Government postpones long-awaited Climate Action Bill until the new year

Current Coalition initially promised it would publish Bill in 2012

The  Coalition initially promised it would publish a Bill in 2012 but a series of reviews ordered by former minister Phil Hogan meant the  date was pushed back first to 2013, and then to 2014. Photograph: Eric Luke/Irish Times

The Coalition initially promised it would publish a Bill in 2012 but a series of reviews ordered by former minister Phil Hogan meant the date was pushed back first to 2013, and then to 2014. Photograph: Eric Luke/Irish Times

 

The Government will not publish its long-awaited legislation on climate change until the new year.

A spokesman at the Department of the Environment confirmed yesterday the Cabinet was due to give the go-ahead this week for the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill. However, the matter was not reached during the last weekly meeting of Government Ministers this year.

The spokesman said the Bill would get approval at the first Cabinet meeting of the new year. Legislation addressing the challenges posed by climate change has been on the agenda of government since 2007. The current Coalition initially promised it would publish a Bill in 2012 but a series of reviews and reports ordered by former minister Phil Hogan saw the publication date slide back first to 2013, and then to 2014.

No binding targets

The Bill, as currently drafted, has attracted controversy, not least because there are no binding target dates. However, the Government has said Ireland will abide by all binding targets set out by the European Union.

Yesterday, campaigners expressed disappointment at the latest delay. Stop Climate Chaos, which represents 28 groups and agencies, said yet another deadline had passed without meaningful action by Government.

Co-ordinator Ciara Kirrane said: “Deadlines set by Government for the introduction of the climate Bill have been repeatedly missed over the past 2 years.

“Phil Hogan said the Bill would be introduced by the end of 2013 . . . The slippage is disappointing and frustrating, considering we are now two years without a climate strategy.”