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Public Consultation shows 90% want Ireland to be a leader on climate change

27 Sep 2012

Media Advisory

Results must be reflected in forthcoming legislation

Friends of the Earth has welcomed the outcome of a major public consultation on climate change carried out by the Department of the Environment. The results, published on the Department's website, show overwhelming public support for a strong climate law, real action to cut emissions rather than buy permits, and an independent body to advise Government.

Some of the main findings include:

  • 89.8% of respondents think Ireland should be a leader on climate action in the EU, presenting itself as a forward-looking, progressive society with an economy that is sustainable on socio-economic and environmental grounds.
  • 90% of respondents wanted to see climate targets enshrined in national law.
  • Over 92% supported the establishment of an independent, expert body to advise Government on climate.
  • 62.3% felt there was no role for carbon offsets in meeting our targets, ie that we should cut our emissions here in Ireland rather than spend taxpayers' money overseas on buying pollution permits, known as "carbon credits".
  • The majority of those responding to a question on targets referred to the need for a legally-binding carbon budget., possibly along the lines of the existing UK model, with monitoring built in.

Friends of the Earth is calling on the government to reflect these results in the climate Bill now being drafted. Commenting on the results, Oisín Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth, said

"We welcome the considerable effort that has gone into seeking the views of the public ahead of producing legislation. Over six hundred responses were received and we want to see these results reflected in the draft climate Bill promised by December."

The Public consultation on climate change was carried out as part of the ongoing roadmap for climate policy which commits the Government to publishing heads of a climate Bill before the end of this year.

"The respondants in this consultation want to see legally binding targets, backed by carbon budgets and met domestically, and an independent committee to advise government on climate matters. These are the things that we now look forward to seeing when the heads of a climate bill is sent to the environment committee later this year," concluded Mr Coghlan.

The next stage on the Government's climate roadmap is the imminent publication of a study by the secretariat of the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) on Ireland's policy options to meet our 2020 EU targets. The report is currently with Government and publication is expected within the next week.
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Notes
1. The results of the public consultation are on the Dept of Environment website http://www.environ.ie/en/Environment/Atmosphere/ClimateChange/ClimatePolicyDevelopmentConsultation/

2. The roadmap for climate policy and legislation on the Dept of Environment website http://www.environ.ie/en/Environment/Atmosphere/News/MainBody,29241,en.htm

3. The climate bill is in "list G" on the legislative programme "bills for referral to committee for consideration pre-publication"
http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/eng/Taoiseach_and_Government/Government_Legislation_Programme/SECTION%20G.html

 

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