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Campaign urges candidates to Act for Climate

14 May 2007

Friends of the Earth calls for independent scrutiny of parties' climate proposals

Friends of the Earth has launched a campaign urging election candidates to support a law to reduce Ireland's climate pollution. A new website, actforclimate.ie, enables the public to email their local candidates asking them where they stand on climate change and will they support a climate protection law if elected to the Dail. In the short time since the site went live, voters in 38 of the state's 43 constituencies have contacted their candidates to say that climate change is an important issue to them.

Oisin Coghlan, Friends of the Earth Director, commented:

"The next Dail has an historic responsibility for Ireland's response to climate change. If it goes a full term it will be in session not just for the whole period of Ireland's commitment under the Kyoto Protocol but also for the negotiation of much more challenging targets for the period up to 2020. Now is the moment for the public to let politicians know that we expect them to make climate protection one of the central concerns of the next Government. The Act for Climate website does just that."

In the run in to the election all of the parties have talked about climate change and outlined various measures they might take to cut emissions. The problem, according to Friends of the Earth, is there is no guarantee that any of these measures will get implemented and there has been no analysis of their effectiveness. All parties are expected to produce costings for their spending proposals and subject them to independent scrutiny. Likewise, parties should make clear now much lower Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions will actually be as a result of each of their policy proposals. Especially given that taxpayers will have to pick up the tab for the overshoot of our Kyoto target between now an 2012.

The Act for Climate campaign wants to see a climate protection law which provides for:

* An annual 'carbon budget', like the financial budget, which puts a limit on pollution sector by sector
* Annual reductions in that carbon budget so Ireland cuts its pollution year-by-year
* An independent climate commission to advise government on policy, with scrutiny powers like the Public Accounts Committee and the C&AG.

Friends of the Earth pubished a draft Climate Protection Bill last month.

"Climate change is the greatest challenge humanity faces in the 21st century. All parties in all governments for the next 20 years are going to have to make it a priority in the same way as we made tackling umemployment and emigration a common priority 20 years ago. Only a law can make sure Ireland does its fair share to prevent climate chaos. Over the next couple of weeks people around the country will be using actforclimate.ie to drive that point home to their local candidates", Mr Coghlan added.

According to the Government's latest plans over half of the difference between Ireland's pollution record and our Kyoto target will be dealt with by the purchase of pollution permits overseas. The cost to businesses and taxpayers will be between 100 and 200 million euro a year between now and 2012.


Sign up to Act for Climate, add your voice to the call for a climate protection law.
Email your Election candidates to ask them to support a climate law
Email your friends to ask them to play their part
Read how a climate law would work, or the draft Climate Protection Bill itself.
See who supports a law
Read more about Ireland's record on climate pollution



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