Friends of the Earth welcomes landmark Government decision on climate law
28 Jul 2009
A strong climate law would be a real achievement for Greens in government
Friends of the Earth has welcomed the Government decision to draft a climate change Bill. The environmental organisation, which has led the campaign for a climate law over the last two years, described today's announcement as a landmark for Irish climate change policy and a significant achievement for the Greens in government.
Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan, said
"This decision is a landmark for Irish climate change policy. A strong law will show that Ireland finally means business on climate change. It will hardwire action and accountability on climate change into the political system. It is also key to a low-carbon recovery that is economically and environmentally sustainable."
The environmental pressure group has recently published a paper outlining the key elements of an effective climate law:
- Long term targets for emissions reductions in line with the best available science. That means cuts of 40% by 2020 and 95% by 2050.
- An independent Climate Change Commission to advise the Government on targets and measures and to report to the Oireachtas on progress.
- Legally-binding five-year carbon budgets to deliver the required cuts across all departments and sectors.
- The Minister for Finance or the Taoiseach 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, rejecting dependence on offsetting.
- The inclusion of aviation and shipping emissions.
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 passing the law before the crucial UN summit in Copenhagen in December would be a very positive signal to the international community".
"Today's announcement is a significant achievement for the Greens in government. Above all, it shows that people can influence policy. Since the campaign for a climate law began in April 2007, over 50,000 supporters of Friends of the Earth and the other members of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition have taken action in support of a law: contacting their TDs, signing petitions and taking part in demonstrations like those on Sandymount Strand. And now, something that was not in the Programme for Government two years ago has become government policy", Mr Coghlan concluded.
Read more about our campaign for a climate change law.