Almost 60 young people who are climate striking across Europe, including from Ireland, will be addressing the left groups of the European Parliament today.
This action was taken in light of the decision from the centre and right-wing political groups to veto a proposal for Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg to address the Parliament.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Lynn Boylan MEP said:
“I’m delighted to welcome the youth activists this evening in Strasbourg, to give them a space to be heard and show that not all of us in the Parliament want to shut them down.
“None of the Fine Gael MEPs objected to their political group’s decision to veto.
“The Taoiseach has been completely disingenuous in his remarks on the massive global climate strike this Friday.
“As rightly put by one of the young strikers who is here with us today, his words mean absolutely nothing unless he too calls for immediate and rapid change.
“Instead, the Taoiseach is playing politics with the idea of heightening the carbon tax – a policy that has continuously proven its ineffectiveness.
“Carbon taxes are nothing but a distraction from the rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented climate action that we need and that the UN’s scientific body has called for.
“Tomorrow we will debate what the direction of the EU’s climate change policy should be, followed by a vote on Thursday on a resolution on the EU’s new 2050 climate strategy.
“This resolution needs to call on EU leaders to significantly raise climate ambition in light of the latest scientific data.
“However, the responses to parliamentary questions from Minister Bruton prove that he will not be advocating for higher climate targets for the EU.
“I have written to the Taoiseach to insist that he faithfully represent the people of Ireland who want serious climate action, and advocate an increase of the EU’s climate targets in next week’s European Council.
“The climate hypocrisy of Fine Gael is breath-taking.
“They refuse to support the Climate Emergency Bill which would keep fossil fuels in the ground; they support building new fossil fuel infrastructure in Ireland; they have not committed to a phase out date for fossil fuels; and they are playing a negative role in the EU’s climate negotiations.
“I’m with the striking youth on this one – they are striking because the government will not listen. That’s why we have invited them, that’s why we want to give them a platform.”