Cop28: Ireland will boost contributions to tackle climate change, Varadkar says
Jonathan McCambridge, PA
Ireland will double its contribution to international climate finance to at least €225 million a year by 2025, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has told delegates at the Cop28 summit in Dubai.
Mr Varadkar pledged €25 million to a new Loss and Damage Fund for 2024 and 2025 to help poor and vulnerable countries affected by climate disasters.
He added that his Government is committed to halving emissions by 2030 and to climate neutrality by 2050.
In his formal address on behalf of Ireland to Cop28 on Saturday, Mr Varadkar said never before have alarm bells been ringing so loudly over climate change and world leaders must rise to the challenge.
He told the summit: “We cannot prevent climate change. We’re well past that point. But by acting urgently now, we can limit its extent and mitigate its worst effects.
“In mobilising our societies, we must recognise our people’s concerns and bring people with us – our farmers, our workers, our enterprises, our people.
“With the cost of living and high energy prices, many worry about how much the transition will cost and what it will mean for their jobs and incomes and living standards.
“Those are legitimate concerns. We need to understand where people are coming from and offer reassurance.”
He said change would be difficult but the transition must be made while protecting the vulnerable and “leaving nobody behind”.
He said: “I lead a Government committed to halving emissions by 2030 and to climate neutrality by 2050.”
The Taoiseach added: “Ireland is a wealthy country. Even so, we are struggling to make as much progress as needed.
“We are constantly looking at ways to improve.
“I’m conscious of the even greater challenges others face, particularly least developed countries and small island developing states.
“So the Loss and Damage Fund must begin disbursing finance as soon as possible.
“Ireland will double our climate finance to at least €225 million per year by 2025, and this year, we will spend close to €150 million.
“Today I am announcing a contribution of €25 million to the new Loss and Damage Fund for 2024 and 2025.
“We will make further contributions thereafter.”
Mr Varadkar concluded: “Let us also work together so the world has the financial firepower and institutions and infrastructure it needs to make the journey we need to make together.
“We have to prioritise investment in energy access and low carbon development for the most vulnerable countries.
“This Cop must also set us on a clear path to a safe and planned reduction in the use of fossil fuels.”