Don't let Sir Humphrey hobble the Climate Bill!
Posted by Oisín Coghlan on February 17, 2021 at 06:16 PM
I wrote last week about some updates on the Climate Bill. I mentioned that 2021 should be the year when Ireland finally gets a new, stronger, Climate Law. I was pretty apprehensive about putting those words on paper - fearing I may be tempting fate!
Well….unfortunately I was right to be apprehensive. The Government is currently making its final decisions on the Climate Law and some alarm bells are starting to ring . Unless we apply strong pressure now, there’s a risk that the Climate Law could be watered down. So can you take this e-action I shared last week without delay? Asking your TDs to ensure the Government listens to the Joint Committee on Climate Action’s recommendations to strengthen the Climate Bill - instead of doing the opposite and making it weaker.
Here’s the thing. The proposals to strengthen the Climate Bill seem to be under attack from two sides : unelected officials and dithering Fine Gaelers. These last days before the Cabinet makes it final decisions before a Bill is published are when civil servants are at their most influential ( t hink Sir Humphrey in the TV series “Yes Minister” ). Behind closed doors senior officials from all departments get to comment on a Bill. We know from bitter experience that this is when a chorus of “not this, not now, not us” can dilute or derail the best laid plans for action, unless all the ministers in government stand by their commitments.
Meantime, an increasing number of Fine Gael TDs seem to be wondering aloud whether all of these recommendations have to go into the Climate Bill - isn’t it enough that they are in the Programme for Government. Our response is simple: if you were prepared to commit to them in the Government Programme the only reason to resist putting them into law is if you don’t really want to do them!
So our Climate Law is in danger and we need to act! Fast. A strong law means all officials and ministers - no matter who is in government - will have to take climate action seriously. The only people equivocating ministers listen to more than officials or backbenchers trying to sow doubt are voters. So if you care about climate action, now is the time to speak up .
Will you email your TDs, asking them to make sure the Climate Law is not watered down?
As I said last week, Friends of the Earth has campaigned for a strong climate law for many years. But this law is just one piece in the climate action puzzle. We must build a fossil free world to genuinely address the climate crisis. And ensure that no new gas infrastructure, that would prolong our fossil fuel addiction, is built. The Programme for Government promised to ban the import of fracked gas through Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) terminals. But we are yet to see a policy statement to deliver on this promise. Now the Government has a chance to use the Climate Bill to introduce this ban. We need to push them to consider this before their deliberations on the Climate Law are over.
So will you email your TDs today?
Banning the import of fracked gas as LNG would help ensure that Ireland’s energy system aligns with our domestic ban on fracking. And it would send a powerful message of solidarity to the communities around the world who are suffering the impacts of fracking . These communities are battling with fracking associated health impacts, water contamination and disruption to their homes and livelihoods. The global trade in LNG is being fuelled by the boom in fracking. And LNG transport infrastructure, such as LNG terminals that could be built in Ireland, keep that fracking boom going. By banning these terminals in Ireland we can help disrupt this devastating circuit .
So will you email your TDs now?
With nervous hope, during this crunch time for the Climate Law,
P.S. After you’ve taken action you could encourage others to act by retweeting this tweet .