More than 1,240 people from around the country participated in “a mass online lobby for faster and fairer climate action” on Monday by engaging with their local TDs via Zoom.
The lobbying exercise, in which more than 90 Dáil deputies participated, was organised by Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) coalition with participants asking that the Government "close loopholes in the 2020 Climate Action Bill so it's strong enough to drive the changes needed" to ensure Ireland delivers on its climate targets.
Nineteen “One Future” local groups hosted the Zoom meetings by organising people from the same constituency to address their TDs in groups – a large number of young people participated.
It took place as the Paris climate agreement reaches its fifth anniversary on December 12th. Ahead of a crucial UN summit on implementing the agreement next November, citizens also asked TDs to ensure Ireland does its fair share of the global effort required to meet the Paris goals.
SCC mobilisation co-ordinator Áine O’Gorman, said: “The Paris Agreement was the starting gun for the race of a lifetime, the race to eliminate our polluting emissions fast enough to avoid complete climate breakdown and fairly enough to leave no one behind. The ‘Zooming to zero pollution’ online lobby was a chance for constituents to let their public representatives know how much they care about climate change.”
She added: “Talking to TDs can be a daunting prospect for many people – so their willingness to step up and take part in this lobby really shows how passionate people are about climate issues.”
Romie Cullen of "Clare TD Lobby for Faster and Fairer Climate Action" said: "People from our community are taking part because we're alarmed about loopholes in the climate Bill. We'll be asking our TDs to do everything they can to make the new climate law as strong as possible to drive the rapid and just transition we need to zero pollution. The draft Bill as it stands today is simply not good enough."
The Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action is finalising its recommendations on amendments to the Bill.
Niamh Garvey, Trócaire head of policy and advocacy, said many of the world's poorest communities, who have done least to cause climate change, were already suffering most from its impact. "Not only is Ireland failing to reduce its emissions fast enough but our financial contributions to help poor countries deal with the climate change that rich countries have caused are not sufficient."
“We must stand in solidarity with these communities as we tackle this global issue. The lobby was a crucial opportunity to get these messages across to our TDs as we reach the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement,” she added.
Minister for Climate Eamon Ryan, who also participated in a Zoom meeting with his constituents, said he had no problem with taking on board recommendations for improving the Bill. The extent of pre-legislative scrutiny conducted by the committee was unprecedented, he said, and the outcome from this was "very useful and beneficial".
He would have preferred to have the legislation back before the Dáil by Christmas, but it was no major problem if that was early in the new year.