Ireland plans climate change bill

The Irish government has said it will draw up a law tying the country to carbon cuts in what is being seen as a concession to Greens in parliament.

The Irish Climate Change Bill is expected to set legally-binding targets for national carbon emissions for years to come, along the same lines as those already in place in the UK.

While the details are still to be thrashed out, environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth Ireland, which has been campaigning for such a law for two years, has outlined its views on what would be required to make such targets worthwhile.

Friends of the Earth director, Oisin Coghlan, said: “This decision is a landmark for Irish climate change policy. A strong law will show that Ireland finally means business on climate change.

“It will hardwire action and accountability on climate change into the political system. It is also key to a low-carbon recovery that is economically and environmentally sustainable.”

The organisation argues that the Irish bill should go beyond that of the UK’s target of an 80% cut by 2050 and is calling for a 40% cut by 2020 and a 95% cut by 2050.

It also says there should be legally-binding five-year carbon budgets to deliver the required cuts across all departments and sectors, along with annual milestones to ensure the levels go down year on year.

Mr Coghlan added: “A strong climate change law is the best way to make sure all departments across government, and all government across time, take climate change seriously and take action consistently.

“And passing the law before the crucial UN summit in Copenhagen in December would be a very positive signal to the international community.”

Sam Bond

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