Climate change Bill moves to next stage

 

Outline legislation on climate change has been described as “critically important” for the long-term future of the country by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan.

The move has received backing from Labour Party TDs and employers’ body Ibec but has been dismissed by development agencies and Independent TD Catherine Murphy.

Mr Hogan said the heads of a Climate Action and Low-Carbon Development Bill 2013 approved by the Cabinet yesterday would now go for consideration to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment and all stakeholders.

He also released the final climate policy analysis report from the National Economic and Social Council (NESC), which sets out a carbon-neutral vision for Ireland by 2050.

Further milestone

“Release of these documents today represents a further, hugely significant milestone in the Government’s two-year programme for the development of national climate policy and legislation issued in January 2012,” said the Minister.

He conceded the heads of the Bill had come later than promised but said it was a priority for Government to get the balance of the proposed provisions right. “When we published our two-year programme early last year, we laid out a framework under which this Government would deliver more on addressing climate change than any of our predecessors, a framework which places Ireland among the leading countries, not just within the EU but at a wider international level, in seeking to balance the challenges and objectives of a low-carbon future, and deliver on both environmental and economic grounds,” he said.

The Oireachtas Committee will consider the outline heads, in conjunction with the NESC report, and consult stakeholders soon so a report can be submitted to Government by mid-year.The chairman of the Committee, Labour TD Michael McCarthy said it provided a clear pathway for emissions reductions.

Ibec said the legislation was designed to enable Ireland’s transition to a prosperous low-carbon economy.

However, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community and LocalGovernment Brian Stanley TD said that following two years of consultation, road maps, reports and promises the climate change bill that emerged had no targets. Independent TD Catherine Murphy was also disappointed the heads of the Bill did not include domestic emissions reduction targets.

There was sunukar criticism from Justin Kilcullen of Trocaire.

Christian Aid said that, per capita, Ireland was among the world’s worst polluters.