Taoiseach says the cost of not responding to climate change is too high

Taoiseach Michael Martin pledged that Ireland will double its funding to poor countries to tackle climate change by 2025.

Taoiseach, who will address the UN Cop26 summit in Glasgow on Tuesday, said the government’s annual commitment to climate finance will rise from €93 million to €225 million over the next four years.

The government agreed in March to double the proportion of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) spent on climate finance by 2030, but Mr Martin said today’s announcement represented an escalation of ambitions.

«The commitment in the government’s program is to double the current commitment to climate finance, and our climate finance is of good quality as well,» he told reporters at the summit in Glasgow.

We give assistance to low-income countries as well as small islands and independent islands especially around the Pacific Ocean. We have a strong relationship with those and we’ve targeted a lot of resources there.

“So we will develop it now to reach the situation in 2025 and we will reach 225 million euros. This is a significant increase from doubling, which is beyond the commitment in the government program. But we think it is important.”

Martin said the fact that 120 world leaders are in Glasgow is evidence of the growing momentum behind the need to tackle climate change in a radical and urgent way.

He said the government’s climate action plan, which will be presented to Cabinet this week, will set firm targets for individual sectors alongside carbon budgets.

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I would like to point out that from an economic point of view it is necessary that we do this. A lot of times people talk about the cost of adjustments and the cost of the measures we will have to introduce in relation to climate change.”

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But just think of the massive disruption that climate events or major weather events will have on our economies in the future.

“So for those who question the cost of this and the cost of doing all of this, what I can say is there is no choice. That means more investment in public transportation, it means taxing carbon.

“International research is strong on carbon taxes, as it does two things. Over time, it discourages use of fossil fuels but it also provides very valuable resources for the government to invest in retrofitting, for example, to invest in greener agriculture.”

Mr Martin said Ireland would sign a global pledge to cut methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030, but stressed that the 30 per cent target was a global target and did not imply that each country would cut gas emissions by the same percentage.

It is a global pledge that we sign. The specific manifestation of this may differ in each country because different countries face different challenges in this regard or produce methane at different levels in different sectors. So our climate action plan will give details regarding our strategies to reduce methane as well as reduce emissions across the board.”

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