Climate change watchdog must be robust and independent, says report

Expert body should be modelled on Fiscal Advisory Council

The report has suggested several changes and additions to the climate action legislation, which is being sponsored by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan.   Photograph: Eric Luke

The report has suggested several changes and additions to the climate action legislation, which is being sponsored by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

The independent body scrutinising Government performance in meeting climate change obligations must be as robust as the Fiscal Advisory Council, a parliamentary committee report has concluded.

The Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, chaired by Labour Party TD Michael McCarthy, has spent nine months scrutinising the outline heads of the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2013.

In its report, published yesterday, the committee made no recommendations on the most controversial aspect of the draft legislation, the absence of specific 2050 targets for emissions reductions. This was because there was division among TDs and Senators on this point.

The report has suggested several changes and additions to the legislation, which is being sponsored by Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan.

In the report, emphasis has been placed on the role and powers of the Expert Advisory Body. It suggests there should be an insistence on full independence, regular and robust reporting mechanisms. It has suggested the body be modelled on the Fiscal Advisory Council, the statutory body that independently assesses Government economic performance

The committee said Ireland abiding by targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050 set by the EU Roadmap would “satisfy the objectives of the Bill”.

Essentially, the targets for Ireland will be those set by the EU but it has been pointed out that these will be binding.

The report argues the Government should draw up a national roadmap – a schedule of the actions to achieve emissions reductions and the dates they should be completed – before drawing up roadmaps for each sector.