Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Hold Government to account for missed carbon targets

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, said the Government must be held to account for missed carbon and greenhouse gas targets in the crucial fight to address climate change.

Deputy Pringle said: “We cannot continue to pay lip service to the most pressing issue of our time.”

Deputy Pringle addressed the Dáil today to speak on the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021.

He called the bill “a vast improvement on what was initially introduced”, but said issues remain.

Deputy Pringle said: “I would like to commend the members of the Joint Committee on Climate Action for the thorough pre-legislative scrutiny they undertook. It is welcome to see that many of the committee’s 78 recommendations were accepted. There are still some remaining issues with the bill, which I hope will be addressed at Committee Stage because it is imperative that we have tangible and clear targets in place. The Government must be held to account for missed targets.”

In his remarks, the deputy noted that tomorrow, Thursday, April 22nd, is Earth Day. Twenty million people were said to have mobilised on the first Earth Day, he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “That’s 51 years ago. You’d expect there to have been major change in the interim, given the level of awareness back in 1970 on the need to protect our planet. Yet here we still are, burning, destroying and decimating our natural resources, our life source.  All in the name of capitalism, greed and the patriarchy.”

He cited meaningful campaigns in the years since, such as the fight to reduce aerosols using CFCs, which were connected to the hole in the ozone layer, and the more recent global movement spurred by young Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. Governments must respond to the crisis, he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “The reality is that some aspects of climate action are not accessible for cohorts in our society and people are doing their best within the systems that have been created around them. Why talk so consistently about personal responsibility but then allow Google to ‘move’ $75bn in profits through the supposedly defunct ‘double-Irish’ loophole.”

Deputy Pringle said Ireland made history in 2018 by passing his Fossil Fuel Divestment Act, which makes Ireland the first country in the world to remove public money from investments in fossil fuels corporations. The divestment is to take place within five years of commencement of the act, to precipitate a timely decarbonisation process in line with Ireland’s climate change commitments under Article 2 of the Paris Agreement.

“It was a great day, and we were lauded internationally for our work,” he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “We know that Ireland is so small that we don’t make a huge difference globally. But we can and should be a leader in the fight against climate change. And that act made a difference globally, and it sent out a message right across the world that it is possible to divest.”