Make Ireland’s climate law strong enough to work

Без имени-2The Government’s draft climate law is too weak to deliver the low carbon future it promises. Ireland’s emissions are among the highest in Europe and rising again. Last week, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged Ireland to do more to tackle climate change when he said Ireland should “align its climate effort with its admirable engagement on hunger”.

Minister Alan Kelly has told the Dáil he is considering possible amendments to the draft law.

We need to make sure the changes aren’t just window dressing, that they actually make the law stronger, by clearly indicating how much we plan to reduce emissions by 2050, by ensuring that the independence of the Expert Advisory Council is explicitly guaranteed and by committing to climate justice as a guiding principle.

The Minister must also keep his promise to have the Bill through parliament and passed into law before the summer break. It’s almost three months since the draft law was first debated in the Dáil and we’re still waiting for the Government’s proposed changes. Time is ticking and the crucial UN summit in Paris is now less than six months away. Countries like Ireland, with high emissions and higher historical responsibility, have to demonstrate a credible commitment to climate action if we are to build the trust required for a global deal in Paris.

The only thing that has kept the Climate Bill on track to become law at all is the continuous pressure from campaigners like you. We need one last push to make it a climate law we can be proud of. Please sign the petition now and share it with your friends.

Ireland deserves a better Climate Bill

Environmental-Damage-2

Ireland deserves a better Climate Action Bill to play its role in tackling climate change. The current Bill “will fail to deliver the low carbon future it aims to achieve unless critical weaknesses are addressed”, according to an independent report by environmental lawyers Client Earth.

Good Energies Alliance Ireland (GEAI) criticised the lack of ambition of the new bill since its publication in January. Now this independent analysis confirms that “the opportunity to lead the way towards a carbon neutral future has been thrown away”, GEAI director Aedín McLoughlin said. “There are no targets for lowering carbon emissions, not even a mention of the mandatory targets set by the EU. Neither is there commitment to contributing to the Global Climate Fund, a shame for Ireland.”

The report was commissioned by the Irish coalition Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) and also compares the Government’s Bill with climate legislation around Europe. The study finds that the lack of 2050 targets for carbon emissions produces critical uncertainty for investors and the status and membership of the Expert Advisory Council undermines its independence. Unless revised at Committee Stage in the Dáil, due this month, the Bill will do little to help Ireland meet its international commitments or move the economy onto a less polluting pathway.

Last September the Taoiseach Enda Kenny talked at the UN Climate Summit about “long terms objectives for 2050 of an 80% reduction across electricity, transport and built environment”. “Where are those targets now?” asks McLoughlin. “This Government  has failed to show commitment, imagination or leadership in the drafting of the Bill.”

Climate Action Bill 2015 – All smoke, no fire?

Environmental-Damage-2“Transition to a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy by the end of 2050.” In the context of the climate crisis now confronting the earth, this is the ONLY aspiration of the Government in the Climate Action Bill 2015. There are no targets beyond the 2020 carbon reduction targets imposed on us by Europe. The opportunity to lead the way towards a truly significant and morally just pathway to a carbon neutral future has been thrown away.

Where is the echo of the Taoiseach’s commitment in New York at the UN Climate Summit last September, “We will only succeed in tackling climate change if we adopt a sustainable and truly collective approach, one that is ambitious but fair, that is challenging but achievable”?

Where are his “long-term objectives for 2050 of an 80 per cent reduction across electricity, transport and built environment”?

Where is the promise “We will continue our efforts, for example through our Origin Green Programme, to drive carbon efficiency and shape the international approach to sustainable agriculture and food production”?

This Government has failed to show commitment, imagination or leadership in the drafting of this Bill. Instead, they have kicked to touch, ensuring that no hard decisions on climate change or carbon emissions will be taken before the next election. Even after that, all that is proposed is the setting up of an Expert Advisory Council with the task of putting forward a Mitigation Plan and an Adaptation Plan in two years, bringing us post 2017 before the public can even consider their proposals or make submissions.

Has anyone in Government even considered that such Plans must undergo Strategic Environmental Assessments (SEAs) and conform to the Aarhus Convention on public participation in decision-making? Is there no appreciation of the fact that business cannot go on as usual? How long in reality will it take to make tough decisions if no vision is put forward, no ambitious and exciting targets are proposed, no concept of climate justice is even mentioned?

The Government has missed a chance of rallying the Irish people around the cry of the earth in trouble. Instead they give us Expert Advisory Councils manned by the usual suspects; they give us Plans; they give us “Transition Statements”. We want action! Only yesterday, a leading climate scientist, Michael Mann said, “Ireland should make a bold statement to the world to show it is possible to thrive economically while making deep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions.”

Does this Climate Action Bill make a “bold statement”? No, it does not!

COPYRIGHT

® All rights reserved to GEAI 2018