Environment Committee on the Heads of Bill (Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill)

30th April 2013
Submission Summary

Executive summary including key recommendations

Quantifiable targets are the only way to ensure accountability. The science behind climate change shows that emissions in developed countries need to be reduced by a level of 80% -95%, by 2050, if we are to avoid dangerous climate change. The European Council has also made it an EU objective to cut European emissions by 80-95% by 2050, therefore Ireland needs do its part and enforce these targets in order to take our climate obligations seriously and take action.

The Programme for Government committed to provide ‘certainty surrounding government policy and a clear pathway for emission reductions’. This Climate Bill needs to give certainty for the future and for businesses and individuals wanting to invest in the green economy.

An Taisce strongly recommends the following proposals be taken into consideration by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht: A. A target of 80-95% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for 2050 should be put into the Climate Bill. B. Ensure that the Expert Advisory Body has the power to publish its own reports, thus enabling an independent role within climate policymaking. C. Develop low carbon roadmaps every 5 years and ensure they contain carbon budgets.

An Taisce is also of the view that the concept of ‘transition’ should not be omitted from the Bill and its title. (“Transition” was included in the previous version of the Heads). We know we need to move from high to low levels of energy consumption (and resulting emissions). What we don't need is to develop a discrete number of new low-energy sectors on top of general picture that is unreformed. Economic considerations play a vital role. Without definite targets industry will be faced with unquantifiable uncertainty: damages job creation, economic recovery, and ultimately, societal cohesion.