PfG: 'Our best chance of faster and fairer climate action over the next 5 years
15 Jun 2020
Commenting on the proposed Programme for Government, Oisín Coghlan, Director of Friends of the Earth said: “This is by far the strongest Programme for Government on climate action we have ever seen.
“Is it perfect? No. Is it everything we need to do? No. But it can put Ireland on the path to implementing the Paris Agreement and shed our climate laggard label. And in some areas Ireland would become a genuine world leader.”
“The commitment to an average 7% annual reduction in polluting emissions is a huge step forward. “And crucially, a new climate law will translate that 7% target into legally-binding 5-year carbon budgets, which will specify a limit on how much pollution each sector can emit.
There will also be new powers for independent experts and the Oireachtas to advise the Government and hold ministers and civil servants to account. “This Programme for Government is our best chance of faster and fairer climate action over the next 5 years.”
“The Programme is very good on transport, retrofitting and renewables - with real progress community energy and rooftop solar. It is weaker on concrete measures to reduce agricultural pollution and on a date for the end of coal and peat burning for electricity.
“The area where it gives Ireland the chance to become a genuine world leader is in keeping fossil fuels in the ground. It promises an end to new exploration for offshore oil and gas and a ban on importing fracked gas or building terminals that could allow that.
“This doesn’t threaten our energy security. We can get any gas we need from the interconnector to Scotland. And it doesn’t threaten jobs. There are far more jobs in retrofitting, installing solar panels and in offshore wind than in oil and gas. “On top of our existing ban on fracking and the divestment of the sovereign wealth fund from fossil fuels, the end of offshore exploration and LNG imports will make Ireland a world leader in the move to a fossil fuel future.
"The progress captured in the Programme for Government is not the product of one election, or any one party in the negotiations. It is the culmination of years of work by many, many people from community activists to NGOs, from school strikers to academic experts, and particularly by the Citizens Assembly and the politicians of all parties on the special Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action.
"The Irish climate movement is stronger and more vibrant and diverse than ever before. And we will need to make sure the commitments in this Programme are actually implemented as policies and measures that reduce emissions over the next 5 years and beyond."
The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition will publish a more detailed section by section analysis of the Programme in the coming hours.