Leaders must restate cross-party commitment to climate legislation
24 Jan 2011
New Government can pass climate law in time for UN talks in Durban
Friends of the Earth has called on all parties in the Dáil to restate their support for climate change legislation. With the Greens now out of Government and the dissolution of the Dáil only days away, consideration of the Climate Change Response Bill will progress no further. However, all parties expressed support for the Climate Change Bill drafted by the Oireachtas climate change committee, which was also published at the end of last year. Friends of the Earth is writing to all party leaders to ask them to commit to passing climate legislation before the next round of UN climate talks in Durban at the end of the year.
Commenting, Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan said
"The political turmoil complicated the discussion of the Government's climate Bill and has now truncated it. But this Oireachtas has produced greater consensus on climate change than ever before and cross-party support for a robust climate law."
"Over 50,000 people have taken action during the lifetime of this Dáil calling for Ireland to do its fair share to contain climate change. And 86 TDs signed a climate commitment supporting a strong climate law."
"The election provides an opportunity for all parties to restate their support for climate legislation. Building on the work already done, the new Government can complete the passage of a climate law before the crucial UN talks in Durban in December."
Ironically, given the controversy and confusion sparked by the Government's Bill the targets in the all-party Bill are actually more demanding. Friends of the Earth has published a detailed comparison of the targets which finds that the 2020 target in the Bill simply requires the same reduction in Irish emissions as is expected under the EU 2020 package.
"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 intent on becoming an attractive location for green enterprise and innovation," Mr Coghlan continued.
"We know that business-as-usual and light touch regulation do not work in Ireland. 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, Mr Coghlan concluded.
Friends of the Earth has an online form on its website to enable people to make submissions to the Department of the Environment's public consultation on climate legislation, which runs until next Friday 28th January.