Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Ceisteanna - Questions
Climate Change Negotiations
I propose to take Questions Nos. 1 to 4, inclusive, together.
I participated in the world leaders' summit at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, COP26, in Glasgow on 1 and 2 November. At the action and solidarity round-table discussion for leaders on 1 November, I expressed Ireland's strong commitment to global action to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement and keep the global temperature rise to 1.5°C. On 2 November, I delivered Ireland's national statement to the plenary session and took the opportunity to reiterate our climate ambition, nationally and at European Union level, and our commitment to supporting small-island developing states and least-developed countries, many of which are very vulnerable to climate change. I announced that Ireland is more than doubling its climate finance contribution to at least €225 million a year by 2025.
The conference provided an opportunity to engage with many of my fellow leaders from around the world. I had formal bilateral meetings with the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and with Fijian Prime Minister, Frank Bainimarama. Over the course of the summit, I also had informal meetings and exchanges with the United States President, Joe Biden, the Prime Ministers of Iceland, India, Israel, Norway, Palau, United Kingdom, Vietnam and many of my European Union colleagues, including Presidents Michel and von der Leyen. I also spoke with the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, as well as Northern Ireland First Minister, Paul Givan, and deputy First Minister, Michelle O'Neill. During my visit, I also met a delegation of researchers and students from University College Cork, members of the Dingle Sustainable Energy Community and youth delegates from Ethiopia and Burkina Faso, whose attendance at COP26 was supported by Irish Aid.
The overarching COP26 decision, the Glasgow climate pact, commits all parties to accelerate action on climate this decade. It recognises that the impacts of climate change will be much lower at 1.5°C compared with 2°C, and it resolves to pursue efforts to stay under the lower limit. Importantly, this means that the goals of the Paris Agreement can still be met. It strikes a balance between increasing climate ambition, delivering on calls for increased climate finance and adaptation supports and provides for a new dialogue on the issue of loss and damage, which is critical to supporting climate justice for those most exposed to climate change. It also provides for parties to revisit and strengthen their 2030 emissions targets in 2022.
The focus now is on delivery, including Ireland's commitment to cut greenhouse gases by 51% by 2030 and to reach net zero carbon by 2050 at the latest, as legislated for in our climate Act.