State will pledge more to fight climate change in developing nations after criticism of Kenny
The Government will announce new funding in the coming weeks to help developing nations fight climate change, Environment Minister Alan Kelly has said.
The move comes after Taoiseach Enda Kenny was sharply criticised last week after he said Ireland would contribute just €2m next year to the so-called 'Green Climate Fund', with no commitment beyond 2016.
But speaking to the Irish Independent at the UN climate summit, Mr Kelly said that a "recognisable rise" in funding would be brought to Cabinet in the coming weeks, which would help vulnerable nations adapt.
It would be in addition to the €175m Ireland has already committed towards climate change adaptation between 2016-2020.
The Green Climate Fund aims to raise $100bn a year in finance from governments and the private sector by 2020.
"I'm very confident of bringing something in the next few weeks in relation to our ambitions to improve funding for climate finance," Mr Kelly said.
"I would say you will see a reasonable and recognisable rise. What I want to see brought forward is something to show that Ireland is going to be ambitious and play its part, but it will be up to (future) governments to decide their allocations."
The minister said that today and tomorrow will be "critical" in determining whether the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) will be judged a success.
Issues yet to be addressed included whether a deal would be legally-binding, which Mr Kelly said was "completely and utterly necessary".
A "level playing field" was necessary, he added, with larger developing countries expected to play their part.
But he said demands from NGOs that average global temperature rises be no more than 1.5C - and not 2C - are unlikely to be met. However, 1.5C could be a goal in the final text.
Under current commitments, the emission cuts pledged by countries will only limit rises to 2.7C - well above the 2C considered a 'safe' limit.
"The 1.5C is extremely ambitious but I think at a political level I'd be saying walk before we can run," Mr Kelly said. "Let's try and achieve 2C, let's be ambitious with the 1.5C, but let's also ensure we have something everyone can sign up to and be realistic. I will be pushing for a reduction of below 2C. Whether that is politically achievable remains to be seen."
Ireland, along with Austria and Romania, is directly involved in negotiations around how mitigation measures can be put in place before any deal comes into effect from 2020.