Stop Climate Chaos welcomed the statement by Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly TD, that he will bring forward amendments to the Government’s Climate Bill. The Minister was speaking during the Committee Stage debate, where the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill passed without amendment. Several opposition amendments were withdrawn following assurances from the Minister he will consider the issues raised by TDs ahead of the next stage in the Dáil.
Commenting, Ciara Kirrane, Coordinator of Stop Climate Chaos Coordinator, said
“The Minister’s commitment to amending the Climate Bill is welcome. Now we need to see his proposed changes. The final Bill needs to make clear how much we’ll reduce emissions by 2050, guarantee the independence of the Advisory Council, and ensure Ireland pursues the principle of climate justice.”
Before the Committee’s debate Stop Climate Chaos presented the Minister with a petition from more than 5,000 people calling on him to bring forward amendments that would strengthen the Climate Bill and to ensure it is passed into law before the summer recess.
Ms Kirrane continued:
“We were bowled over by the response to our petition – we collected over 5000 signatures in less than a week. It was encouraging that there was then a constructive exchange between the Minister and TDs about ways to improve the Bill.”
- Areas where the Minister agreed to “genuinely look at” amendments before Report Stage included:
• The inclusion of the principle of Climate Justice in the Bill. He said he will ask the AG for advice on this matter.
• An explicit statement on the independence of Advisory Council
• Changing the name of the National Expert Advisory Council to Climate Change Advisory Council.
• Reducing the delay in publishing the Periodic Reviews by the Council after they are submitted to Government, from 90 days. But not as low as the 10 days requested.
• Reducing the delay in publishing the annual reports of the Council from 30 days.
• Reducing the delay in the Government producing its first National Mitigation Plan from 24 months after enactment of the Bill to 18 or 12 months (but not the 6 months requested).
• Expanding the list of issues that Ministers and Government must have regard to (Head 4.7). The proposed amendment included public health, biodiversity and coherence with overseas development policy.
Concluding, Ms Kirrane commented:
“It was however frustrating and disappointing that amendments dealing with two of the most fundamental issues with the Bill – the absence of any 2050 target or any definition of low carbon – were excluded from debate due to a procedural technicality. It’s imperative that the question of 2050 is addressed before the Bill becomes law, otherwise it will fail to deliver the low carbon future it promises.”