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Climate Bill 2014 - highlights and summary of reaction

Posted on April 23, 2014 by Oisín Coghlan

IMG_4032 Snowmen protest at Custom House, urging Gormley to publish Climate Change Bill

So, the Government has finally published the Heads of its Climate Action Bill.

In a nutshell:
It took two years for them to replublish last year the Fianna Fail / Green Party Bill - with all the targets taken out, and the "independence" of the expert advisory body further weakened. Ignoring the outcome of their own extensive public consultation along the way. And now, a year later, they have strenghtened the expert body but ignored some of the key recommendations of the Oirachtas Committee who carried out extensive stakeholder hearings last year.

Oh, and these are still only the Heads. They have promised to introduce the full Bill in the Dáil before the summer recess.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechange

4 tests for the revised climate Bill

Posted on April 14, 2014 by Oisín Coghlan

Weak Climate Bill 1 - Stop Climate Chaos coalition slams Climate Bill as too weak to work.
Stop Climate Chaos coalition slams Climate Bill as too weak to work.

A year ago, Friends of the Earth said the Government's draft Climate Bill was "like a car without an engine" and Stop Climate Chaos called it simply "too weak to work".
But the public hearings held by the Oireachtas Joint Committee last summer were very inclusive and thorough. Their subsequent report represents common ground across political parties and among a wide range of stakeholders on the contents of the Bill. Secondly, the process of developing a revised Heads of Bill is a test of the political reforms initiated by this Government to improve the democratic process by increasing the legislative role played by Oireachtas Committees. The courses of action highlighted in the report point to areas where significant improvements can be made to the Heads of Bill. While they are not as strong as we in would have liked, we believe they are the minimum that need to be reflected in the Bill in order to ensure its effectiveness. Specifically:

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A tribute to Nelson Mandela by the Director of Friends of the Earth South Africa, Bobby Peek

Posted on December 06, 2013 by Friends of the Earth

President Mandela at Engen Oil Refinery Protest 1995 - Photo David Wiley  - President Mandela addressing protesters outside the Engen Oil Refinery in Durban in 1995
President Mandela addressing protesters outside the Engen Oil Refinery in Durban in 1995


A guest blog, by Bobby Peek, Director of Groundwork (Friends of the Earth South Africa). This is his reflection on the death of the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela.

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The environmental justice movement, and indeed my own environmental justice activism is grounded by the experience of working with Madiba to ensure that South Africans achieve the promise of a life that was enshrined by our Constitution, a life where people live in relations of solidarity and equity with each other and in non-degrading and positive relationships with their environments.

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What has the IPCC ever done for you?

Posted on September 25, 2013 by Oisín Coghlan

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

On Friday the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will publish the first part of it's new assessment report on climate science. The last one, in 2007, won it the Nobel Peace Prize. 

You can join me and Prof John Sweeney for a "first look" at the report and what it means at a Stop Climate Chaos event in the Science Gallery at lunchtime on Friday.

Here's a quick overview of why I think it matters. Come along on Friday for a fuller picture, disucssion and a chance to power the whole event uisng Gavin Harte's bicycle generator.

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Analysis of the Oireachtas climate Bill hearings

Posted on July 22, 2013 by Oisín Coghlan

Umbrella Day 2008 Irish Times photo - The photo from the front page of the Irish Times on 16th June 2008 depicting the Stop Climate Chaos Umbrella Action Day
The photo from the front page of the Irish Times on 16th June 2008 depicting the Stop Climate Chaos Umbrella Action Day

This is the unedited version of my opinion piece published in the Irish Times on Monday 15th July.

As the country experienced its most intense heatwave so far this century, the Oireachtas environment committee has been holding intensive hearings on the Government's proposed climate change Bill.

Despite the weather, and the fractious nature of the debate on the last Government’s climate Bill, nobody got hot under the collar in Committee Room 4. Instead, it’s been a positive, serious and constructive engagement, modelled on the health committee hearings on X legislation earlier in the year.

The Committee has had in-depth discussions with an array of stakeholders from the business, farming and environmental sectors as well as overseas aid agencies and economic and legal experts.

