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The business and politics of Climate Change

24 May 2013

Will Goodbody, RTE News

Amid the hullabaloo surrounding penalty-point-gate this week, another event in Leinster House, with arguably far greater long term consequences for our future, and the future of our children, got overshadowed.

On the day the people of Moore, Oklahoma began counting the human and economic cost of a terrifying weather event, the Oireachtas Joint Environment Committee began discussing the heads of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill.

This long awaited piece of legislation sets out to deliver on the government's stated objective of balancing the challenges and objectives of a low carbon future, with delivering on both environmental and economic grounds.

But much more than that, on a practical level, this will be the framework for Ireland's contribution - albeit small - to the international battle to contain the seeming unassailable march of climate change.

The draft legislation does many welcome things.

It places a statutory obligation on government to adopt and implement plans that enable the state to transition to what the Department of the Environment describes as a low carbon, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable economy in the period to 2050.

Within each seven year period, the government will have to come up with a fresh roadmap to reach targets, and a progress report will have to be given to the Dáil each year by the environment minister.

There will also be an advisory group made up of experts from various state agencies which will assess and review compliance.

But for many interested observers, the proposed bill does not go nearly far enough.

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