Waking up to climate change
Sir, – I could scarcely believe Eamon Ryan’s ungracious inability to welcome a piece of legislation to deal with climate change (Opinion, March 5th). Does he not remember that his own party, and his then party leader John Gormley, stated many times that their primary motivation on entering government was to bring in measures to deal with climate change. They completely failed in this regard.
As far as I can tell, not one representative from any of the Green lobby groups can outline what the effects will be for Ireland if we implement ambiguous, unrealistic targets. In their lack of ability to compromise in any way, they seem happy to allow for inaction while we all argue over what the future might look like. Heads of a Bill have been published, with targets, that will set in place policy measures to implement our current EU target and, as the Climate Change Bill states, any future obligations that the State signs up to. We need action now, that is what the Government is setting out to achieve. If we sat back and continued to argue over what the perfect piece of legislation would look like, we would be here in 10 years’ time, still without any passed legislation. We must learn from the Greens’ failure in government. We need to act now and continue to improve upon our efforts.
Rather than the usual, knee- jerk criticisms of Government policy, let us embrace the fact we will have a commitment to act on climate change underpinned by legislation – and support it. – Yours, etc,
Sir, – The Government’s proposals for climate change legislation have been rightly criticised for not going far enough. A source of particular frustration for me, as one of the participants in the public consultation for this Bill, is how little of the consultation is reflected in it.
More than 600 stakeholders, including academics, NGOs and business groups, participated in this consultation and a pretty clear consensus emerged.
Ninety per cent of respondents wanted Ireland to lead among the most progressive vanguard of EU member states in the fight against climate change. Ninety per cent of respondents wanted binding emissions targets beyond our EU commitments for 2020, with targets set for 2030, 2040 and 2050. Over 92 per cent supported the establishment of an advisory body with the power to hold the government accountable.
The consultation consisted of a long, time-consuming survey, but I felt it was worth doing if I could influence Government policy in this crucial area. For the Government to blatantly ignore the views of everyone who devoted time to this consultation is insulting. It calls into question why it sought public input in the first place. I sincerely hope that the Oireachtas Committee on the Environment will rectify the shortcomings of this legislation and place Ireland in the progressive vanguard, where we belong. – Yours, etc,