Climate Change Act to closely follow legislation in UK, says Ryan

 

ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS:MINISTER FOR Energy Eamon Ryan has said he expects new climate change legislation later this year to closely follow similar legislation introduced in Britain.

Mr Ryan said yesterday that he expects drafting to begin on the legislation within three to four months. He said the new programme would also be dependent on the report of the Commission of Taxation and the result of the efficiency review of the pubic service.

“My preference would be to follow the British model for the Climate Change Act. The advantage is that we can benefit from legislation that is tried and tested and we can adapt it and make it better,” he said.

The British legislation, introduced two years ago, committed its government for the first time to legally binding targets for greenhouse emissions, including a 26 per cent reduction by 2020.

It also provided for a carbon budgeting system, capping emissions over five-year periods. It also established a committee on climate change, an independent body advising on the best way for Britain to achieve its targets.

At the time of its introduction, the British government said the new laws would create a low-carbon economy and demonstrate strong leadership internationally.

The Green Party said the introduction of a Climate Change Bill would form the key part of its agenda in discussions with Fianna Fáil on a revised programme of government later this summer.

Mr Ryan was commenting at yesterday’s launch of its television election broadcast for its European candidates, Senator Deirdre de Búrca and Senator Dan Boyle.

He said Fianna Fáil now recognised that green technology would create thousands of jobs. “The smart economy document announced before Christmas is now the direction of this State for economic development. The world wants greener development,” he said.

He said companies like Cisco and Bell Laboratories in the ICT sector; lighting specialists Nua Light and wind turbine operations such as Clare Community Wind Farm were examples of what could be done. He added that the €500 million venture funding for green enterprise would become available within months.

Mr Boyle said the legislation setting up the National Assets Management Agency (Nama) would include strong environmental provisions that would award projects or assets that can be shown to be sustainable. He also said that as part of the banks’ recapitalisation deal, €100 million had been earmarked for loans that could show they had green, environmental and sustainable characteristics.

“The political broadcast will be an important part of our message. It is a message of hope. We as a people are capable of change,” he said.

The move came as the Opposition failed to put a debate on climate change legislation on the timetable in the Seanad. The motion seeking time to debate legislation on the Climate Protection Bill, drafted by Labour Senator Ivana Bacik, was voted down by 25 votes to 18. Neither Green Party Senator was present for the vote.

Friends of the Earth director Oisín Coghlan said the Government’s rejection of the debate represented a missed opportunity.