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Government Framework for Climate Change Bill 2010

Issued on: 18 January 2010

Government Framework for Climate Change Bill 2010

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Summary

This is the document that the Government published during Copenhagen, It has a few worrying weaknesses-

1. CARBON BUDGETS
The document envisages the climate law as "putting on a statutory footing the Carbon Budget process as operated over the last two years;"
This is not good enough because the current carbon budgets as operated over the past few years are much more like carbon reports. They look back on the previous year and mention a few measures to reduce emissions. This is not what a budget actually is and in fact seems to show a lack of comprehension of the actual term. A budget is forward looking and spells out a plan to stay within a certain limit, sometimes money, in this case emissions.A true Carbon Budget should set out sector by sector what the emissions will be for the forthcoming year and which minister is responsible, the same way that the fiscal budget sets out what the spending will be for the forthcoming year.

2. Inclusion of the Traded Sector.
The European Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) relates to the power generation and industrial sectors of our economy. The idea is that by creating a market for carbon this will bring down emissions in these areas. So far this hasn't worked. From conversations with civil servants and some politicians we are worried that they may try to leave out the emissions from these sectors in the mistaken belief that the ETS will take care of them.

This could leave us with a situation where big pollutors like our coal fired power station in Moneypoint(5 million tonnes of CO2 per year) would be left out of a climate change bill. A climate change act should be a framework that includes the whole economy and the carbon budgets should include all the emissions from Ireland.

3. Offsetting
There is no limit mentioned in the document on the amount of credits that can be bought to meet the proposed targets.
The emissions reduction targets should mean that Ireland produces less pollution. Not that we pay someone else to on the other side of the world to pollute less. The carbon intensive way that our economy works needs to be changed and the sooner the better. Offsetting is an expensive way to put off making the urgent changes that we need to make to how our country works. Paying someone else to do your homework is called cheating and paying someone else to go to the toilet for you, doesn't work. Paying someone else to meet your emissions targets is neither fair nor effective.

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