Early 2013 deadline for climate change Bill


The long-anticipated draft climate change Bill will not meet its publication target of the end of 2012 but will now be published in early 2013, Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan will confirm today.

As part of a series of announcements and updates, Mr Hogan will say the legislation remains broadly on schedule despite the slippage.

He sets out reasons for this including the complexity of the Bill, as well as the importance of getting it right with legislation that will have profound societal implications.

“The work on developing provisions of progressive primary legislation is at an advanced stage and outline heads of a Bill will be issued early in 2013.

“This is a critically important piece of national legislation in terms of the environmental and economic sustainability of our long-term future.

“I’m sure all stakeholders will appreciate the importance of ensuring that we get the proposed provisions right,” Mr Hogan has said in the position paper, a copy of which has been seen by The Irish Times.

The other major developments today are the publication of the National Climate Change Adaptation Framework, as well as the department’s response to the National Economic and Social Council’s interim report from June 2012 on how climate change policy could be developed.

Plans and actions

The adaptation policy recognises that changes in climate caused by greenhouse gas emissions will have an impact on life in Irelan. It also recognises , that Government, at both national and local level, needs to devise plans and actions to cope with changes such as prolonged droughts, water shortages, floods, extreme weather events and rising sea levels.

The framework, published today, will put the onus on Government departments and agencies to produce their own sectoral plans by mid- 2014 at the latest.

In addition, every local authority will be be required to produce plans to cope with climate change in their own area, and incorporate them into their county and city development plans by mid-2014.

Coping with disruption

“This plan is about helping agencies to cope with and reduce the disruption to people’s lives from the impacts of climate change,” said Mr Hogan. The overall framework will be monitored by the Cabinet subcommittee, chaired by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Responding to the National Economic and Social Council’s interim report on climate change policy, Mr Hogan contended that “significant progress in addressing greenhouse gas emissions had been made over the year”.

Those include the extension of carbon tax to solid fuels and the restructuring of VRT and motor tax.

“The inclusion of the most carbon-intensive fuels, like coal and peat, (which have around one-third greater carbon impact than gas or diesel in terms of energy produced) is a significant step.”

Another requirement for departments will be to produce road maps by 2014 showing how they can achieve their zero-carbon targets by 2050.

In a key policy decision, the department has said carbon neutrality should be the approach for agriculture, as opposed to zero carbon for energy, buildings and transport.