Irish Ministers leave large carbon footprint

The Irish government has left a huge carbon footprint in its wake, in spite of urging the public to reduce its own energy consumption.

A report in the Irish Independent reveals that the five most senior members of the Cabinet have clocked up a 30-tonne carbon footprint between them in six months.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern, Finance Minister Brian Cowen, Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Michael Martin and Minister of State Dick Roche have all racked up a great deal of emissions.

Dermot Ahern topped the list, accumulating 14.77 tonnes of CO2 in his first six months.

However, the government has been urging consumers to cut their own CO2 levels, with Bertie Ahern doing so when he launched the country's national climate change strategy recently.

"Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a global priority and requires committed international action and co-operation," he said.

"To achieve the targets set will also necessitate voluntary changes in behaviour by individual citizens in small ways through, for example, increasing their use of low-energy light bulbs and by driving in a more fuel-efficient manner.

"This is an area where everyone can and must play a part if we are to be successful in protecting the environment for the next generation."

Separately, figures from advisory group Forfas found that renewable energy in Ireland grew from 4.8 per cent of total electricity generation in 2005 to 8.6 per cent in 2006.

Ben Meggeson



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