Stop Climate Chaos Responds to Oireachtas Committee Report on Climate Change Bill
20 Nov 2013
The Stop Climate Chaos coalition has welcomed a report on climate change legislation, published today (20.11.13) by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Environment, Community and Local Government. However, the coalition said the report "missed an opportunity" by not suggesting specific carbon emissions reduction targets should be set for 2050.
Today's report was published by the Oireachtas Committee following an intensive series of hearings with stakeholders in recent months. It focuses on the outline heads of the Climate Change and Low Carbon Development Bill, and includes a number of observations on how the draft Bill can be amended and strengthened.
Commenting today, Oisín Coghlan, spokesperson for Stop Climate Chaos, said: "We very much welcome this report, and the fact that it proposes a number of improvements to the draft Climate Bill. It concludes that the advisory committee overseeing Ireland's progress on tackling climate change should have a stronger role than that proposed in the draft legislation. This is something Stop Climate Chaos has consistently said: the new climate law must provide for a properly independent oversight committee.
"The report also contains welcome suggestions on how to ensure our climate policies are rolled out in an efficient and effective manner. In particular, it's good to see suggestions to reduce the timeframe for national action plans from seven years to five, and to develop a national roadmap for tackling climate change in advance of sectoral roadmaps.
"However, one disappointing aspect of the report is that it falls shy of proposing that specific carbon emissions reduction targets should be set for 2050. Stop Climate Chaos remains convinced that the simplest and most effective way to ensure Ireland adheres to its commitment to reduce carbon emissions is by enshrining a numeric target in law. The fact that this hasn't been proposed in this report is a missed opportunity."
Stop Climate Chaos also said the publication of the report was a test of the Government's commitment to political reform.
"Minister Phil Hogan and his Government colleagues have consistently said Oireachtas Committees will play a central role in developing legislation in the future, and in consulting with relevant stakeholders in doing so," said Oisín Coghlan. "This is the process through which today's report has been developed. Therefore, we expect the Government to take this report's conclusions on board in preparing the final Bill. This will be a real test of their commitment to political reform."
Stop Climate Chaos is a coalition of 28 civil society organisations, including leading NGOs such as Trócaire, Concern, Oxfam, Christian Aid and Friends of the Earth. Further information is available at www.stopclimatechaos.ie.
Climate Change could cost Irish Agriculture up to €2 billion
24 Oct 2013
Research report highlights climate change threats and opportunities for Irish farmers
Ireland's agriculture sector will face losses of up to €2 billion per annum if climate change is allowed to continue unchecked. That's according to new research commissioned by the Stop Climate Chaos coalition on the projected economic impacts of climate change on Irish agriculture over the next 40 years. The research, published today (24.10.13), was carried out by Dr. Stephen Flood at NUI Maynooth.
It shows agriculture is one of the most climate-sensitive industries in Ireland, because its primary outdoor production processes depend on particular levels of temperature and rainfall. If current levels of climate change continue, winter rainfall will increase by up to 17 per cent by the 2080s, while summer rainfall will decrease by up to 25 per cent, with the largest reductions in the southern and eastern coastal areas.
These changes, according to the research, will result in more variable weather - including incidents of drought, flooding, heavy rainfall and extreme temperatures - which will, in turn, lead to changes in the range and prevalence of agricultural pests and diseases, increased stress factors for animals, changes in water availability and crop yields, and difficulties in providing sufficient resources for animals during certain periods.
Opportunities for Irish Farmers The research also points to potential opportunities for Irish farmers arising from climate change: wheat and beet yields are projected to increase significantly by the middle of this century, and the outlook for Irish grain exports is promising, as other regions of Europe - for example, around Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Serbia - are expected to experience significant decreases in crop yields, due to increasing water shortages.
Commenting today, Niamh Garvey, spokesperson for SCC, said Ireland must act now to respond to climate change in a proactive manner, and to ensure our agriculture sector continues to thrive in the coming years.
"Adapting existing agricultural practices to take account of future climate change impacts is a prudent strategy," she said. "Potential adaptation actions include increasing crop diversity and varieties, altering planting and harvesting dates, planning for and implementing water supply management strategies, and supporting research to identify crops that can grow more successfully in the next 10 to 20 years, taking into account the expected changes in climate and growing seasons.
"Even more important than adaptation, of course, is mitigation. Rather than just accepting climate change, we must also continue to work to limit it. In this respect, we look forward to a robust climate law being introduced by government over the coming months, with clearly identified targets for emissions reductions and provision for a properly independent committee to oversee progress."
