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Future generations must be protected from the effects of climate change.

Future generations must be protected from the effects of climate change.

Aurel Ciobanu -Dordea’s analysis of Ireland’s environmental failings is a timely contribution to the larger debate about how we care for or fail to care.

His criticism of what he calls “negative reporting” on the issue in Ireland is not valid. It implies that only positive reporting should be allowed on the activities and achievements of environmental activists. This would not be acceptable in a free democracy.

His presentation online to Environment Ireland Conference is made at the same moment as the European Commission proposes reclassifying nuclear and gas energy as environmentally sustainable.

Wednesday’s presentation by the EU executive arm included a plan for green investments to include some natural gas and nuclear power.

It has drawn the ire environmentalists with Greenpeace condemning the proposal as an antiscience plan that is the largest greenwashing exercise of its kind.

Although Mr CiobanuDordea (director for implementation, governance, and semester in the European Commissions Directorate General for Environment) did not express his views on the plan, he made it clear in his presentation that he believed we should have a discussion about it. These are important sources of energy.

Government inaction

His comments regarding Ireland’s efforts in protecting the environment serve as a vehement denunciation to government inaction and highlight continuing problems with water quality, and failures to preserve nature.

“About 50%” of urban wastewaters have not been collected and treated according to the urban wastewater directive.

He said that leakage rates were among the highest in Europe, while drinking water in some parts of the country was not complying.

He spoke out about serious issues in nature and biodiversity. Although the commission is pleased that terrestrial designations of special protection areas have been completed for birds, it is important to note that much more work remains to protect terrestrial birds in real life.

He also condemned the uncertain and penal costs of bringing environmental court cases. He noted that Ireland remains the most expensive member state to bring an environment claim before the courts. Many environmental litigants have been left unable to predict their costs exposure due to the fact that the case law of the national courts has interpreted the costs rules in different ways.

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Cost of litigation

The high cost of litigation is a larger issue, but Mr CiobanuDordeas comments will serve to remind us that it is a problem that must addressed.

Overall, his report on Ireland is a wake up call to the Government. It reminds them of the need to take action to address their failures and deficiencies.

Although the housing crisis has reached the top of political agendas and the scandal involving patients on trollies ensures that health is always in the forefront, we cannot forget to protect the environment for future generations.

As Mr Ciobanu Dordea put it, “I hope competent Irish authorities act in 2022 more decisively that in the past.”

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