In a radical move that will leave businesses, farmers, and the public scrambling Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin has pledged that he will bring down greenhouse gas emissions by ‘at least 8% a year’ if elected.

The Irish Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] had previously said that they projected that by 2030 Ireland would have reduced its emissions by 10%, relative to 2005. Fianna Fail are now saying they will reduce emissions by 8% every year, with no set end date.

Emissions generally rise as the economy grows and the EPA has said that emission reductions are a challenge in Ireland’s growing economy. It’s unclear how exactly FF will achieve the 8% figure without compromising economic growth given they have now pledged to reduce the total emissions of Ireland by nearly 50% over the next Dail term if elected.

Farming makes up 34% of Irish emissions and it is difficult to see how large reductions could be found there without decreasing the size of the national herd substantially.

Construction is also a large contributor to Ireland’s emissions and we so far we don’t know how Fianna Fail will be able to implement their promised national program of public housing without driving up emissions.

No word yet either on the cost of these reductions. When the UK decided it would attempt to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050 reports estimated it would cost up to £20 billion a year to achieve that target, and that was alongside requiring fundamental changes in the lifestyles of the public. Fianna Fail have now pledged to achieve that goal in Ireland in 10 years.

Micheál Martin made the pledge earlier today when he signed ‘on behalf of the party’ the Feminist Ireland 2020 Manifesto which has been put out by the National Women’s Council of Ireland.

The Manifesto covers many different areas including bringing in legislation to force all Irish companies to give 40% of the seats on their boards to women; bringing in a living wage, legislating for greater collective bargaining rights, the end of direct provision, an emergency rent freeze, gender quotas in local elections, and a national cycle network. All of which appear to have effectively now become the official positions of FF.

We reached out to several Fianna Fail representatives but none were willing to support the pledge on record once informed of all of its provisions. We also reached out to Fianna Fail HQ to ask them for a copy of any policies they had to actually achieve the 8% annual reduction without scuttling the Irish economy but so far we’ve received no response.