The research also stresses the need for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to invest sufficient resources in monitoring for economically damaging pests and diseases in both Irish livestock and crops. The 2012 fodder crisis, according to the research, exposed the potential vulnerabilities of the Irish livestock sector to adverse weather conditions. In a grass-based production system, such as the Irish beef sector, it's important to recognise the threat posed by future climate changes to silage, hay and pasture outputs, and to plan accordingly, the research report states.
Cooperation between the Farming and Environmental Sectors Today's SCC launch was followed by a roundtable discussion on the research. Key stakeholders from the farming and environmental sectors participated, and the discussion was chaired by well-known television presenter Ella McSweeney.
According to SCC, the aim of the roundtable was to promote cooperation between the farming and environmental sectors.
"Climate change campaigners and farmers are not obvious bedfellows," said Niamh Garvey. "Traditionally, they have had an adversarial relationship, with each group believing the other fails to understand their point of view. This event aims to overcome the differences that have existed in the past, and to explore how we can work together to ensure Ireland's agriculture sector faces up to and adapts to climate change.
"There is an unfortunate assumption in Ireland that, with our temperate climate, our agriculture sector will be relatively unaffected by climate change and planning for more-of-the-same agriculture is relatively risk-free. As the research published today shows, this is not the case.
"Food security within the EU, and the future economic success of Ireland, are issues that affect us all, and we look forward to working with all relevant stakeholders in the future to address these issues."
Input by the Agriculture Minister The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, officially opened today's event.
"The 'Food Harvest 2020' strategy sets out the industry's vision for Ireland's agri-food and fisheries sectors, including how they can generate increased levels of economic output and employment opportunities," he said.
"In continuously developing the agriculture sector, I am conscious of the need to take into account the projected impacts associated with future climate change. There is a large amount of work underway within my Department on climate change mitigation measures. In addressing climate change, it is essential that everyone plays their part and, in this regard, I am delighted to see key representatives of both the farming and environmental sectors here today, intent on finding ways to work together to ensure the ongoing success of Irish agriculture."
In addition to Minister Coveney, today's event was also addressed by Dr. Gary Lanigan, Research Officer with Teagasc; John Brennan of the Leitrim Organic Farmers group; and Dr. Stephen Flood, the author of the research report.
Commissioned report on behalf of Stop Climate Chaos Author: Dr. Stephen Flood, Research Associate, ICARUS, NUIM
This report commissioned on behalf of Stop Climate Chaos presents projected economic impacts of climate change on Irish agriculture, especially in the light of increasing investment and intensification.
Agriculture is one of the most climate-sensitive industries in Ireland, as its primarily outdoor production processes depend on particular levels of temperature and rainfall. The report projects the total economic costs of climate change in the region of €1-2 billion per annum by mid-century. This figure represents 8.2% of the current contribution of the agricultural sector to the national economy annually, and at the upper level is greater than the Harvest 2020 targeted increase of €1.5 billion in primary output.
Ireland's leading climate scientist Professor John Sweeney addressing the audience at today's Stop Climate Chaos public briefing on the fifth report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). More photos from today's event are available here: www.stopclimatechaos.ie/gallery/
Join us in Science Gallery, Trinity College this Friday 27th September at 1pm for the launch of the IPCC latest report on Climate Change
The Climate Bill Needs Targets and Teeth
5 Jul 2013
In order for a Climate Bill to have any credibility it must contain targets for 2050, as well having an independent committee provide the oversight, Stop Climate Chaos said today.
Stop Climate Chaos, the coalition of 28 civil society organisations working together on climate change, were addressing the Environment Committee members today as part of the its process of hearing from stakeholders on the draft climate Bill.
Speaking to Environment Committee members today, Sorley McCaughey, Head of Policy and Advocacy, Christian Aid Ireland said, "This Bill doesn't have what is needed to be effective. Without a named target for 2050 there isn't certainty surrounding government policy, and the legislation won't deliver a low carbon Ireland. It is simply too weak to work."
Stop Climate Chaos recommended the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2013 should include an emissions reduction target of 80 to 95% below 1990 levels for 2050.
EU leaders have committed to transforming Europe into a highly energy-efficient, low carbon economy by endorsing the objective of reducing Europe's greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050. This Bill aims at a "low carbon climate resilient, environmentally sustainable economy" but doesn't define "low carbon". There is no justification for omitting this solid scientifically based objective from the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill and without targets, slippage is inevitable.
"Putting these international commitments into domestic law will provide certainty for businesses and investors and will ensure timely and adequate action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Without these targets set in national law there is a risk that the Government will not act in time to reach these targets. Without targets there is nothing in the Bill to drive the transition." said spokesperson for Stop Climate Chaos, Gavin Harte.
SCC also called for a strong Climate Change Commission, independent from Government with real powers of oversight and reporting. The coalition pointed out that last year the Government established a Fiscal Advisory Council which could serve as a model.
