Smith welcomes Committee Report on Climate Bill – a decade of concerned action an imperative

18 December 2020

Labour Party Spokesperson on Climate Action Duncan Smith has welcomed the publication of the pre-legislative scrutiny report from the Joint Committee on Climate on the Climate Action Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2020.


Deputy Smith said:


“Carbon emission reduction is the biggest challenge facing us globally and it is clear that this decade will have to see each and every country step up its activity if we are to meet the new EU targets and our agreed  target to carbon neutrality by 2050.”


He added:


“The committee are to be commended for completing this report to quickly after a comprehensive series of hearings.  It is critical that we get this right and that the new legislation represents both the all-party approach that has been in place in the Oireachtas for a number of years now and the urgency that climate change demands.


“There is plenty of food for thought for the Minister and his Department in this report.  Critically, he is being asked to me more ambitious.  He is in the welcome position of being asked to provide additional clarity  and momentum around the Bill’s central proposals.  He should embrace the good will for the general direction of the Bill and seek to meet the committee’s concerns about linguistic and other weaknesses in the draft legislation.


“Of course, legislation is but one element of the challenge.  We need to act too.  We do not need to wait until the legislation is passed to prepare for the ramped up implementation structures that we will require to enforce the act.  We are taking on here an unprecedented challenge and it will require prioritisation within the civil service system.  Resources cannot be an issue here.  I am already a little concerned about the pace of progress under the exiting Climate Action Plan, particularly that the plan is not being driven forward sufficiently.  The Climate Action Delivery Board is not meeting sufficiently often in my view.  This challenge will become all the greater under the targets in this legislation.


“The Labour Party is committed to strenghtening this legislation and the challenge that it embodies.  We will work constructively with the Minister on it.

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