In advance of our webinar on the Programme for Government (June 23rd), we asked our supporters to submit questions about the proposed Programme that we could put to our panellists. We received over 300 questions, which were grouped into topics that then formed the basis of our webinar discussion. Unfortunately, we didn’t get time during the webinar to address every question or topic, but here is a flavour of what issues did come up, and what was particularly important for our supporters to have more information on.
Strong climate law in first 100 days essential to ensuring Progamme for Government is delivered
Commenting on the formation of a new Government Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan said:
"The Progamme of the new Government is the strongest we have ever seen on climate action. But it only gets Ireland to the starting line in the race to contain climate breakdown. Our emissions were the same in 2019 as they were in 2009.
"The focus is now on delivery of the commitments in the Progamme for Government, and especially a new stronger climate law within the first 100 days. A climate law that will see the Dáil adopting two 5-year carbon budgets making the pledge to cut emissions in half by 2030 legally binding.
Following the general election this year, Friends of the Earth have been hosting TD call-a-thons with people from across the country. Calling TDs is a really effective way for constituents to communicate their concerns to their political representatives, and influence them to take action.
Engaging with TDs can be intimidating, it can be hard to muster up the courage to do this alone. That’s why we decided to bring people together!
Each online call-a-thon involved a quick briefing on the issues to discuss with TDs and space for people to ask questions to our climate policy experts. Then everyone called their TDs. Together we contacted almost every TD in Ireland - and many more than once!
Commenting on the proposed Programme for Government, Oisín Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth said: “This is by far the strongest Programme for Government on climate action we have ever seen.
“Is it perfect? No. Is it everything we need to do? No. But it can put Ireland on the path to implementing the Paris Agreement and shed our climate laggard label. And in some areas Ireland would become a genuine world leader.”
“The commitment to an average 7% annual reduction in polluting emissions is a huge step forward. “And crucially, a new climate law will translate that 7% target into legally-binding 5-year carbon budgets, which will specify a limit on how much pollution each sector can emit.
Large majorities in rural Ireland support greater climate action on transport, housing and farming
Public support for climate action in Ireland is among the highest in Europe, according to new analysis of opinion poll data published by Friends of the Earth to mark World Environment Day. Asked whether government should prioritize climate action in the economic recovery from Covid-19, 63% of the Irish public said yes, the joint highest in Europe along with France and Italy. And asked whether their government would be failing its people if it does not act now to combat climate change 71% of Irish people said yes, with only France and Spain registering a higher percentage. On that question Ireland is significantly ahead of New Zealand (63%), Canada (60%), Germany (58%), US (57%) and Sweden (55%) .
Commenting on the results, Oisín Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth said:
As the government formation talks focus today on climate policy, Friends of the Earth has published the results of an opinion poll showing overwhelming public support for greater government action to reduce polluting emissions. The headline findings include 9 out of 10 people saying that the government should be guided by science and expert advice on climate action as they have been on Covid-19. And 71% saying the next government will be failing the people of Ireland if they do not act now to combat climate change.
Ireland needs the agriculture sector to make a real contribution to emissions reduction if we are going to do anything like our fair share to contain climate breakdown and fulfil the Paris Agreement.
But how much? And how? This debate can be fraught with confusing scientific information and no little spinning. Well, we're here to try and untangle it for you.
Watch our recent webinar on What Contribution can Agriculture make to Climate Action where were joined by our policy expert Sadhbh O'Neill to explain what's going on, along with Oonagh Duggan of BirdWatch Ireland and Ailbhe Gerrard of Brookfield Farm.