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Climate change

Climate legislation must be followed by a national action plan

Today’s passing of the Climate Bill into law is a welcome step on the road towards ending government inaction on climate change but must be followed by the urgent development of a national plan to fulfil national and international commitments, said Trócaire.

Trócaire's Joanne McGarry and John Smith hand the Global Catholic Climate Movement petition to Environment Minister Alan Kelly

Trócaire’s Joanne McGarry and John Smith hand the Global Catholic Climate Movement petition to Environment Minister Alan Kelly.

While the passing of the Bill has been welcomed, with the inclusion of the principle of climate justice a particularly positive development, the agency warned that the 18-month timeframe outlined for the production of the first national mitigation plan was too long. The absence of the plan to ensure action across all sectors will put Ireland further off track to meet its 2020 and 2030 emission reduction objectives. Ireland is one of only four EU member states not on course to meet its 2020 obligations.

Trócaire Executive Director Éamonn Meehan says that the worrying comments from the Taoiseach at the UN Climate Summit in Paris earlier this week regarding Ireland’s commitment to EU emission reductions highlighted the importance of this plan being produced without delay.

“Climate change is having a devastating impact on the world’s poorest people and so we welcome the introduction of climate legislation that can pave the way for Ireland to do its fair share in tackling this global crisis,” he said.

“The importance of a national mitigation plan being developed was highlighted this week by the Taoiseach’s confusing performance at the UN Climate Summit, where he appeared to tell world leaders one thing and Irish media another. Having confirmed in his speech that Ireland is determined to play its part in reaching EU emission reduction commitments, he told Irish journalists that these commitments are unrealistic.”

Trócaire today met with Ireland’s Environment Minister Alan Kelly to hand over a global petition signed by over 840,000 people, including several thousand Irish people, calling for strong global action on climate at the UN Climate Summit. The petition was organised by the Global Catholic Climate Movement.

Trócaire has been calling for strong climate legislation for several years. Éamonn Meehan said that the policy vacuum over recent years has hindered Ireland’s ability to contribute to the global effort to reduce the impacts of climate change.

“The reason Ireland is lagging behind on its commitments is because of the absence of concrete action on climate due to the absence of any climate policy since 2012,” he said. “This policy vacuum has meant that key policies for economic recovery have been developed in the absence of any real consideration of our climate emissions. This situation must now be reversed. If we do not agree a national plan until 2017, as envisaged by this legislation, we will have less than three years to meet our commitments. The production of this national plan must now be prioritised.

“The introduction of climate legislation is welcome but there is much more we need to do to ensure Ireland takes an approach based on climate justice so that we meet our international obligations and support the world’s poorest people. The urgent development of a national plan to meet EU emission reduction targets by 2020 has to be a priority.”

Read about Trócaire’s seven-year campaign for this Irish climate law.

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