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Greens' legacy hangs by a thread, depends on delivering Climate Bill

1 Dec 2010

Government must keep promise to publish Climate Bill before Christmas

The environmental campaigning organisation Friends of the Earth has said the Green Party's legacy in Government hangs by a thread. The group's director Oisin Coghlan said that "a generation of environmentalists would never forgive the party if they didn't pass a climate change law before leaving office". He was commenting on a letter from Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, which promises to publish the Government's Climate Bill before Christmas and anticipates it becoming law "early in 2011".

Oisin Coghlan, Friends of the Earth Director, went on to say

"The Green Party say they went into Government because of the compelling urgency of tackling climate change. Three years later it would be shocking if the Greens stayed in Government long enough to bail out the banks and cut the budget, but not long enough to get the Climate Bill passed."

The Cabinet finally agreed a Climate Bill two weeks ago, almost a year after the Government agreed and published a Framework Document for climate legislation. A draft Bill had been promised for the first quarter of 2010. In his Carbon Budget speech to the Dáil last December Minister Gormley said the Climate Change Bill was "sending out a message to people here and beyond our shores of our intent, our determination, our sense of purpose in tackling climate change. It is a message that I am proud to take to Copenhagen." One year on Gormley still has nothing to show for his determination and has nothing to take to the UN talks this year.

Mr Coghlan continued

"Minister Gormley is running out of road. It was interesting when he announced the Greens' intention to leave Government last week the media assessments (Irish Independent and RTE News) of their time in Government all mentioned their failure to deliver the Climate Change Bill. There is still time to put that right, but only just."

"Whoever was in Government would have bailed out the banks. The Greens went in because they knew that there is no bailout that will save us if we let the climate crisis become a crash. A generation of environmentalists will never forgive the party if they don't pass a strong climate change law before leaving office."

Friends of the Earth has launched an email action to the Green Party parliamentary party to remind them of why they went into Government and of their latest promise to publish the Climate Bill before Christmas: All I want for Christmas.

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