Wednesday 21 August 2019

Hogan defends Kenny on global warming by attacking US and China

Obama, who has come under attack from EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, hugs Santa Claus as Miss Piggy watches during the National Christmas Tree Lighting in Washington
Obama, who has come under attack from EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan, hugs Santa Claus as Miss Piggy watches during the National Christmas Tree Lighting in Washington
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

European Commissioner Phil Hogan has said he does not expect the United States and China to follow through on their "rhetoric" at the climate change negotiations in Paris.

Mr Hogan has suggested the world's two largest carbon emitters will not live up to the progressive language used by Barack Obama and Xi Jinping at the opening of COP21.

"It'll be interesting to see if the rhetoric of the United States and China, who are now promoting themselves as very strong in terms of ambitious legally binding targets, [will be followed] through on.

"I don't expect they will," he said during a speech in Dublin yesterday.

His comments came as Taoiseach Enda Kenny defended his performance in front of almost 150 other world leaders at the opening of the negotiations earlier this week.


Mr Kenny has been criticised for saying Ireland would need leeway on targets for reducing emissions because of our reliance on the agri-food sector.

"I want to make it clear that this country is not looking for any derogation. This country is not looking for an escape route.

"This country is not looking for special treatment because we have signed on as part of the European community for a 40pc reduction by 2030," Mr Kenny told staff at LinkedIn's headquarters in Dublin.

However, Mr Kenny said that the Government will argue "on technical grounds" that our targets should be "fair and sustainable for us".

"When we allocated our targets we will achieve that target by 2030. If you hear anything to the contrary it's not accurate," he said. "We are well able to measure up but we want targets that are fair and sustainable and we'll argue that over the next 10 days."

Environment Minister Alan Kelly is to represent Ireland at the COP21 talks next week where a series of targets will set as part of the effort to slow climate change.

However, Mr Hogan has cast serious doubt over whether the outcome of the summit will make a real difference outside of Europe.

"If you compare this week's press statement with the ones of the last three years I'd say they won't be largely different in terms of what they say. They will say 'excellent result', 'very ambitious', 'a great opportunity'… 'and we look forward to the follow through and implementation'," he said at a lunch for the Association of European Journalists.

The Agriculture Commissioner, who has attended three previous climate change conferences, said Europe is taking "a very strong leadership position in trying to advance the cause to many of the countries that are good on rhetoric but not necessarily good on outcomes and follow through".

He said that the negotiations tend to be "torturous" and it's "never easy" to get a result.

Mr Hogan said that consideration would have to be given to countries like Ireland which have a large dependence on agriculture.

"There are also countries that have specific problems with other sectors," he said, adding: "Agriculture will not get a free pass in relation to these negotiations.

"As Simon Coveney has said in this country, in respect of Ireland, the Taoiseach has set out his priorities and ambitions but agriculture and forestry will play its part."

Irish Independent

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