Climate Advisory Council says Ireland facing most challenging winter in a generation

The Climate Change Advisory Council has called for swift and decisive action to support people and communities this winter by reducing Ireland’s dependence on harmful fossil fuels.

It has called for the roll-out of home energy upgrades such as attic insulation and draught proofing to be accelerated; for regular servicing of boilers; the installation of heating controls; and the simplification of the paperwork required to access SEAI energy upgrade grants.

Advisory Council chairperson Marie Donnelly said Ireland is facing into one of the most challenging winters in a generation and it is imperative to protect the most vulnerable, including those in receipt of the winter fuel allowance, and people living in the worst performing buildings.

However, the council is concerned that Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise when they should be falling.

Its annual review highlights a clear need for significant further measures to put the country on track to remain within its carbon budgets.

On transport, it wants to see the reduction in public transport fares retained and extended, and Government-supported, low-cost-finance initiatives to be made available for the purchase of electric cars.

It also says congestion charges to discourage car use in urban areas should be rolled out immediately after the roll out of the Bus Connects scheme.

The review also targets Vehicle Registration Tax on petrol and diesel cars, which it says should be increased to discourage their sale.

On buildings, the council wants more timber-frame homes constructed.

It is advising the Government to make it mandatory for solar panels to be installed on all new residential, commercial and public buildings with further planning exemptions to allow bigger solar installations.