The assessment gave the Government marks out of 10 in each of the following nine categories: Climate, Nature & Biodiversity, Transport, Waste, Air Quality, Water & Marine, Buildings, Energy, and Agriculture & Forestry. The infographic below outlines how the Government did in each of these categories, over the last year.
Significant groundwork achieved but current pace too slow to meet Government's own targets
The Government has been a awarded a C+ in independent expert assessment of progress on the climate and environment commitments in the Programme for Government. The Report Card 2021, commissioned by Friends of the Earth, was carried out by a three person academic panel who marked the Government out of 10 in nine subject areas from climate to water to transport to air quality. The scores ranged from 8.5 for waste and 7.5 for climate to 4.5 for nature and biodiversity and 4 for agriculture and forestry. The panel's overall verdict was that "While significant groundwork has been achieved in a number of areas within the first year, the pace of progress is currently too slow to achieve the Government's targets relating to their environmental and climate commitments."
Chair of the assessment panel, Dr Cara Augustenborg, Environmental Policy Fellow at University College Dublin, said:
"While many of the Government's commitments are not yet visible in our everyday lives, environmental issues have clearly moved up the political agenda in the past year. Significant groundwork has been achieved to turn the Government's environment and climate commitments into action over the next 3-4 years. However, serious concerns remain regarding the Government's progress in addressing the biodiversity crisis, declining water quality, and the role of agriculture and forestry in these areas."
Highlights and lowlights:
The Government scored highly on some high profile subjects, including an 8 on Climate Governance where the panel found the climate law "delivered on the Government’s commitments to make provision for the enactment of ambitious 2030 and 2050 emissions targets and 5-year carbon budgets, in addition to enhancing the expertise and diversity of the Climate Change Advisory Council."
In other areas progress was disappointing. On Biodiversity the panel found "Commitments to review the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) mandate and convene a Citizens’ Assembly on biodiversity are progressing too slowly, and the Government has thus far failed to address their commitments on hedgerows, invasive species and implementation of the National Biodiversity Action Plan" and awarded the Government a 4.5.
Meanwhile in agriculture, where policy is frequently controversial and contested, the panel found: "Progress on the sustainability of Irish agriculture and forestry has been disappointing. Food Vision 2030 is incompatible with climate goals and emission reduction targets, perpetuates an agricultural model which is directly responsible for escalating nutrient pollution and locks Ireland into damaging water quality for the remainder of this Government" and awarded their lowest mark, a 4, for "Poor Progress".
Issued in the blog on September 07, 2021 at 12:48:00.
Friends of the Earth Ireland is recruiting an Events Support Officer to join our growing team. Building a grassroots movement is at the centre of everything that we do, because we know it’s only through people-power that we can achieve our vision for the future. We organise multiple training events, workshops, webinars and project activities to strengthen the work happening at a grassroots level.
Issued in the blog on August 18, 2021 at 17:31:00.
The IPCC’s startling report on the climate crisis has left many of us reeling. Its publication this summer was a real wake up call, motivating people to get involved in climate action, some for the first time.
But it has also left people feeling anxious.
There’s no doubt about it, the growing social and ecological crises can make us feel overwhelmed. We may feel apathetic - or unable to engage in taking action.
At Friends of the Earth, we want to address these issues and feelings. So we’ve invited Undercurrent Education to facilitate an Active Hope workshop for our next Learning Hub event at 6pm on Monday 20th September. We’ll explore themes of resilience & active hope emerging from Rebecca Solnit’s book ‘Hope in the Dark’.
Issued in the blog on August 10, 2021 at 12:31:00.
Last month, we organised a Just Recovery conference on behalf of Coalition 2030, who were keen to explore how the Sustainable Development Goals could be used to guide Ireland’s recovery from the pandemic.
We were joined by some excellent speakers, including Dr Mike Ryan from the World Health Organisation, Asad Rehman from War on Want and Paola Simonetti from the International Trade Union Confederation.
Missed the conference? Don't worry - we recorded it for you to watch back at your leisure! You can watch it by clicking here or by viewing it in the screen below.
The Just Recovery conference highlighted the need to join up our struggles for climate action, social justice, global justice and health justice.
Friends of the Earth has described today’s IPCC assessment report on climate change as a “final wake up call” to governments and citizens to treat climate breakdown as the over-riding global emergency it is.
Commenting, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisín Coghlan said:
“This is a final wake up call from the world’s climate scientists. Climate breakdown is accelerating. There is still a narrow path to avoid complete catastrophe but we are not on it and the window of opportunity to get onto it is closing fast.
Climate Bill's imminent passage into law signals the end of a marathon campaign begun by Friends of the Earth in 2007. The race to eliminate our pollution emissions must now begin.
Friends of the Earth has said final Dáil vote on the Climate Action Bill this evening (14th July) will be a landmark moment for Irish climate policy and for public administration in Ireland, describing it as “the end of a marathon and the start of a sprint” . After the final Dáil and Seanad votes the Bill will go to President Higgins to be signed into law.
Commenting on the imminent passage of the Bill, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisín Coghlan said:
Are you aged under 30? Or do you know a young person of that age who is interested in climate action and social justice?
We've got a fantastic series of online youth assemblies lined up this month. These assemblies will give young people an opportunity to explore the root causes of climate change and inequality - and come up with solutions to these big issues to be raised with political leaders. Could you share this special invitation with the young people in your life?
Seanad amendments don't get agriculture off the hook No definition of climate justice better than a bad one
Today in the Seanad Committee Stage debate on the Government's landmark Climate Action Bill, Minister Ryan and senators agreed two changes to the Bill. The first change (Amendments 1 and 92) was to make explicit that as well as counting polluting emissions the Government will count "removals", that is to say land use change that absorbs pollution, when measuing compliance with the carbon budgets and sectoral emissions ceilings that will be adopted under the law. This change was the result of lobbying by the IFA in recent weeks. The second change (Amendment 7) was to delete the proposed definition of climate justice in the Bill. The ceos of Trócaire, Concern, Oxfam and Christian Aid had written to the leaders of the three coalition parties to express their dismay at how narrow the proposed definition was and calling for its improvement or removal.