Is Labour about to cave on Climate Change Bill?

Press Release from Friends of the Earth

Hogan’s Bill with no targets and no independent council going to Cabinet today 

Friends of the Earth has reacted with astonishment to media reports that Minister Hogan is bringing a Climate Change Bill to Cabinet today (Tuesday) with no targets and no independent advisory council. The environmental campaigning organisation expressed its disbelief that Labour ministers would sign-off on a Bill that was so far removed from the Bill the party developed and championed in the last Dáil.

Commenting on developments, Oisin Coghlan, Friends of the Earth Director, said:

“A Climate Change Bill with no targets and no independent advisory council is simply pointless. What’s more, Labour ministers know that.

“Just four years ago Eamon Gilmore and Pat Rabbitte launched a Labour Climate Bill with long-term and interim targets, an independent advisory council and which made the Taoiseach responsible for climate policy. Are Labour ministers really going to sign-up now for a Bill with none of those elements?”

“What happened to Labour as the Real Green Party, as advertised before the last election, so proud of their climate Bill? The legislation Hogan wants Labour ministers to approve is much weaker than what the Greens in government managed to get from Fianna Fáil.”

Minister Hogan made much of the need to bring the public with him on climate change after the FF/Green climate Bill fell with that Government. His Department ran a very extensive public consultation last year to which over 600 people and organizations responded:

• 90% of respondents want to see our emissions targets enshrined in national law, not just for 2020 but for 2030, 2040 and 2050.

• Over 92% supported the establishment of an independent body to advise Government and monitor progress.

Minster Hogan will have to explain why he wants to so baldly dismiss the view of the public he was so keen to consult.

Molly Walsh, Friends of the Earth Policy Officer, commented:

“When he took office Minister Hogan was bullish on getting a climate law passed by the end of 2011, modeled on the robust UK Act. He made much of delivering where his predecessors failed. But then, in typical Yes Minister fashion, it seems the officials led him on a merry dance and the vested interests got their teeth into him. This Bill is the result of that pincer movement.”

“Having ceded so much of the short-term economic agenda to Fine Gael, we expected Labour to lead on the political and social reform agenda. Climate change legislation is a key piece of political reform, it’s the equivalent of the banking regulation we should have put in place 10 years ago.”

“Instead of leading it seems Labour ministers sat on the sidelines and let Hogan’s officials gut the climate Bill which they had worked so hard on in opposition. If Labour ministers cave at Cabinet it should serve as a warning to those working on issues such as legislation for the X case and marriage equality”

Friends of the Earth launched an email action asking its supporters to email the 5 Labour ministers in Cabinet urging them to hold the line on effective climate legislation at today’s Cabinet meeting.


1. The Irish Times report on the Bill is here:

2. Labour’s “Real Green Party” video is here:

3. A summary of the results of the public consultation is here:

4. Friends of the Earth’s email action is online here:

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