Revised Climate Action Plan must be aligned with new Climate Bill

24 March 2021

Labour Party Spokesperson on Climate Action, Duncan Smith, has cautiously welcomed the publication of a revised Climate Action Bill but said lots of work is still needed to strengthen the bill. 

When the Bill eventually becomes law, the real challenge will be how the revised Climate Action Plan is aligned to targets and displays the necessary ambition to make Ireland a world leader in climate mitigation as determined by the Citizens Assembly on Climate Change.

Deputy Smith said:

“The new Climate bill is a significant improvement on previous drafts and represents a positive move to more comprehensive climate action. There is however still much work to be done to make it better, but the Green party have improved on what had been there before.

“The Bill has been strengthened in relation to carbon targets which is welcome but in getting to net zero we need to ensure good jobs are created. The bill now recognises the need for a just transition but language and commitments for workers must be more robust.

“These targets are very ambitious, particularly the 51% decrease over the remainder of this decade, and will require not just a whole of Government approach but buy in from all sectors of Irish society.

“I am pleased to see that many of the recommendations of the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action have been accepted by Government despite worrying links about pushback against this by Fine Gael.

“I remain concerned that despite progress that we are still not at the point whereby climate action is the priority of all of Government and the driver behind everything we do.

“Of course, the Climate Bill is not an end in itself, but instead is a governance framework to move us in the right direction.  The next steps now will be the publication of a revised Climate Action Plan and the adoption of the first carbon budget as outlined in the Bill to meet the new ambitious targets set out in the Programme for Government and the EU New Deal. 

“It will be particularly important that we find a mechanism to deal with agricultural issues.  We have a good understanding how to drive down emissions, however difficult it may be, in other sectors but agriculture remains a challenge, particularly in ensuring a just and fair solution for farmers. 

“It will be incumbent on both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to play a constructive role in this regard and we know that tensions are running high in that regard following the withdrawal of the Environmental Pillar from discussions on the new food strategy.”

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