Departments of Transport and Agriculture need to face up to climate change and play their part in cutting Ireland's emissions.

The Environmental Pillar are calling on Ministers Leo Varadkar and Simon Coveney to stop burying their heads in the sand over Ireland’s climate change commitments.

 While the government has cut emissions in some areas the EPA figures released today show that the Agriculture and Transport sectors alone have set Ireland on course to miss our 2020 emission commitments, going above the limits set from 2016/2017.

 Ireland is also  failing  to address our enormous areas of drained bogs, which emit huge quantities of CO2.

 “The Department of Transport has done nothing to help Ireland cut emissions and this needs to change. They continue to build motorways and Minister Varadkar is now openly threatening to cut rail lines,” said Charles Stanley-Smith of the Environmental Pillar.

 “He has no vision for a decarbonised transport system in 2050, just incremental business as usual. This approach completely ignores the country’s commitments to deal with climate change and will cost every Irish taxpayer in the long run.

 “Public transport is the only sustainable transport solution which will see Ireland meet its targets and investment in the area from government is badly needed.

 “The Department of Agriculture seems to want to focus on trying to negotiate their way out of Ireland’s climate change commitments instead of trying to meet those commitments.

 “Trying to achieve exemptions for the Agriculture sector is a flawed and ultimately doomed strategy. Minister Coveney needs to put in place a plan which will see the sector meet its targets.

 “The government has also failed to come up with a plan to deal with emissions from bog drainage and excavation and peat-fired electricity.The carbon emissions from the bogs are as big as emissions from all households in Ireland If the the bogs are restored they will instead sequester carbon and become an asset to our climate policy.

 “Other bog-rich countries like Scotland, England, Iceland and Belarus are moving ahead with large scale bog restoration, in Ireland there is no policy and no government department has been assigned responsibility for peat-land restoration.’