During my time as an MEP, I have been championing effective climate action and insisting on high and radical ambition to tackle climate change. I am proud of my vote record as I have always stood up for just climate policy and rejected the failed solutions proposed by the corporate captured Commission. Below are some of my explanations of vote, which are available on my Parliament webpage, on some of the climate legislation that I have dealt with during this legislature.
On the EU Emissions Trading System, I do not support this failed market system and believe that it is irreformable. Reforms to this carbon market only cover up its massive conceptual failures. The EUs flagship climate policy has become a zombie, further delaying serious climate action and getting us nowhere in terms of progress. It has been a complete failure and has produced no results since its inception. in 2005. It should be binned and immediately replaced with goal-based emission reduction targets per sector. Worst of all, big polluters have profited from this system by way of being able to sell carbon credits that they received for free off the state – over 50% are doled out for free.
On the Effort Sharing Regulation/Climate Action Regulation, I voted against this because it seriously lacks ambition, laying out unacceptably low greenhouse gas emissions reductions trajectories. I voted against so that we could amend it to significantly improve the targets for the non-ETS sector, which is particularly slow at decarbonising. I could not endorse a report that so blatantly leads to an above 2 degrees Celsius scenario.
On the Governance Regulation, I abstained on this report, which is about the achievement of the targets of the Energy Union which I utterly oppose. The Energy Union aims to have a fully integrated European energy market that is liberalised for private competition. This disallows Member States from taking direct control over their energy sector and investing in renewables. This is the opposite of climate action, by putting the work of the transition into the invisible hands of a market rather than onto the desks of governments and lawmakers.
On the LULUCF Regulation, I voted in favour of this regulation to include emissions from land use, land use change and forestry in the 2030 climate goals. It introduces binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in forestry and land-use for all Member States. This is a positive step forward in terms of properly accounting our emissions.
On the resolution on COP24, I was part of the coalition that pushed for the 55% target for the revision of the EUs Nationally Determined Contributions, which was adopted in the end, despite Fine Gael voting against. I negotiated the resolution, as the climate spokesperson for my political group GUENGL and then represented the Parliament in the delegation to the COP24 conference.
On the Energy Efficiency Directive, I abstained on the final vote on the agreement, and I previously voted in favour of the Parliaments report because it was much more ambitious. I did not support the compromise from the inter-institutional negotiations because the Council significantly reduced the ambition. The Council reduced the mandate for binding national targets to indicative national energy efficiency contributions, meaning that they were no longer binding or country specific. I find this to be woefully low in ambition and to create excuses for countries like Ireland to not achieve energy efficiency targets.
On the Renewable Energy Directive, I abstained because I favour much more ambitious targets and the targets within this Directive were embarrassingly low. The report should have sought to ensure long term-climate goals and ending energy poverty rather than try to develop a commercialised EU market for renewable energy. I abstained on the basis that there were no binding national targets, only indicative ones under an overall EU target. This is not acceptable from my perspective.
On the resolution on the list of projects of common interest, I objected to the third PCI list on the grounds that many oil and gas projects were included on the list. This is completely unacceptable and leads to a lock in of fossil fuel dependence. The objection called for a new list to be drafted to be consistent with climate goals and call for more transparency. I object to investment in fossil fuel industry across the board, and I will not support any project that aims to lock in the fossil fuel industry.
On the Connecting Europe Facility Regulation, I voted against this because it creates an EU defence union and calls on the Commission to use EU transport and energy funding on defence infrastructure. I supported the alternative motion produced by my group to call for funding allocation for transport projects that are in line with climate and environmental goals. This should be an absolute bottom line.
On the regulation on emissions performance standards for passenger cars, I voted in favour of this report which significantly boosted the Commission target to 40% emissions reductions by 2030. I voted in favour of the outcome of the interinstitutional negotiations with the Council, despite the targets being watered down to 37.5% by the Council. It is an example of direct regulation on an industry, insisting on emissions performance and is an effective policy tool for climate action.
Sinn Fein MEPs have a policy of issuing an explanation of vote on every single file that we vote on in the European Parliament, so that people can examine the actual rationale behind our voting intentions as opposed to just looking at the final vote of complex files. I stand over my voting record on climate action, and, as spokesperson for climate action for the Left political group, I am adamant to fully represent the Red/Green approach to climate action. Sinn Fein make no apologies for rejecting mediocre and ineffective climate-related policy proposals from the Commission, as they contribute to delaying serious climate action. We stand for was is effective, just and in line with the science.