Climate Action Bill and climate justice

 

Sir, – We believe certain provisions in the Climate Action Bill must be strengthened.

First, as organisations rooted in social justice, we work daily with communities who are disproportionately affected by issues linked to climate change and the environment, including flooding, health concerns related to poor air quality, poor housing conditions, energy insecurity and poverty. There is no doubt that, unless safeguarded against in legislation, these disparities and inequalities will deepen in the face of climate change.

Throughout the progress of the Bill, we have consistently advocated for a strengthened definition of climate justice, reflecting equivalent Scottish legislation, to be included so that an unambiguous obligation is placed on the Minister and Government to ensure that those most vulnerable to climate impacts and climate action are not disproportionately affected.

Second, connected to this, a stronger, more ambitious definition of “just transition” is critical if we are to respect the rights of those most vulnerable to climate change and ensure that no worker or community is left behind in making the changes needed to achieve the emissions targets set out in the Bill.

Third, the Bill imposes clear obligations in terms of climate action.

Failure to meet such obligations will have a disproportionate effect on those experiencing disadvantage, infringing their human rights and compounding the difficulties they already face.

In such circumstances, damages are an important remedy and must not be excluded under the Bill.

The Climate Action Bill must be underpinned by clear accountability mechanisms and an ambition to tackle issues of inequality if it is to successfully deliver the huge changes needed to combat climate change. – Yours, etc,

ROSE WALL,

Chief Executive Officer,

Community Law

and Mediation,

Centre for

Environmental Justice,

Dublin 17;

TRICIA

KEILTHY,

Head of Social Justice

and Policy,

Society of

St Vincent de Paul,

Dublin 1.