‘28% of people are living in fuel poverty’ – climate action report launch hears

A commitment to the “100% reduction” of fossil fuels in Ireland by 2030 was given at the Joint Committee on Climate Action during its official launch of the final, cross-party report ‘Climate Change: A Cross-Party Consensus for Action’ on Tuesday, April 16.

It also emerged during proceedings that 28% of the population is currently living in fuel poverty.

The sentiments on fossil fuels were expressed by Green Party leader deputy Eamon Ryan during the launch of the report, which comes on the back of six month’s preparatory work and makes over 40 recommendations on “steering Ireland’s approach” towards climate action.

“We have to change our agricultural system because it is not working,” he added.

Ryan went on to say that he remains confident that the necessary governmental structures – to meet the targets in the report – will be implemented.

He then reiterated the state’s commitment to “100% reduction of fossil fuels by 2030”.

‘Carbon rich soils’

Also addressed on the day were the country’s carbon rich soils – peatland and farmland.

Ger Loftus of the Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association (INHFA) told those gathered that both were “going to become crucial” in terms of reducing the country’s carbon footprint.

He also pointed out that Irish farmers were the caretakers of that land and asked: Will they be taken care of?

Are we going to pay farmers upwards of €100,000 to produce food to export?

Loftus added: “The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) was supposed to assist farmers with food production but that has not happened and rural Ireland is being left behind.

“The next CAP budget must be redirected to environment and climate change if we are to achieve anything.”

‘Fuel poverty’

Meanwhile, during Tuesday’s launch it also emerged that 28% of Ireland’s population is living in fuel poverty.

It was deputy Mary Butler who brought this matter to the fore.

She told those in attendance that, while 28% of the population faced that specific poverty every day, in terms of moving forward it was going to be difficult to educate older people into behaving in a “more carbon efficient” way.

How do we educate older people to have a more carbon efficient way of heating their home?

Butler went on to say it was never more important as it is now for appropriate measures to be put in place to ensure that home installation is made a priority in this country.

She also pointed out that specific grants will need to be made available to assist the public.

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“So many people are living in fuel poverty and the reality is that one size does not fit all; this is something that must be handled right.”