Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North James Lawless has warned that Ireland faces crippling fines in the coming years as the Government is failing to get on top of its renewable energy targets.
Deputy Lawless made the comments after the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment Denis Naughten conceded that Ireland could be hit with a €1bn fine in the years ahead.
Deputy Lawless said, “Ireland is at risk of missing its climate change targets under the Kyoto Protocol and EU 2020 agreement. The 2009 EU Renewable Energy Directive set a legally binding target of meeting 16% of our energy requirements from renewable sources by 2020. However the Government remains far off from achieving this commitment as we currently source just 9% of our overall energy use from renewal sources.
“I raised this issue with Minister Naughten at a recent meeting of the Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment and highlighted the need for a renewed focus on achieving our climate change targets. Under questioning Minister Naughten admitted to me that Ireland could face a fine of up to €1bn unless we deliver on our renewable energy targets. This is a massive sum of money which would have a profound impact on the finances of the state.
“The Government is far too blasé with getting to grips with the climate change challenge that Ireland faces. We have significant obligations that we simply have to meet. Ireland should not be put in a position of having to hand over €1bn in fines due to Government inaction on achieving our climate change targets. This is money which itself could be invested in renewable energy schemes alongside pressing social issues such as housing needs and health concerns.
“Minister Naughten needs to get on top of this issue and it is something that I will continue to raise with him. Additional resources are clearly needed to address the massive climate change challenges that Ireland faces in the years ahead,” concluded Deputy Lawless.