1 June 2017
By Bryan Smyth
Solidarity TD Mick Barry (Cork North Central) has criticised President Donald Trump and the White House administration after reports emerged that he is set to announce that the U.S will pull out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
The Cork North Central TD also called out the Irish government’s inaction on climate change, saying that it amounted to words with no actions.
Mick Barry TD said:
“While I’m not surprised by this decision, I’m nonetheless outraged and I stand with all activists, and young people who are also angered by this wreckless act. Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement will effectively mean that it is dead in the water, like previous agreements on climate change. The U.S is the world’s 2nd biggest polluter, we all know that without their involvement any agreement will fail.
“Trump is pulling out because proposed cuts to emissions will affect the U.S economy. He is putting the short-term profits of big oil and big coal over taking the necessary measures to prevent humanitarian disasters today and in the future.
“At least Trump is honest, though he is wrong, when he tells people he doesn’t believe in climate change. The Irish government’s record on climate change isn’t much better. Departing Taoiseach Enda Kenny made a speech in Paris about how important saving the environment is, but who within minutes of stepping off the stage described climate change as ‘not a priority’. Like Trump he said that the interests’ of business in Ireland, the agri-sector, would take priority over the environment.
“The actions of numerous Irish governments, including the 2007-11 government involving the Greens, will result in Ireland missing its EU2020 targets. Ireland will be faced with massive fines from the EU.
“Even when the Irish Establishment attempt to look like they are doing something there’s no follow through. It’s window dressing rather than taking action. The Climate Action Bill which was passed is an example of this. It sets out targets and plans however none of these targets are binding or will have much impact on emissions in Ireland.
“The recent Bus Eireann strike shows how hollow their commitments are. Investment and an expansion of public transport to take people out of cars would substantially cut emissions. However, during the strike we saw that they were prepared to let the company go to the wall rather than invest in a decent transport system. They would rather spend money paying off EU fines than spend it on expanding public transport.
“The failure to tackle climate change will undoubtedly create an environmental disaster for future generations, but it’s impact is already upon us. Coastal communities are today dealing with increased winter flooding and experts warn it could get significantly worse.
“It is possible to prevent further risk from climate change, but to do so would mean transforming the economy, to put the needs of the environment and people before the profits of big business.
“Transport is the second biggest contributor to Ireland’s emissions, accounting for 20% of our overall emissions. We could significantly reduce emissions and create thousands of good unionised jobs with massive investment in public transport, both buses and extension of lightrail, making it free and accessible to all who need it. But this would need to be paid for by taxing the wealth of the richest in society who’s wealth has increased from 50 billion before the recession to 100 billion today.
“But of course much more is needed and substantial steps towards 100% renewable energy is required to safeguard a future for our children and grandchildren. Ultimately, the problem of climate change cannot be solved by any party that believes tinkering around the edges will get the job done. We need a left government not beholden to big business or wealthy farmers. A left government based on socialist policies, taking the biggest corporations, energy sector, and big farms into democratic public ownership, and based on people power movements on the streets is the only way to tackle climate change.”