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The Ministerial row over agricultural emissions shows need for climate law

7 Nov 2008

Government must resume debate of Climate Protection Bill

Friends of the Earth has said that the open disagreement between Minister for Environment John Gormley and Minister for Agriculture Brendan Smith (as reported on RTE this morning) about climate change targets demonstrates the need for a climate change law, like the one recently passed in the UK, to ensure the whole-of-government commitment required for Ireland to do its fair share to reduce emissions. Mr Smith said "climate change targets can't be allowed to damage Irish agriculture" while Mr Gormley insisted in response that all departments and sectors would have to "step-up to the plate, particularly the problematic ones".

Commenting on this latest row about agricultural emissions, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan said:

"We need a climate change law to ensure that all Ministers take their responsibility seriously. Can you imagine how absurd it would sound if Minister Smith said that Irish agriculure would play no part in reducing Ireland's ballooning budget deficit and refused to come up with cost-saving measures for the recent Budget. Equally, the Government as a whole will have to find ways to reduce Ireland's emissions across the board and a climate law is the best way to make sure that happens."

The Government has promised Seanad time to resume debate of the Second Stage of the Climate Protection Bill, but has so far failed to name a date for the resumption. Independent Senator Ivana Bacik raised the issue on the Order of Business three days running this week. She was promised a prompt response by Donie Cassidy and Dan Boyle the Government Leader and Deputy Leader in the Seanad.

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