Climate Action Plan a lost opportunity for Fingal commuters – Green Party

June 20, 2019 0

Green Party representative for Dublin Fingal Cllr. Joe O’Brien criticised the government’s new Climate Action Plan claiming that there was little in it to convince him that government understood the scale of the challenge and opportunity facing the country. As Green Party representative for Dublin Fingal I felt there was a lot missing from the plan that could have benefited Dublin Fingal especially in the area of transport.

Joe OBrien

Cllr Joe O’Brien

There is no increased urgency in the plan in accelerating Metro North or electrifying the line to Balbriggan. While a move to 10% of the transport budget to cycling is a clear improvement it is still a distance off the 20% recommended by the UN to spend on walking and cycling, and we have major catch up to play in this regard. If we are really serious about making Ireland carbon neutral by 2050 then we need much more dramatic changes to budgets and make public transport much more attractive to motorists. It’s easy to include in a document that Ireland will be Carbon Neutral by 2050 but the actions detailed in the plan will not achieve this in my view.

While it is good to see that my previous proposal to the Citizens Assembly on Climate Change of a Carbon Neutral exemplar town in each Local Authority has been adopted in the plan to some extent it is a pity that the initial focus is only one town (Portlaoise) with a wider category of low carbon town projects proposed under the Climate Action Fund.

At a local level I will be pushing with my Green colleagues in Fingal County Council for the establishment of a Young People’s Climate Monitoring Forum. We need to better acknowledge and harness the concern and commitment of young people in relation to climate change. To a significant extent the public at large did this during the local elections when it was clear that many parents and grandparents voting choices were influenced by the climate change related challenges that their children and grandchildren will face. There is no better touchstone than the question – ‘What is best for our children?’ – I know I use this question personally and repeatedly in terms of what I believe is important in terms of politics and policy.

I also felt the plan was quite weak in terms of afforestation proposals too but this is something we can work on locally and I recently submitted a motion to Fingal County Council to begin to revise our tree policy before the end of the year.