18th June 2019 | Climate Change, Environment, Transport

Greens criticise lack of public transport improvements in Climate Action Plan


The Green Party has criticised the Climate Action Plan for lacking vision and clarity in its approach to public transport. The Party says the government has to do a lot more to make public transport a credible and practical option for commuters.

Green Party spokesperson on Climate Change, Cllr. David Healy: “The Climate Action Plan proposes to deal with transport emissions by switching diesel engines to electric engines. It doesn’t consider the other problems with our transport system, especially the human costs, including congestion, affordability, public health, social isolation, quality of life, and economic costs. It doesn’t acknowledge the resource issues involved in substituting the entire transport fleet, including the use of rare metals in batteries.

“The key recommendation of the Citizens’ Assembly for reducing emissions from transport was to massively increase investment in public transport so that it would be at least two times greater than road expenditure.

“Since then the Government produced a National Development Plan (NDP) whose impact on the climate hasn’t been assessed and which continues to put the emphasis on roads. Two weeks ago the Dáil overwhelmingly agreed to the Green proposal that the NDP should be revised to address climate change.

“Unfortunately, the Climate Action Plan simply recites existing decisions in relation to public transport; there is no commitment to increased investment. The rail service is to be the subject of a ‘strategic rail review paper’. Instead of proposals to improve rural public transport, the plan’s action is to ‘produce a rural transport strategy’.

“Instead of the systemic change required to tackle transport emissions, the plan is based on a ‘marginal change’ approach. It is based on a ‘Marginal Abatement Cost Curve’—essentially an analysis of technological options to reduce emissions. This aims at meeting the 2030 target, when the plan needs to aim both at the 2030 target and at full decarbonisation by 2050. The plan does acknowledge that a systemic transition is needed but fails to set out the actions to make that change.”