Minister Hogan’s Climate Change Bill Gutless – An Taisce

12th February 2013
Press Release

The Heads of Bill to be produced by Phil Hogan T.D. the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government on the 12th February 2013, will represent a gutless reaction to tackling Ireland’s greenhouse emissions problem. On a per capita basis, Ireland is one of the worst greenhouse gas emitters in the world. Ireland bears a moral responsibility to address this. An Taisce is calling on Minister Hogan to include targets in his Climate Change Bill.

Professor John Sweeney, President of An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland stated “After procrastinating for over a year by the expedient measure of commissioning the NESC Secretariat (not the full NESC Council) to deliver supportive recommendations, the proposals will completely lack substance or any significant effective steps to address the scale of the issues concerned.”

A Bill with no sectoral targets provides carte blanche for polluting sectors to continue without fear of sanction. The ‘Roadmap’ promised towards compliance with our international obligations has been largely abandoned. The pointed refusal to learn from the experience of our neighbouring countries, is deeply regrettable.

Professor Sweeney continued “We have seen in Ireland that ‘Light Touch’ and ‘Aspirational’ policies have not worked where regulation is essential. This is true from planning to banking to protection of our natural resources. We know the disastrous consequences which flow from this approach.”

This Bill will undoubtedly suit the vested interests who have lobbied successfully for this toothless exercise. Indeed the Bill is even worthless compared to the proposed Bill agreed by the Minister’s own party, and all other parties in the Dail, a few short years ago. What has caused this U-turn? One has to ask the question: “Who is calling the shots on environmental policy in Ireland?”

The premise of the proposed Bill is that given a few unenforceable pointers, people will do the right thing today to combat climate change tomorrow. The reality is that people and industry need their Government to make the hard choices as to how the future emissions cake should be divided.

Irish industry and the emerging employment sources in the green economy need clarity for forward planning. Targets are essential. Specific sectoral measures are vital. These must be accompanied by enforcement of objectives. Without such political choices being made, the law of the jungle will prevail.

Professor John Sweeney concluded “Sadly the missed opportunity exhibited is indicative of an accelerating failing of leadership from those entrusted by the electorate to act bravely on this issue. This will affect generations of Irish people to come.”

ENDS

For further information, please call:

Professor John Sweeny, An Taisce President – Tel: 087 247 6516

Charles Stanley-Smith, An Taisce Communications – Tel: 087 2411995

James Nix, Operations Director, An Taisce – Tel: 086 8394129

Email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org

An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland

Notes:

A report by Harry McGee in The Irish Times of Monday 11th January http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2013/0211/1224329906904.html says there will be no binding targets.