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Landmark climate law increases transparency, expert advice and parliamentary accountability

3 Dec 2015

But climate legislation no substitute for political leadership

Friends of the Earth has welcomed the final passing of the Climate Bill in the Dáil but noted that legislation alone will not overcome the “failure of leadership” shown by the Taoiseach at the Paris Climate Conference earlier in the week. Friends of the Earth launched the campaign for a climate law in April 2007.

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

“Friends of the Earth welcomes the passing of the Climate Bill. It is a landmark in Irish climate policy.

“It hardwires increased transparency, timely planning, expert advice and parliamentary accountability into Irish climate policy-making.

“Without legislation we know these things have been largely absent.

“But even the best legislation is no substitute for political leadership and that is sorely lacking in Ireland, as demonstrated by the Taoiseach’s doublespeak in Paris this week.”

“The final law is not as strong as it should be because of the persistent lobbying by the IFA and IBEC to water it down.

"It does, however, underpin the national policy objective of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050 and achieving carbon neutrality in agriculture.

“Moreover, it ensures that it will be illegal for the next Government to do what this Government has done, which is go through its entire 5-year term without producing a concrete Action Plan to reduce emissions.

“The next steps are equally important. We look forward to the Climate Advisory Council producing its first ‘periodic review’ in the next six months, followed by robust public and political debate of the policy choices facing Ireland:

    • Which sectors are best placed to make the biggest emission cuts first?

    • Where are the biggest job-creation opportunities?

    • How will we retrofit our housing stock to have warmer homes and lower fuel bills?

    • How soon will we stop burning peat for electricity? What will we do with coal-burning Moneypoint? Are we seriously going to consider fracking in Ireland?

    • How can we unleash a rooftop revolution for solar energy and involve communities in the local ownership of renewable energy as they do in Denmark?

“And finally, the adoption of Ireland’s 5-year Climate Action Plan (national mitigation plan).”

ENDS

Notes

  1. In the wake of the controversy surrounding the Taoiseach’s remarks in Paris about Ireland and climate change, Friends of the Earth has joined forces with Trocaire and Uplift to launch a petition calling on the Taoiseach to be a climate leader not a special pleader.

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