Howlin: Still time to avoid hefty greenhouse-gas fines

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has said Ireland can still avoid hundreds of millions of euro in fines from Brussels, if we maintain progress in meeting our greenhouse gas targets.

The Environment Minister Phil Hogan is due to publish the Government's new policy strategy on climate change today. He will also bring draft legislation to Cabinet this morning aimed at tackling climate change.

It proposes to set up an expert advisory body of up to eight members which would issue reports and offer advice to the Government.

Minister Howlin was speaking ahead of this morning's Cabinet meeting, during which the heads of the Climate Change Bill will be discussed by Ministers.

Ireland is obliged to cut emissions by 20% by 2020. Not meeting that mark could see us face significant sanctions.

Brendan Howlin said the Government was meeting resistance, but was making significant progress.

"We have made huge advances on a number of fronts," he said.

"Our target is to get 40% of our energy production from renewables (by 2020). There has some resistance in some sectors to that, but I think people will understand that we need to do things differently in the future."

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