Environmental group Grian has called on Minister for the Environment John Gormley to "hand back" an extra CO2 emissions allowance Ireland has been allocated by the EU.
The European Commission in November capped the carbon emissions allowance for Ireland's industries at 21.15 million tonnes a year.
The Government had at the time sought an allowance of 22.6 million tonnes a year. However, it was told by the commission that this would impact on Ireland's Kyoto Protocol commitments for the period 2008-2012.
The commission has since softened its stance, and has agreed to allow the Government to cap carbon emissions from the industrial sector at 22.3 million tonnes a year.
Pat Finnegan of Grian said the previous minister for the environment Dick Roche should not have made the request for an increase in our carbon allowances, and Mr Gormley should stick to the original limits imposed by the commission in November.
"Given both the Greens' election platform and their oft-stated belief that the new programme for government represents a genuine opportunity for real and concerted action against climate change, Grian can only see it as entirely unconscionable for the new Minister for the Environment John Gormley to stand over the Government request for a slacker cap on Irish emissions."
Mr Finnegan said the Government and the commission combined were undermining the fight against climate change by seeking and allowing higher carbon emissions.
"If the Greens' programme for Government is to be held to stand as anything remotely approaching a credible approach to climate change, Minister Gormley should immediately hand back the 1.2 million tonnes of CO2 granted by the commission as an indication of the new Government's good faith and determination to act against climate change."
© 2007 The Irish Times