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By Jerry Mac Evilly, Trócaire Policy Officer
An international environmental legal organisation has found significant failings in the Government’s proposed Climate Bill and warns that the legislation will fail unless critical weaknesses are addressed.
Client Earth, an environmental legal organisation based in London, has warned that weak legislation can “lock-in a high carbon society” and specifically called on the Minister for the Environment to revise the Bill to ensure the independence of the proposed expert advisory group and the introduction of long-term binding national climate targets.
According to the report issued by the firm and commissioned by the Stop Climate Chaos network of Irish NGOs:
“The purpose of enacting a national climate law is to help ensure that an optimal policy mix is consistently pursued to bring about cost-effective long-term decarbonisation. A poorly designed law can ‘lock in’ a high carbon society and thereby increase the costs when a country does make the inevitable transition to a low carbon future.”
People’s Climate members call for a fossil free future in Dublin (Photo: Alan Whelan)
Climate change is a key driver of poverty in the developing world but it is developed nations who are primarily responsible, having contributed most to harmful increases in carbon emissions. The Government needs to put in place a strong Climate Bill to ensure that Ireland is a leader of effective climate mitigation, not an ambivalent bystander.
This Bill is an opportunity for the Government to put climate policy back on track by taking a long-term, committed approach to reducing emissions. However, in its current form the Bill not only lacks ambition but will fail to achieve its basic objective of providing a clear and stable low-carbon transition.
The Bill will go to Committee stage over the coming weeks and we would call on the Minister to listen to the cross-party calls for stronger legislation to ensure Ireland has effective and meaningful climate legislation.
Read the full Client Earth report.