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Campaigners urge Citizens' Assembly to shake up Irish climate policy

August 11 2017, 12:28pm

Stop Climate Chaos Coalition

For immediate release

11 August 2017

Campaigners urge Citizens' Assembly to shake up Irish climate policy

Joint submission proposes 18 practical actions to tackle climate change

51 organizations have today called on the Citizens’ Assembly to shake up Irish climate policy. In a joint submission to the Assembly the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition and the Environmental Pillar have made 18 practical recommendations that would begin to take Ireland from being “a laggard to a leader” on climate action, according to the two civil society coalitions. The Citizens’ Assembly consultation on “How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change” closes today, Friday, at 5pm. The Assembly will discuss climate change when it next meets on September 30th and, after a second weekend of debate, will vote on recommendations to Government on November 5th.

Speaking of behalf of the two coalitions, Oisín Coghlan said:

“We’re excited that the Citizens’ Assembly is going to debate climate action. For too long Irish climate policy
has been marked by dithering and delay. The Citizens’ Assembly has already shown itself capable of sophisticated analysis and radical recommendations. We hope they will now shake up Irish climate policy in the same way.

“The Oireachtas has asked the Assembly how can Ireland be a leader in tackling climate change. In fact, Ireland has been a laggard not a leader. Our emissions are rising not falling and we are going to miss our 2020 targets. So far, our political leaders have failed us on climate change. The Assembly now has the opportunity to mandate our politicians to act urgently and decisively to cut climate pollution."

In their joint submission the Stop Climate Chaos coalition and the Environmental Pillar make 18 practical recommendations that would (1) bring the years of inaction to an end, (2) move Ireland to the level of most of our EU partners, and (3) take a leadership role in certain areas, notwithstanding our poor record to date. They range across all sectors of the economy and society: energy, buildings, transport and agriculture.

A) Longstanding recommendations that would help Ireland meet its existing targets

1. Confirm now that Ireland will stop burning peat for electricity in 2020.

2. Confirm now that Ireland will stop burning coal for electricity in 2022.

3. Realign investment to achieve the goals of the 2009 Smarter Travel Policy.

4. Mobilize significant funds to offer financing options and project management support to households to upgrade the energy performance of their homes.

B) Best practice from other countries that would kick-start a real transformation

5. Where a developer is proposing a renewable energy project, make it compulsory that they offer 20% of the ownership to the local community through reasonably priced shares.

6. Kick-start community ownership of renewable energy by introducing a fair payment for solar electricity.

7. Decide now that from 2020 all new buildings built in Ireland will produce minimal carbon pollution through energy efficiency measures.

8. Seek to restore Ireland’s peatlands as a means of emissions reduction and carbon storage and to assist in important biodiversity protection and flood protection.

9. The Government should make regular contributions to the UN Green Climate Fund that are in line with Ireland's responsibility for climate change.

C) Areas where Ireland could take a global leadership role

10. 50% of the subsidy for peat-firing of power stations should be ring-fenced in a new ‘Just Transition Fund'.

11. The Oireachtas should pass the Fossil Fuel Divestment Bill to divest the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund from fossil fuels as soon as possible.

12. Encourage and support a transition to a more–plant based diet for the sake both of our health and of the climate.

13. Support farmers to gradually transition away from intensive meat and dairy production.

14. End all new oil and gas exploration in Irish waters.

D) Steps that would improve climate policy and action in future

15. Commit Ireland to doing our fair share to meet the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement and update Ireland’s national policy to reflect this.

16. Push the EU to revise and strengthen its targets in light of the Paris Agreement, in line with science and equity.

17. Adopt 5-year climate action plans that contain specific 5-year emissions reduction targets in line with the Government's 2050 transition objective.

18. Ensure decisions taken on major national policies, such as capital investment and spatial planning, align with Ireland’s emission reduction commitments.

ENDS

For more information or to arrange interviews contact Jerry Mac Evilly, Policy Coordinator, the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition at jerry@stopclimatechaos.ie 

Notes for the Editor

  • The joint Stop Climate Chaos Coalition - Environmental Pillar submission is online here: https://www.stopclimatechaos.ie/download/pdf/stop_climate_chaos_environmental_pillar_citizens_assembly_submission_2017.pdf
  • All the submissions to the Citizens' Assembly are being published on the Assembly website here: https://www.citizensassembly.ie/en/Submissions/How-the-State-can-make-Ireland-a-leader-in-tackling-climate-change/Submissions-Received/
  • Stop Climate Chaos is a coalition of civil society organisations campaigning for Ireland to do its fair share to tackle climate change. The 33 members include development, environmental, youth and faith-based organisations: Afri, BirdWatch Ireland, Christian Aid Ireland, Comhlámh, Community Work Ireland, Concern Worldwide, Cultivate, Cyclist.ie, Dublin Friends of the Earth, Eco Congregation Ireland, ECO UNESCO, Feasta, Friends of the Earth, Fossil Free TCD, Gorta, Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Just Forests, Kimmage Development Studies Centre, Latin America Solidarity Centre, Liberia Solidarity Group, Methodist Church of Ireland – Council of Social Responsibility, Mountmellick Environmental Group, National Youth Council of Ireland, Oxfam Ireland, Peoples Climate Ireland, Presentation Ireland, Tearfund Ireland, Trócaire, An Taisce, Vita, VOICE, Young Friends of the Earth.
  • The Environmental Pillar is a national social partner, comprising 26 national environmental organisations.  It works to promote the protection and enhancement of the environment, together with the creation of a viable economy and a just society, without compromising the viability of the planet on which we live for current and future generations of all species and ecosystems. The 26 members are: An Taisce, Bat Conservation Ireland, BirdWatch Ireland, Centre for Environmental Living and Training, Cloughjordan Ecovillage, CoastWatch, Coomhola Salmon Trust, ECO-UNESCO, FEASTA, Forest Friends, Friends of the Earth, Global Action Plan, Gluaiseacht, Good Energies Alliance, Green Economy Foundation, Irish Wildlife Trust, Hedge Laying Association of Ireland, Irish Peatland Conservation Council, Irish Seed Savers Association, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Native Woodland Trust, Sonairte, Sustainable Ireland Cooperative (Cultivate), The Organic Centre, VOICE, Zero Waste Alliance.