Stakeholders accuse the Government of double standards on the Climate Bill
11 Jun 2013
Stop Climate Chaos, a coalition of environmental, development and faith-based organisations, has today said the Government is operating double standards when it comes to the draft climate legislation. The Joint Committee on Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht, tasked with consulting and reporting on the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill before it goes through the Houses of the Oireachtas, is failing to provide stakeholders and the public with an inclusive and transparent process.
Stop Climate Chaos, as well as some members of the Committee, has been calling for the publication of the submissions received by the Committee at the end of April, a request that has been flatly rejected by the Chair of the Committee. With the hearings due to be held in two weeks time, there is no indication of who will be invited to present to the Committee or what their proposals are.
Ciara Kirrane of Trócaire said 'We understood that the Joint Committee was eager and enthusiastic to work on the Climate Bill, that they looked forward to engaging with a range of stakeholders and having a real impact on the legislation. However, the impression we are now getting is very different, as if meaningful debate on the Bill is no longer a goal of the Committee. This process lacks any transparency and is without credibility.'
David Healy of Oxfam said 'Making the submissions publicly available would allow a greater level of engagement and scrutiny by interested parties and the public. The whole point of this process is to encourage positive and fruitful dialogue with the range of views that exist on this issue across society. It is an opportunity to build consensus, understanding and a sense of participation.'
Last Friday, the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government launched a public consultation on the Aarhus Convention. The Convention is about ensuring meaningful public participation in environmental decision-making. Judith Turbyne of Progressio said 'In his statement Minister Hogan recognised the role the public, including environmental NGOs, can play in environmental protection and decision-making. If the precedent being set by the current process is anything to go by, the prospects for the implementation of Aarhus are dismal'.
Stop Climate Chaos also point to the lack of interest the Government has shown in listening to public opinion on climate legislation to date. Last year 623 citizens responded to a public consultation, over 80% of whom felt it was very important to set statutory emission reduction targets for 2030, 2040 and 2050. No such targets have been included in the draft legislation, confirming what Stop Climate Chaos say is a 'disregard for peoples' views on how to tackle the climate crisis'.
Stop Climate Chaos' submission to the Oireachtas Environment Committee on the Climate Bill
30 Apr 2013
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht invited submisisons from stakeholders on the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2013. Stop Climate Chaos' submission is available here.
The Climate Bill Needs Targets
Register to meet your Environment Committee TD or Senator about the Climate Bill with us in Buswells Hotel on May 15th.
The Government has published their draft Climate Bill however it disappointingly contains no targets after 2020. For the Climate Law to have any teeth it must contain targets for 2050 so that the Government can plan to reduce our emissions by 80-95% by 2050 as advised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to prevent runaway climate change.
Stop Climate Chaos is organising an event in Buswells Hotel in Dublin on Wednesday May 15th where you can meet your TD or Senator on the Environment Committee to tell them directly that you want them to support a strong Irish Climate Law that includes targets for 2050.
You can make a difference by joining us in Buswells! Here's what you need to know...
Email your TD or Senator to invite them to meet you in Buswells.
Let us know when your TD or Senator gets back to you and you have arraged a time to them.
If you don't have a TD or Senator on the Environment Committee you can email the Chairperson of the Committee instead by selecting your constituency.
If you do have a TD or Senator on the Environment Committee but can't make it to Buswells on May 15th - get in touch for other ways to contact them about the Climate Law.
We will match you with other people from your constituency so you can meet in a group setting.
Stop Climate Chaos will be there to provide you with all the information you need. We will send you an information pack, phone you before the event, and we will have a short briefing on the day to answer any questions you have.
When? Wednesday May 15th from 12.00 to 2.30pm. Arrange to meet your TD or Senator at a time that suits you both between 12.30 and 2.30.
CEOs of Stop Climate Chaos member organisations write to the Taoiseach about the draft Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill
Cover image for Letter from Stop Climate Chaos CEOs on Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill
CEOs of the member organisations of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition wrote to Taoiseach Enda Kenny to request a meeting to discuss the publication of the Government's draft Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill.
A climate Bill without targets won't provide certainty.
26 Feb 2013
Climate coalition slams proposed legislation as "too weak to work".
Stop Climate Chaos, the coalition of 27 groups working together on climate change have expressed frustration at the weakness of draft climate legislation published today. Their main concern is that the proposed legislation doesn't have targets for reductions in carbon emissions.
Responding to the draft Heads of Bill, Sorley McCaughey from Christian Aid said, "This Bill doesn't have what is needed to be effective. Without a named target for 2050 there isn't certainty surrounding government policy, and the legislation won't deliver a low carbon Ireland. It is simply too weak to work."
