Media reports indicate that the Government’s revised Climate Bill will go to Cabinet for approval and publication on Tuesday. The Bill is a flagship commitment in the Programme for Government.
Climate legislation is about governance - about how we make climate policy and how we make sure policy is implemented. It is the framework to drive action rather than being a list of actions. Key elements include:
a long-term (2050) target
short-term (5 year) targets
a duty on Government to produce an action plan to actually cut polluting emissions in line with the targets
an expert council to provide independent advice to the Government and monitor progress
robust parliamentary oversight and ministerial accountability
One Future is a network of campaign groups across Ireland supported by the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, of which Friends of the Earth is the secretariat member. One Future groups campaign for faster and fairer climate action within their constituencies and communities by building local campaigns and lobbying local TDs.
Faster and Fairer Climate Action is our campaign to achieve our Strategic Objective on climate governance. Much of our work on this campaign is pursued through our coordination and participation in the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition.
In recent months we have maintained our campaign to strengthen the Climate Bill. In December the Joint Oireachtas Committee concluded their scrutiny of the Bill. Their report from the process puts a spotlight on weaknesses in the Bill identified by many experts that came before the Committee, and by Stop Climate Chaos when the original draft was published in October. It makes specific recommendations to the Government on fixing those loopholes before the Bill comes to the Dáil to be formally debated this spring.
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.
I’m almost scared to say it out loud - for fear of jinxing things. But here goes anyway….2021 should finally be the year that Ireland gets a new, stronger, Climate Law. I’ve got to admit, when the draft law was published last autumn I was disappointed. But a huge movement rose up, determined to make this law better. The actions of Friends of the Earth supporters - along with countless other activists, groups and organisations - were immense. Whether you took an e-action, called your TD or took part in the TD Lobby in December, your action has made a real difference.
The Oireachtas Committee tasked with scrutinizing the draft Climate Law really felt our pressure! This Committee has now produced a very good report, with a list of recommendations to strengthen the law. Having this report is a powerful tool in our campaigning tool box. Now we just need to use it! It’s crucial that the Government accepts the report’s recommendations - and addresses some remaining weaknesses in the Bill. So could you email your TDs asking them to ensure the Government does this? The Government will make its final decisions on the Climate Law in the next couple of weeks - so there’s no time to lose!
There’s no denying it, the last few weeks have been very difficult. We’re living through a period where every glimmer of hope we can find is precious - and to be treasured. With that in mind, we wanted to share the recording of a webinar that we hosted just before Christmas - Hopeful Chats about Climate Change. People left the webinar feeling very hopeful - and it continues to give us hope when we think back about it now! You can watch it back here in your own time.
Dr Cara Augustenborg did a super job of chairing the discussion and spoke from her own experience as a climate scientist, activist and mother.
The dedication and commitment of constituents from across Ireland made the day!
Over 1000 constituents from across Ireland met their TDs on 7th December during a mass online Lobby for Faster and Fairer Climate Action. They voiced their climate concerns and demanded that loopholes in the 2020 Climate Action Bill be closed.