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Landmark Oireachtas hearings on climate legislation start tomorrow

4 Jul 2013

 Committee must strengthen draft Bill to show political reform is more than window-dressing Government must publish the AG's advice to aid debate

The Oireachtas environment committee begins 3 days of hearings on the Government's draft climate change Bill tomorrow. A range of stakeholders from the IFA to IBEC to Friends of the Earth will give evidence on the Bill. Lord David Puttnam, Stewart Stevenson - the former Scottish environment minister, and legal experts are among those that have been invited to meet the committee.  

The full list of witnesses has now been published by the committee: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/mediazone/pressreleases/name-17507-en.html  

Commenting on the landmark hearings, Oisin Coghlan, Friends of the Earth director said

"The Government's draft Bill is too weak to work. It has no 2050 target for reducing our climate pollution. And the supposedly independent advisory council is stacked with insiders and can't even publish its reports without the Government's permission. 

"The Committee are to be congratulated for bringing together an impressive line-up of expert witnesses for their hearings. There should be some lively and enlightening debate. Publishing all the submissions in advance has also increased the transparency of the process.  

"Having Committee hearings on draft Bills is part of the Government's much touted political reform. The Committee must be allowed to actually amend and improve the Bill on foot of its deliberations, however, if that reform is to be seen as any more than window dressing. The Committee members must have the freedom to operate across party lines as legislators.  

"The Government is hiding behind the Attorney General on the issue of targets in the climate law. They have been briefing the media that the AG has advised against targets. But the last Government published a Bill very very similar to this one with targets, so the AG's advice cannot have been decisive. Ultimately it will be a political decision to include targets in the final Bill."  

Friends of the Earth Director, Oisin Coghlan, will appear before the Committee on Monday 8th at 4.45pm.  

1. The Friends of the Earth submission is here: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/environmenttransportcultureandthegaeltacht/climatechange/Friends-of-the-Earth-Submission-Word-Version.docx 

2. Oisin's opening statement to the Committee is here: http://www.foe.ie/assets/files/pdf/friends_of_the_earth_opening_statement_to_the_oireachtas_committee_climate_hearings_july_2013.pdf

3. The schedule of witnesses is here: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/mediazone/pressreleases/name-17507-en.html

4. All the submissions are online here: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/oireachtasbusiness/committees_list/environmentcultureandthegaeltacht/submissions/

5. You can watch or listen to the hearings here: http://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/watchlisten/

6. Our live blogging on the hearings here: www.twitter.com/oisincoghlan  

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