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Friends of the Earth publishes Climate Protection Bill

12 Apr 2007

Environmental group proposes legal framework for carbon cuts

Friends of the Earth has this morning published a Climate Bill [1] that would introduce legally-binding targets for reducing Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions. The Climate Protection Bill, were it to become law, would place Ireland in the lead among developed countries in tackling climate change. Publication of the bill follows the introduction of legislation in California requiring carbon emissions to be cut by 80% by 2050, and the publication of a Climate Bill by the British Government requiring cuts of 60% by the same date. The environmental pressure group is calling for the introduction of similar legislation here to bind the incoming Government and its successors to cut Ireland's climate-changing pollution.

Speaking at today's press conference, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisín Coghlan, said:

"Only a law can make sure Ireland does its fair share to prevent climate chaos. Otherwise politicians have difficulty delivering on long-term targets. We need a sea-change in how we live, work and travel in Ireland and it simply can't be done at the last minute. The Climate Protection Act can help us make the shift in a managed, step-by-step way."


The Bill would revolutionise how Ireland tackles climate change:

* The Government's new emissions target for 2010, announced in last week's Climate Strategy [2], would become legally binding.
* Emissions would need to fall by three per cent each year from 2010 until 2050, ensuring Ireland meets the minimum EU target for 2050.
* The Minister for the Environment would present an Annual Greenhouse Gas Budget, Strategy, and Report to the Dail in line with the 3% cut.
* An independent expert Commission on Climate Change would advise the Minister on the Budget and the Strategy and report independently on progress.
* A Minister who persistently failed to deliver the required cuts would face a motion of no confidence.
* Ireland's emissions would fall from 70Mt a year now to 50Mt in 2020 and 20Mt in 2050.


The publication on Good Friday of the latest IPCC report [3] confirms that it is the world's poor who will be hit first and hit hardest. This is a cruel irony since emissions of greenhouse gases by the least developed countries have been negligible.

Mr Coghlan concluded:
"Global warming is nothing short of a planetary emergency. By legislating to reduce carbon emissions, Ireland can do its fair share to tackle climate change while also setting an example internationally. There is no greater priority for the new Oireachtas than to introduce the measures we are proposing today."


[1] Friends of the Earth's Climate Protection Bill was published at a press conference at 1100 in Buswells Hotel.
Download the Bill.
Download a table showing what impact 3% a year cuts would have on Ireland's climate pollution.

[2] The Government's National Climate Change Strategy, published on 2nd April, outlined plans to reduce Ireland's gross emissions of greenhouse gases to 68.29 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent by 2010 (See table 2.2 on page 16 and table 1 on page 52).

[3] The second volume of the Fourth Assessment Report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group II was published on 6 April 2007. It provides the starkest warning yet on the threat of global climate change and predicts the severe consequences the planet will face unless world leaders take urgent action to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.

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