Liz McManus to study proposals for climate change laws


THE LABOUR spokeswoman on energy, Liz McManus, has been asked by the Oireachtas climate change committee to act as its rapporteur in examining proposals for legislation to set statutory limits and targets for emissions and carbon budgets.

Climate change legislation is expected to be the key demand of the Green Party in the revised programme for government, which will be negotiated during the summer.

The committee will examine the possibility of an all-party approach being adopted for the legislation.

To that end, Ms McManus will consider legislation elsewhere, particularly in the US and in Britain, where climate change legislation is already in force.

At a meeting of the committee yesterday, one of Ireland’s leading experts on climate change, Prof John Sweeney of NUI Maynooth, said Ireland would experience between 1.5 and two degrees of warming over the next four decades.

He also said winter rainfall would increase by 12 to 15 per cent in the same period, with greater frequency of storms, flash floods and unpredictable weather events.

He said warmer summers would lead to water shortages, which would be most acutely felt in the southeast, where counties Wexford and Waterford would experience 30 per cent decreases in water availability.

Oisín Coghlan of Friends of the Earth spoke at the meeting and said the summit on climate change in Copenhagen next winter would be the “most important meeting of world leaders since World War II”.

Mr Coghlan said that if Kyoto had taken baby steps to tackle climate change, Copenhagen would need to take “leaps and bounds”.

He added that there was an urgent need for a climate change Act and said a five-year carbon budget should be included in the legislation.

“If we do not implement a plan over the next decade or two, we will run out of water,” Prof Sweeney warned.