1,000 signatures reached
To: The Irish Government and Minister Eamon Ryan.
Fix Ireland's Climate Bill 2020! #FixTheBill
Ireland’s Climate Bill 2020 threatens to undermine the impact of the Supreme Court’s historic judgment in Climate Case Ireland. The Climate Bill must be fixed!
Why is this important?
In 2020, Climate Case Ireland took the Government to the Supreme Court for failing to act on climate change - and won.
However, the fight for climate justice isn’t over. Ireland’s Climate Bill 2020 threatens to undermine the impact of the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment in Climate Case Ireland and creates a legal framework so weak as to be incapable of enabling the urgent action needed.
The Climate Bill must be revised to protect the historic Supreme Court judgment and ensure that Ireland finally adopts legislation which has climate justice, a just transition, and a clear commitment to remaining below +1.5°C as its central organizing principles.
Sign your name to let the Government know they must fix Ireland’s Climate Bill! #FixThe Bill
1. Learn from Climate Case Ireland: Climate Case Ireland successfully challenged the Government’s 2017 National Mitigation Plan on the basis that the Government had failed to specify how it would achieve the objective of the original 2015 Climate Act within section 4(2)(a). The re-drafted 2020 Climate Bill makes changes to reduce accountability such as:
a. Removing and replacing section 4(2)(a) of the Act. To preserve the effect of the Supreme Court's judgment, section 4(7), as inserted by the Bill, should be deleted or amended to be "without prejudice" to section 4(6);
b. Requiring the government only to “pursue” the 2050 goal rather than “pursue and achieve”; the latter was the phrase used in the 2015 Act and in the previous Government’s 2019 Heads of Bill;
c. Use of weak, permissive language to reduce legal accountability, such as “have regard to” and “in the opinion of the Government/Minister”;
d. The Bill no longer refers to achieving an “environmentally sustainable economy”. This should be reinstated.
2. A 2030 Target: The National Climate Objective should reflect an explicit commitment to complete decarbonisation (not “net-zero”)* by 2030 at the very latest and an equitable and scientifically sound commitment to remaining below +1.5C (*zero energy emissions combined with nature-based solutions that enhance biodiversity to sequester carbon from sectors where some emissions remain inevitable). The Bill should include a ratchet mechanism empowering the Minister to bring forward the decarbonisation year and interim targets, which are needed in the Bill.
3. Climate Justice and Just Transition: Decarbonising Ireland’s economy in a decade will not be easy. The principles of climate justice and just transition should be defined and should include the principle of a progressive distribution of the financial burden of climate mitigation and adaptation measures. These must be the central organizing principles of the Bill, with clear accountability mechanisms.
4. Reliance on undeveloped and untested technologies: The Bill should aim for complete decarbonisation by 2030, rather than a ‘climate neutral economy’ – the Bill currently implies large-scale use of unproven CO2 “removal” technologies.
5. Interim targets: The Bill’s carbon budgets should be pegged to interim targets that will put Ireland on a pathway to a decarbonisation target year of 2030.
6. 7% not enough: The Programme for Government commitment to reduce emissions by 7% a year on average over the next decade is not enough to make a fair share contribution to keeping global temperature rise below +1.5°C.
7. Strengthen language: The requirement to ‘have regard to’ should be strengthened to ‘consistent with’ in relation to:
a. The objective of the UNFCCC and the temperature limits specified in the Paris Agreement
b. Fulfilling the principles of climate justice and just transition;
c. Fulfilling the objectives of the National Biodiversity Action Plan and the Aarhus Convention.
8. Legal accountability needs to be built in throughout the Bill: Carbon budgets should be legally binding, and all activities undertaken by public bodies, Government departments and private industry should be consistent with the carbon budgets. Failure to remain within the carbon budget limit should be met with clear sanctions.
9. Obligations on public bodies: all public bodies should be required to carry out their duties in a manner ‘consistent with’ the temperature limits and principles of the Paris Agreement.
10. Reparations: Financing emissions reductions efforts overseas alongside the provision of technological support should be viewed as reparations for harms done due to climate change under the Loss and Damage mechanism.
11. Include emissions from international aviation and shipping.
12. Impact assessment and reporting: All plans, projects and programmes should be assessed for their full climate impacts including non-territorial emissions. The EPA should be tasked with monitoring and reporting on “consumption emissions” in addition to territorial emissions.
13. Fossil fuel infrastructure and fracked gas: The construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure and the re-permitting of existing infrastructure should be prohibited by the Bill, including for example liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and gas-fired power plants and storage facilities. We also call for the insertion into the Bill of a section amending the Petroleum and Other Minerals Development Act 1960 to prohibit the importation or sale of fracked gas.
14. Actively disseminate information on the functions of public bodies under the Bill & guarantee public participation.
15. Provisions relating to the Climate Change Advisory Council should be amended to:
a. Replace voting ex-officio members with independent experts in industrial relations, law and social justice
b. Ensure the Council is adequately resourced, gender balanced, and inclusive of directly affected interests (eg youth and migrants from worst impacted nations),
c. Be tasked with regular reporting on whether current policies and plans represent “progression” and Ireland’s “highest possible ambition” (Paris Agreement).