Departments failing to hit climate targets face funding cuts

Bill will force sectors to radically reduce carbon emissions over the coming decade

Minister for Climate Action  Richard Bruton said it is his ambition to have the Bill enacted before an election. Photograph: Damien Eagers

Minister for Climate Action Richard Bruton said it is his ambition to have the Bill enacted before an election. Photograph: Damien Eagers

 

Government departments and agencies which fail to deliver on new climate commitments will be punished with reduced funding under new plans to be unveiled by the Government today.

The Climate Action (Amendment) Bill will force sectors to radically reduce carbon emissions over the coming decade and will bring to an end aspirational or voluntary targets that Ireland has failed to meet.

Minister for Climate Action and Environment Richard Bruton said it is his ambition to have the Bill enacted before an election.

In a separate letter sent to Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said enacting climate change legislation is one of his priorities before the Dáil is wound down over the coming months.

Mr Varadkar has asked Mr Martin to agree to an “ambitious programme of legislation” for the remaining period of the Dáil, adding that he firmly rejected the idea of a “wind down” of the current session, something which Mr Martin proposed last year.

‘To the last moment’

In his letter, Mr Varadkar wrote that “we need an ambitious programme for the period from the resumption of the Dáil in January to the dissolution of the Dáil, as proposed by you in April to the Easter recess”.

He said governments should be “active in their duties to the last moment”.

He also said Fianna Fáil abstaining on key votes on the budget or confidence motions is “no longer sufficient” and that the party must instead vote with the Government.

“I think it is reasonable of me to ask that you formally secure the support of all your TDs for this arrangement or agree to vote with the Government, where necessary, rather than abstain. This is the only way we can both be sure that it is sustainable.”

It comes after Fianna Fáil’s John McGuinness said he will vote against the Government. Mr Varadkar and Mr Martin are due to meet in the coming days.