May 31, 2023

Is Ireland’s political future green?

Is Ireland’s political future green?

Coloured bricks in line
Coloured bricks in line
Coloured bricks in line

The Green Party is part of the three-party coalition government since 2020, and has played a significant role in driving forward the country's climate change agenda. The next general election due to be held in 2025 brings the possibility that the party will lose its place in government. If this happens, it could have a significant impact on Ireland's ambitions for carbon reductions and net zero objective.

The Green Party has been a vocal advocate for climate action, and has introduced a number of policies that have helped to reduce Ireland's carbon emissions. For example, it advocated for the introduction of a carbon tax, which it says has helped to make renewable energy more affordable. It has also been a major proponent of investment in public transport and has introduced measures to encourage people to walk and cycle more.

Should the Green Party be voted out of government, it is not known whether these policies will be rolled back, leading to increased pressure on Ireland's carbon emissions and difficulty in reaching climate targets.

However, it is important to note that the Green Party is not the only party that is committed to climate action. The other main parties such as Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Sinn Fein, have made commitments to reducing carbon emissions. It is likely that even if the Green Party is voted out of government, other parties will continue to pursue climate action.

Ultimately, the future of Ireland's climate change agenda will depend on the outcome of the next general election. It seems based on the various parties’ stated core objectives that, if the Green Party is no longer part of government, there is a likelihood that the political drive towards climate action will slow to some extent. However, it is possible that other parties would seek to fill an emerging green vacancy in government to emphasise their own pursuit of climate action.

Here are some of the things that the next government may wish to consider in relation to climate action:

  • Carbon tax: a key policy that has helped to reduce Ireland's carbon emissions but has its detractors. The next government might consider whether to maintain the carbon tax or even to increase it in the future.

  • Invest in renewable energy: it seems most likely that the next government will continue to support and even directly invest in renewable energy. This will help to reduce Ireland's reliance on fossil fuels and will create jobs in the renewable energy sector.

  • Encourage people to walk, cycle, and use public transport: this relatively benign political action will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and will improve air quality.

  • Support research and development in climate change mitigation and adaptation: new technologies and solutions that can help the country to meet its climate targets are essential. Political understanding and leadership of the necessity to maintain this investment is key to successful implementation of CAP23 and the Paris Agreement.

By taking these steps, the next government can help Ireland to continue to make progress on climate action and reach its net zero target by 2050.