Ireland could have a new climate law before 2020 draws to a close. However the current draft of this law has some alarming loopholes and weaknesses that must be addressed to make the Bill fit for purpose - and capable of really driving climate action.
The Climate Bill is currently being examined by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action - which can propose amendments to the Bill. This gives us a short but crucial window of opportunity to get the Bill strengthened.
Stop Climate Chaos has produced a briefing to assess the Bill and outline how it can be strengthened to close these loopholes. We need to make sure that the Committee reads this briefing and supports its recommendations, which are summarised below:
1. Add the word "achieve" back into the objective to achieve net zero by 2050.
The Heads of Bill published by the outgoing Government in January included the word “achieve” in the 2050 objective. This draft Bill does not, it instead uses the word “pursue” on its own. The word “achieve” needs to go back in.
2. Add the words "at the latest" into the following text: "The state shall achieve the objective of a climate neutral economy by 2050"
The 2050 objective in the Bill must be a floor for Ireland’s climate ambition, not a ceiling, particularly as net-zero by 2050 still does not represent our fair share of the global effort to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.
3. The definition of a Carbon Budget must be tightened to make it explicit that it will cover all gases and all sectors in a single national emissions limit.
4. The Bill must oblige the Climate Change Advisory Council to propose Carbon Budgets that are in line with the 2050 climate objective in the Bill.
That clear and direct relationship between the long-term target and the 5-year Carbon Budgets is the driving force of effective climate laws in other jurisdictions. The budgets must ensure consistent, sustained action between now and 2050 in line with EU targets. It is currently missing in this Bill.
5. There must be a clear duty on the minister and the government to produce plans that are in line with the Carbon Budgets.
Not just to “have regard to” the Carbon Budgets when producing their plans.
By taking this e-action, you can email your TDs, asking them to make a representation on your behalf to the Chair and the Clerk of the Committee, urging them to support Stop Climate Chaos's recommendations to improve the Bill. The email sent to your TDs will also ask them to speak to their political grouping’s nominee on the Committee on Climate Action. You can personalize or modify the text of the email if you wish!