"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has indicated that developed countries like Ireland must reduce our emissions by 80 to 95% by 2050. There is no justification for omitting this solid scientifically based objective from the Bill", said Ciara Kirrane from Trócaire.
"Economic transition to a low-carbon economy is a long-t erm goal and emissions targets should be set for every 5 year period up to a decarbonised economy in 2050. Without targets there is nothing in the Bill to drive the transition." said Ciara Gaynor from Oxfam.
"Stop Climate Chaos coalition slams Climate Bill as too weak to work."
Climate Change Bill without targets is just "going through the motions" says Stop Climate Chaos.
11 Feb 2013
Civil society coalition, Stop Climate Chaos, says that the Climate Change Bill which Minister Phil Hogan intends to bring to Cabinet tomorrow amounts to merely going through the motions and will make no meaningful contribution to addressing climate change.
Commenting Joanne McGarry of Trocaire said "The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has indicated that developing countries like Ireland must reduce our emissions by 80 to 95% by 2050. There is no justification for omitting this solid scientifically based objective from the Bill"
"Economic transition to a low-carbon economy is a long-term goal and emissions targets should be set for every 5 year period up to a decarbonised economy in 2050. Without targets there is nothing in the Bill to drive the transition." Said Ciara Gaynor of Oxfam.
Dr Judith Turbyne of Progressio concluded that "Stop Climate Chaos calls on the Cabinet to insist that Minister Hogan includes targets in his Climate Change Bill. We also call on TDs to support Deputy Catherine Murphy's Energy Security and Climate Change Bill 2012 which comes up for a vote in Dáil Éireann tomorrow. Deputy Murphy's Bill includes targets for 2030 and 2050 and an independent climate change commission. It is a far better basis for a Climate Change Act than the heads which Minister Hogan is bringing to Cabinet tomorrow."
Stop Climate Chaos welcomes the re-introduction of Climate Bill.
1 Feb 2013
Stop Climate Chaos has welcomed the launch yesterday by Sinn Fein of a Climate Bill that gained all-party support in the last Dáil. Brian Stanley TD is re-introducing the bill that was published by the Climate Change and Energy Committee in 2010.
Stop Climate Chaos supporters have sent over 90,000 messages to Government in support of the Climate Bill since the start of the campaign.
Last year Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan produced a roadmap for climate legislation in which he promised to publish a Climate Bill before the end of 2012. This Bill has yet to be published.
Ciara Kirrane Environmental Justice officer with Trocaire said 'Minister Hogan had committed to sending Heads of a Climate Bill to the Oireachtas Committee on Environment before the end of 2012. The committee is now ready to start the important job of discussing this legislation but in the absence of a government bill, an all-party supported bill is a good place to start these discussions.'
Ireland has made several pledges to cut our greenhouse gas emissions however our progress in actually making these cuts has been slow. Strong legislation is now needed to make sure these promised cuts actually happen.
Stop Climate Chaos has continually called for a strong climate bill that includes:
Legally binding emission reduction targets
Five-year carbon budgets that meet up to these targets
Targets to be met domestically - not by purchasing carbon credits overseas
The establishment of an independent climate change commission to advise Government, with the power to publish its own reports.
Sorley McCaughey of Christian Aid said 'To have any credibility the law must set an emissions target for 2050 in line with EU plans for 80-95% emissions reductions and it must give our EU 2020 target the force of national law. The Department of Environment ran a public consultation on these issues last year in which 90% of respondents stated they wanted to see climate targets enshrined in national law.'
The report of the Joint Committee on Climate Change and Energy Security can be found here http://www.oireachtas.ie/viewdoc.asp?fn=/documents/
The members of Stop Climate Chaos are: Afri, BirdWatch, Christian Aid, Climate Action Ireland Platform, Comhlámh, Concern, Cultivate, Dublin Friends of the Earth, Eco Congregation Ireland, Eco Unesco, Feasta, Friends of the Earth, Gorta, Just Forests, Kimmage Development Studies Centre, Latin America Solidarity Centre (LASC), Methodist Church of Ireland- Council of Social Responsibility, Mountmellick Environmental Group (MEG), National Youth Council of Ireland, Oxfam Ireland, Presentation Ireland, Progressio Ireland, Sustain West Cork, Trócaire, An Taisce, Vita, VOICE.
Press coverage of D'OH at the Dáil
Our Homer Simpson demonstration at the Dáil on Thursday November 22nd got great coverage in the national and international press with a front page photo in the Irish Times to a centre spread in the Guardian amongst other international newspapers. We let Governments know what we think of their inaction on climate change ahead of the annual UN Climate Change Summit, where Environment Ministers from across the world met to negotiate global commitments to act on climate change. The meeting took place last week in Qatar in the city of Doha, but we think it's more like 'Doh-a'!