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IFA is "scaremongering" about impact of climate change law

16 Dec 2010


The Bill due to be published today will position Ireland as a g reen enterprise hub

Friends of the Earth has accused the Irish Farmers Association of "scaremongering" in its comments yesterday about the Government's Climate Change Bill. The environmental justice organisation said the IFA was mistaken in saying the Bill, due to be published today, could damage Ireland's economic recovery with "unrealistic reduction targets". Friends of the Earth believes the Bill will be a cornerstone of a sustainable, low-carbon recovery.

Commenting, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisín Coghlan, said

"The Climate Change Bill is the equivalent of the banking regulation we should have had five or 10 years ago. It will prevent the next bubble, one driven by a belief that pollution can rise forever without leading to a crash. A strong climate law is key to sustainable jobs and prosperity for the 21st century. There could be no clearer signal to investors that Ireland is becoming a hub for green enterprise and innovation".

The Bill is not about targeting or penalising agriculture as the IFA suggest. It is simply about ensuring Ireland does its fair share, no more no less, to prevent climate change running out of control. The Framework the Government published a year ago provides for national carbon budgets - the total amount of pollution we can afford to emit in a given period. Within that we may well decide that farming should get a generous allowance due to its historical importance and, by contrast, decide that electricity generation will produce deeper emissions cuts given our comparative advantage in renewable energy.

"As a small, open, economy, dependent on exports, Ireland's prosperity depends as much on preventing global climate chaos as does the survival of small island states in the Pacific. The world is currently heading for a 4 degree rise in average temperatures. The social and economic disruption that would characterise such an upheaval would make this recession, tough as it is, look like a tea-party", Mr Coghlan continued.

 

"It's absurd for the IFA to talk of 'unrealistic emissions reductions'. What's unrealistic is to assume Ireland can continue forever to pollute as if we had three planets to absorb it. In the real world we either cut emissions enough that our one planet can cope with them, or we risk that one planet becoming increasingly hostile to human civilization. And it is laughable for the IFA to criticise Brazil in the week that country again topped the international rankings for its efforts to tackle climate change, while Ireland languishes in 20th place," Mr Coghlan concluded.

ENDS

Notes

1. The IFA press release is here: http://www.ifa.ie/IFAInformation/tabid/586/ctl/Detail/mid/2202/xmid/4116/xmfid/23/Default.aspx

2. The Green Party announcement about the Bill being published today is here: http://greenparty.newsweaver.ie/1660sh3qz3zj0k9hgga1jy

3. The latest rankings of national efforts to tackle climate change are reported here: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2010/1207/1224284926945.html

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