Climate Emergency to Action Plan
Posted by Claudia Tormey on July 29, 2019 at 04:19 PM
As secretariat members of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, we have been very active over the last number of months, campaigning for strong climate action and legislation. Here's a summary!
Climate Action plan
While eagerly awaiting the Climate Action plan, we put together five tests or indicators of how serious the Government is taking climate action seriously, and effective the Plan will be in bringing down emissions pollution. The Government’s new Climate Action Plan was published in mid-June to much fanfare, and in July, we published our assessment of the Plan, in collaboration with the Environmental Pillar. A summary of our report is available here and the full report is available here.
We welcomed proposals in the Plan for improving how the Government will govern, monitor and ensure delivery and oversight of how we respond to climate change. What’s important now, however, is how quickly the Government put these changes into law, and this will be a core focus of our attention in the Autumn.
Our assessment also found that the Plan does not allow for sufficient reductions in pollution between now and 2030. Instead, it is proposes that deeper reductions will have to be made after 2030. This only delays the shift to a low carbon society, which will make this shift costlier to society. We also found that the Government failed to build on the important work of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, by not putting in place, full measures for every sector of the economy to bring down emissions. We see this a real missed opportunity to catch-up with the public’s appetite for climate action. In our analysis, we look specifically at the transport sector, agriculture, land use and forestry, and at the proposed plans (or lack of) for a just transition for communities affected by the transition to a low carbon future.
Earlier this month we joined other Stop Climate Chaos members to host a press conference to publicly respond to the Climate Action Plan in Buswells. You can listen to our response in this 2 minute video below:
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action
In March, we welcomed the publication of the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, calling it a historic milestone for Irish climate action. We briefed politicians as they finalised the report. The publication of the Report followed eight months of intense cross-party scrutiny of Irish climate policy, based on consideration of the thirteen high level recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on climate action. In our comments to the media, we said that the report represented “an historic mandate for the Government to immediately step up climate action to cut Ireland’s rising emissions”, but that the Government would now need to urgently “play catch-up if it hopes to achieve the immediate deep emissions reductions called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to prevent catastrophic climate change.”
Climate and Biodiversity Emergency
Following on from the report’s publication, in May, the Dáil voted to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency, and to accept and endorse the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee.
We welcomed this move, saying it provided a radical mandate for climate action from the Dáil, but that words must now be translated into concrete and comprehensive action in the Government’s eagerly awaited, new Climate Action Plan, which was due to be published around the same time. In advance of this vote, we sent a briefing to all TDs. We urged them to help shift the direction of climate action in Ireland, and in particular, for the Government to implement in full and in time, the practical, wide-sweeping recommendations for climate action put forward by the Joint Oireachtas Committee earlier in March.
Climate Emergency Measures Bill
One of the main focuses of our campaigning work so far this year has been on the Climate Emergency Measures Bill, which would have finally put an end to oil and gas exploration. We reached out to our supporters a number times, asking for help with pushing this common sense Bill through the necessary legislative processes.
In March, we urged supporters to contact their TDs to tell them to let this Bill proceed in the Dáil without delay. Despite much focused campaigning work by this coalition and others, the Government went ahead and employed a rarely-used Parliamentary rule to block any further debate on the Bill, which effectively killed the Bill.
We encouraged our supporters, in response, to contact their TDs, requesting them, in the next Dáil, to promise to legislate to end new fossil fuel exploration. This news came just a few weeks after the launch of the national Climate Action Plan and reinforced the view that the Government are speaking without integrity or honesty when it comes to tackling the climate emergency.
We will keep the pressure on to ensure Ireland does what is required for a fossil free future. As Cliona Sharkey, from Trocaire said at the Climate Action Plan press conference; “We can either act now or play catch up on ending oil and gas exploration - the issue is not going away”