No targets in report on climate change Bill
45 submissions were received from interested bodies, groups and individuals
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment, made up of TDs and Senators from Government and Opposition, divided on the question of including statutory targets in the legislation. Photograph: John Giles/PA Wire
A report examining the proposals for climate change legislation has reached no conclusion on the controversial absence of specific 2050 targets for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment, made up of TDs and Senators from Government and Opposition, divided on the question of including statutory targets in the legislation.
The report, which will be published tomorrow, is understood to have reached no definite conclusion on 2050 targets.
Chaired by Labour TD Michael McCarthy, the committee considered the draft heads of the Climate Change and Low Carbon Development Bill 2013 earlier this year. Forty-five submissions were received from interested bodies, groups and individuals. Some 30 delegations and individuals also made oral presentations to the committee.
The group’s report will inform the thinking of Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan when drafting the full legislation, which is expected to be published in 2014.
The most controversial aspect of the legislative plan has been the decision not to include targets for 2050 as has been done in the UK and elsewhere. Instead, the legislative scheme has provided that Ireland will incorporate any emissions reductions target agreed by the European Union and will also set out road maps for the achievement of a low-carbon society.
In that respect, it differs from the three previous climate change Bills, one of which was published by the committee on the environment in the last Dáil.
Most groups that have made submissions to the committee made the case for a statutory 2050 target of emissions reductions of the order of at least 80 per cent below 1990 baseline levels. The draft legislation does not include intermediate targets for 2030 and 2040.
There is no bar nor impediment in the Constitution to including binding targets in a Bill, even though it is unusual. The report acknowledged that the absence of a strategic target for 2050 “was considered by many witnesses to militate against principles of climate justice, especially when viewed from the developing world”.