anymore than it already is.
Ireland has committed to an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 but we are not set to meet those targets and as it stands our emissions are rising.
In fact, the States own appointed Climate Change Advisory Counsel (CCAC) outlined in its 2018 report that Ireland’s trend of rising emissions was ‘‘disturbing’’.