Gormley's call for climate change legislation welcome
25 May 2009
A strong law "key to a low-carbon recovery"
John Gormley's confirmation that the Green Party will demand a climate change law in the review of the Programme for Government has been welcomed by Friends of the Earth as "an important step". Responding to a report in the Sunday Business Post, the Minister for the Environment told RTE today that climate change legislation was necessary to keep Ireland on the trajectory to a low carbon economy.
Commenting on the development Friends of the Earth director, Oisín Coghlan, said:
"We warmly welcome the Green Party getting serious about achieving a climate change law. A strong law will hardwire action and accountability on climate change into the political system. It is key to a low-carbon recovery that is economically and environmentally sustainable."
According to the environmental pressure group which has been campaigning for a climate legislation since 2007 the key elements of an effective law are:
* Long term targets for emissions reductions in line with the best available science. That means cuts of 40% by 2020 and 95% by 2050.
* Legally-binding five-year "carbon budgets" to deliver the required cuts.
* The Minister for Finance to have overall responsibility for the Carbon Budget and reporting annually to the Dáil.
* Annual milestones to make sure emissions go down year-by-year.
* A commitment to achieving the cuts domestically, with no offsetting.
* The inclusion of aviation and shipping emissions.
* An independent climate change commission to advise the Government on targets and measures.
Mr Coghlan continued:
"A strong climate change law is the best way to make sure all departments across government, and all government across time, take climate change seriously and take action consistently. And the time to pass it is now, before the crucial UN summit in Copenhagen in December."
A climate change law was introduced in the UK last year after a three year campaign by Friends of the Earth. The campaign has now spread across Europe with legislation under preparation in Austria, Belgium and Hungary. Since the Irish campaign was launched in 2007 almost 50,000 supporters of Friends of the Earth and the Stop Climate Chaos coalition have taken action calling for a law. Opposition climate bills are on the order paper in both the Dáil and the Seanad.