A Landmark Week for the Climate Crises in Ireland. The historic Climate Bill was passed by Cabinet.

A Landmark Week for the Climate Crises in Ireland. The historic Climate Bill was passed by Cabinet.

Waterford TD Marc Ó Cathasaigh declared last week a landmark week for the Climate Crisis as Ireland takes big steps to play our part in the fight against Climate Change. He spoke days after the historic Climate Bill was passed by Cabinet.

“This past week was historic for Ireland as we saw the Climate Bill approved by Cabinet. It will be debated in the Dáil in the coming weeks. We all know that the planet is experiencing devastating effects of Climate Change and the Biodiversity Crisis and for too long Ireland has been a laggard in terms of dealing with these threats to our entire planet. That all changed this week when the Cabinet approved the Climate Bill and we moved one step closer to being a global leader in addressing these threats to the future of our children and grandchildren.”

The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill is a key commitment in the Programme for Government which Deputy Ó Cathasaigh helped to negotiate as part of the Green Party’s negotiating team. It will now progress through the Houses of the Oireachtas as priority legislation.

“Many people feel that the climate emergency is something future generations will have to deal with. They’re right. Future generations will experience a planet very different to the one we are living on right now. What many people don’t realise though is that the change is happening already and if we want our children to live as adults in a world similar to what we have now, we have to act and we have to act now.”

The Bill embeds the process of setting binding and ambitious emissions-reductions targets in law. We will see a transition to a climate resilient, biodiversity-rich, environmentally-sustainable and climate-neutral economy with 5 year carbon budgets proposed by a strengthened Climate Change Advisory Council. The carbon budgets must be consistent with the Paris agreement and other international obligations and the responsibility for achieving the legally-binding targets will fall to each Government Minister.

He went on to say: “The best time to address the climate crisis was 20 years ago when environmental organisations like Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth warned us that increased sea levels, wild fires and drastic changes to weather patterns were coming down the line. We didn’t act then as a country or a planet. The second best time to act is now and thanks to all the campaigning by environmentalists, youth activists, NGOs, political volunteers and policy makers, Ireland has taken that step.”

Local Authorities will play their part as they will prepare individual Climate Action Plans which will include both mitigation and adaptation measures and will be updated every five years. Local Authority Development Plans must be aligned with their Climate Action Plan and all Public Bodies will be obliged to take account of Climate Action Plans in the performance of their functions.

Deputy Ó Cathasaigh concluded by saying: “I urge everyone to have their say on the Climate Action Plan through the consultation process the government is running up to May 18, 2021. We want to hear what you think and how you feel we can achieve what we need together. You can contribute to the consultation so that together we can turn ideas into action for a cleaner, brighter, healthier future for all”.

Climate Bill can be found here: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/984d2-climate-action-and-low-carbon-development-amendment-bill-2020/

Climate Plan Consultation can be found here: www.gov.ie/climateconversation