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Oisín's opening statement at Teagasc Great Debate on Climate Change and Food Security

Posted on July 13, 2012 by Oisín Coghlan

green_cow - Irish Agriculture claims to be the among the greenest in the world
Irish Agriculture claims to be the among the greenest in the world

The real link between food security and climate change

There is a concerted effort to promote a narrative that increasing Irish food production is a vital contribution to global food security and, therefore, action to reduce climate-changing emissions in Ireland should put no limit on the expansion of Irish agri-industry.

In reality, climate change is one of the biggest threats to food security, not action to contain climate change. Other main causes of food insecurity are conflict, natural disasters, poverty, access to agricultural inputs and good seeds for small farmers.

There is no shortage of food globally. The problem is not production, it's distribution. The 1 billion people who go hungry every day could be fed with just 3% of current world food supply.

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangefoodandfarming

A letter to Joe Costello when I thought he was going to the Rio Summit, or a couple of things Labour could do if they wanted to show they take sustainability seriously

Posted on June 13, 2012 by Oisín Coghlan

Publication cover - Letter to Joe Costello on Rio+20 June 2012 - Cover image for Letter to Joe Costello on Rio+20 June 2012
Cover image for Letter to Joe Costello on Rio+20 June 2012

The Irish Times reported on Monday that Joe Costello, Minster for Development and Trade, would be joining Minister Phil Hogan at the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

We drafted a letter to him suggesting a couple of things he could usefully do to ensure Rio has a progressice impact in Ireland.

On Wednesday we discovered he wasn't going to Rio, the Irish Times was mistaken.

It's a pity really. Many countries are sending their prime minister, but not Ireland. Others are sending their deputy prime minister, but not Ireland. Last week the Taoiseach and the Tanaiste "launched" a blueprint for "Our Sustainable Future" but couldn't manage a word between them for reporters or the the public .

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Permanent link | Categories: climatechangeenergytransportwastewaterbiodiversityfoodandfarming

Is the Environment Minister's cart before his horse?

Posted on December 15, 2011 by Molly Walsh

Horse before cart - Cart before the horse.
Cart before the horse.

Environment Minister Phil Hogan appeared before the Environment committee this afternoon. I find it rather strange to say he "appeared before them". But this phrasing is how people generally describe it when a minister goes in to talk to a committee, especially if he is invited. It brings to my mind images of gable walls and miraculous visions. So there he was anyway, a vision of joviality. He didn't however have any particularly healing words to impart. The Environment committee had hauled him in to clear up some uncertainty caused by his remarks about climate legislation at the end of October. At the time it was reported that the minister had said climate legislation was not a priority for him. As can be expected he was criticised widely for this. For a particularly to the point criticism you should listen to Professor of climatology John Sweeney's interview on drivetime. (It starts about one hour and fifty minutes in)

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Spot the difference. Parliamentary Questions.

Posted on October 24, 2011 by Molly Walsh

merrion - oireachtas image
oireachtas image

Phil Hogan answered a written PQ about climate legislation from Labour TD Aodhán Ó Ríordáin this week. What's concerning about it is how different his answer is from the one he gave in May to an almost identical question. It's striking that his answer can change so radically in the absence of any decision to change government policy and during a policy review that begun in May and which was still being finalised when he gave the second answer.

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May 17th Written Question

Martin Ferris (Kerry North-West Limerick, Sinn Fein)
Question 56: To ask the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the date on which he will publish climate change legislation. [11508/11]

Phil Hogan (Minister, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government; Carlow-Kilkenny, Fine Gael)

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A thoughtful Dáil speech on the challenge of framing a forward-looking climate policy

Posted on October 17, 2011 by Oisín Coghlan

Gormley on Carbon Budget Day - John Gormley outlined the contents of the coming Climate Bill in his speech in the Dáil.
John Gormley outlined the contents of the coming Climate Bill in his speech in the Dáil.

I came across this thoughtful and constructive speech on the importance of climate legislation and the progress that was made in building all-party agreement in the last Dáil. It was made in reponse to Minister John Gormley's last Carbon Budget speech on 16th December last year.

How quickly can you identify who made it?

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Statements on the carbon budget allows Parliament to reflect on the progress, or otherwise, being made in various sectors in meeting the target to reduce carbon emissions by 3% annually as set out in the programme for Government three and a half years ago. Some progress has been made but some of it was probably due to the circumstances of the economic downturn.

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