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Oireachtas Committee publishes climate change bill

13 Oct 2010

The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security has published a comprehensive Climate Change Bill for Ireland aimed at providing a regulatory framework to translate Ireland's policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into legally binding targets.

Committee member and author of the Bill, Liz McManus, TD said:

"As the threat of global warming grows inexorably, the case for a legislative response is compelling. In October 2009, we published the Climate Change Law report. That report sets out a statutory framework that has all party support. This second report follows on that framework document. It sets out a piece of legislation - the Climate Change Bill. It is designed to bring about the political, economic and social transformation required to enable us as a society to meet the challenge of climate change. Time is not on our side. This is our contribution as an All party Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security to ensuring that in Ireland we honour our responsibilities in a world that is coming under severe environmental pressures.

One of the difficulties outlined in the first report was that responsibility for action to remedy climate change is distributed across a number of Departments and agencies, making co-ordination of effort one of the most important requirements. The bill assigns responsibilities for co-ordinating and enforcing action on climate change to the Taoiseach."

Among the duties assigned to the Taoiseach under the Bill are:

- monitoring the net carbon account;
- setting targets for a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions;
- setting energy efficiency targets;
- setting and managing the carbon budget;
- preparing national climate change and climate adaptation strategies.

The Bill proposes to establish an office of Climate Change and Renewable Energy and a Climate Change Commission. These bodies will have an advisory function and will also be responsible for co-ordinating efficient allocation of carbon revenues and implementing incentive schemes to encourage energy efficiency and adaptation measures in order to meet the emissions reduction targets.

Committee Chairman Dinny McGinley said:

"Climate change legislation will provide the certainty and continuity that is necessary to deal with global warming. Due to the global, cross-generational importance of action to combat climate change the response must be cross-party. It must also inform policy making across all Government departments and it must extend beyond the five yearly Government election cycles. This climate change legislation would secure this approach."

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