Justice and peace organisation, Afri, today called the government publication of the heads of a Climate Bill as deeply disappointing as it fails to meet key requirements for the effective tackling of climate change.
Afri is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition which has repeatedly called on the government to publish a strong bill which has legally binding emission reduction targets, five-year carbon budgets that meet up to these targets; carbon targets to be met domestically, without purchasing overseas carbon credits, and the establishment of an independent climate change commission to advise Government, with the power to publish its own reports.
“This bill has no legally binding emission reduction targets, no carbon budgets and no clear indication of how tackling climate change is to be achieved,” noted Afri spokesperson Lisa Patten, “it is much less serious about climate change than Labour’s climate change bill in 2009 which had a legally binding 80% target for 2050, 5-year carbon budgets, as well as an independent advisory council, and making the Taoiseach responsible for climate policy. It is another example of a party back-tracking on promises once in power.” Ms Patten noted that climate change is one of the most important challenges of our times and one that is having serious consequences in all parts of the world, particularly countries in the Global South who can ill afford to bear the costs of the fallout from environmental disasters.
Abjata Khalif from Afri’s partner organisation in Kenya (Kenya Pastoralist Journalist Network) also expressed disappointment with the bill, “As a pastoralist, camel herder and activist working in an area in Northern Kenya that is daily enduring the ravages of climate change, I urge the Irish government to introduce and enforce a strong climate change bill with clear targets that will address and tackle climate change and reduce the suffering of vulnerable people.
The consequences of climate change, such as prolonged droughts, flash floods, harsh and hostile temperature, continues to ravage the arid land areas of northern Kenya leaving locals grappling with problems such as increased conflicts among pastoralist communities, disruption of livelihood, pastoralist communities fleeing remote villages due to hostile weather and flash floods leading in turn to refugee camps and major humanitarian upheaval. It’s the responsibility of all nations whether from North or South to come up with tangible, water tight policies and clear targets that will address climate change and alleviate the suffering of people in the global south who are hardest hit by climate change.”
Mr Khalif has been instrumental in providing solar lamps to midwives and school children in Kenya as a safer, more environmentally friendly, alternative to kerosene.