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EU must focus on how climate targets can be achieved – MEP Kelly

Published: Tue, 06 February 2024

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Today’s European Commission’s non-binding recommendation for the EU to achieve a 90% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 is welcome as it “provides more clarity on how Europe will meet its 2050 targets” according to Ireland South MEP Sean Kelly. However, MEP Kelly has underlined that “the main focus should be on how we actually achieve the targets”.

“The new target of 90% reductions is a significant step forward, and from an Irish perspective, it makes pure economic sense. We currently spend €1 million every hour importing fossil fuels. Achieving a carbon-free electricity grid powered by renewables, coupled with electric heating and transport, is entirely achievable for Ireland in a 2040 timeframe,” Kelly said, speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

Highlighting the economic advantages, Kelly added: “We need to look at this from the right perspective. There are major opportunities to lower emissions, improve air quality, and position Ireland as a world leader in renewable integration. This, in turn, will drive job creation and local investment across our rural areas and coastal regions, providing cheaper energy and ending our import dependency.”

Addressing concerns related to the agricultural sector, Kelly stated: “Focusing on the energy side means that energy does the heavy lifting and not agriculture. Concentrating more on our energy, buildings, and transport sectors allows for a just transition in our farming sector. Farmers can, of course, contribute, but they need to be incentivized. Removing barriers for the likes of anaerobic digesters would be a good start.”

MEP Kelly also highlighted the need for an efficient planning system.

“There’ll be no 90% without a planning system that works. Timelines are too long, and Ireland is yet to implement the EU emergency permitting regulation. This is particularly disappointing as I was highly involved in this process at the EU level and needs to be urgently addressed in Ireland. The simple fact is that judicial reviews are taking too long, and they need to be processed more quickly to get renewable projects through.”

“Although Ireland has enormous generation potential, international investors are being turned off Ireland due to our unacceptably slow planning system. The technologies are proven; we just need to get them deployed,” Kelly concluded

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