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Citizens’ Assembly decisions on climate change a momentous opportunity to shake up Ireland’s backward policies

November 3 2017, 01:28pm

Stop Climate Chaos Coalition
For immediate release

2 November, 2017

 

Citizens’ Assembly decisions on climate change a momentous opportunity to shake up Ireland’s backward policies

 

This weekend, the 4th and 5th of November, the Citizens’ Assembly will conclude a ground-breaking process in democratic decision-making on climate change. Following an inspiring initial meeting in October, the Assembly will return to the topic of ‘How the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change’.

There will be specific sessions on climate action in the agriculture and transport sectors, as well as on ‘what climate leadership looks like' in Denmark and Scotland. The Assembly will hear presentations from national and international experts, including from the former European Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard. On Sunday afternoon, the Assembly will vote on final recommendations to be taken up by the Government.

Speaking on behalf of Ireland’s Stop Climate Chaos Coalition, Jerry Mac Evilly, stated:

“The major issue which emerged during the Citizens’ Assembly’s first weekend of discussions in October was the lack of political leadership in Ireland on climate change. We hope the Assembly will shake up Ireland’s policies on climate change by providing strong recommendations to Government.”

 

Niamh Garvey, Head of Policy in Trócaire, commented:

“While the Assembly has been asked how Ireland can be a leader in tackling climate change, our emissions are rising and we are going to miss our 2020 targets. To make matters worse, while Storm Ophelia was wreaking havoc, the Government was fighting tooth and nail in Brussels for loopholes in 2030 targets which will water down Irish and EU ambition. The Assembly now has the opportunity to make sure the Government’s hypocritical approach comes to an end. This is critical not only for Ireland but also for developing countries which are most impacted by climate change.”

 

While the Assembly has been asked how Ireland can be a leader in tackling climate change, for decades Ireland has been a laggard on climate action. The State’s first national action plan in ten years was released last July, however necessary and urgent reductions in pollution are far from guaranteed.

Recommendations put forward in the joint submission of Stop Climate Chaos and the Environmental Pillar include supporting a transition to an economically and environmentally sustainable model of farming, increasing the share of investment that goes to walking, cycling and clean public transport, setting an end date for peat burning and coal-fired electricity generation, putting concrete support in place for small-scale community renewable projects and providing significant funding for deep retrofitting of Ireland’s housing stock.

In view of the sessions on transport and agriculture, the Stop Climate Chaos website features:

  • 7 questions on transport that we’d like to see the speakers answer, together with background information on the topic.
  • the 5 Key Questions often faced by our members when it comes to climate change and agriculture.


The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition is jointly hosting Dance for Climate Action, a family-friendly climate-themed event in Malahide on Saturday morning (4th of November), which aims to highlight this weekend's proceedings of the Citizens’ Assembly. Thanks to the kind support of Trinity College Dublin and Iarnród Éireann, dancers and members of the public will travel together via DART to Trinity College Dublin where another performance will take place in the afternoon.


ENDS

 

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

 

Civil society will also be tweeting on the following hashtags -

#CitizensAssembly

#LeadOnClimate


The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition is collaborating with the Dublin Youth Dance Company to host Dance for Climate Action . The event will take place on the grass between Coast Road and the sea (dropped pin here) from 11am to 12:30pm, Saturday 4th November. There will be over 60 youth dancers dressed in red, dancing to the song ‘Halfway There’ by Mary and the Pigeons. The dance will consist of strong and simple movements and will be repeated a number of times so that members of the public can join in. The dance will be performed three times, and after each dance there will be open mic and spoken word. Afterwards, dancers and members of the public will travel together via DART to Trinity College Dublin where another performance will take place on the cricket pitch of TCD from 2pm to 2:45pm. 

 

Notes for the Editor:

 

  1. The public sessions of the Assembly meeting will be livestreamed via www.citizensassembly.ie. The recorded presentations and transcripts from the Assembly's sessions are also available via this website.

 

  1. The Stop Climate Chaos Coalitionis the civil society coalition campaigning for Ireland to do its fair share to tackle climate change. The Coalition’s 33 members include overseas aid and development, environmental, youth and faith-based organisations.

 

  1. Individuals, NGOs and businesses from Ireland and around the world already have had the opportunity to voice their concerns to the Citizens’ Assembly through a major public consultation. The consultation was a great success with the Assembly receiving close to 1,200 submissions, which are available online.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. The Government has pushed for the inclusion of several loopholes in EU legislation currently under negotiation concerning reductions in polluting emissions to be made by Member States between 2021 and 2030. The weak provisions as currently proposed would see Ireland’s required efforts going from a 10% additional reduction in emissions to just 1%. In relation to renewable energy legislation also being negotiation in Brussels, the Government is proposing that our 2030 target should be no higher than our 2020 target and is resisting EU initiatives to get us to do more. 

 

  1. The Government is lagging behind the public on support for climate action. In a recent Eurobarometer poll, of all 28 EU member states Irish people responded most favourably to the statement "Fighting climate change and using energy more efficiently can boost the economy and jobs in the EU" (88%). The poll shows that Ireland is 4th strongest on the need for our own government to "increase the amount of renewable energy used, such as wind or solar power, by 2030". 96% of 1,021 respondents in Ireland said that was important or very important.

 

  1. Ireland is the third highest producer of emissions per person in the EU, and eighth in the OECD with polluting emissions increasing by 3.7% in 2015. Ireland is only one of five EU Member States which is set to miss its 2020 emission reduction targets under the EU Effort Sharing Decision, and the only one of these five States where emissions are predicted to continue to rise. See analysis from European Environment Agency available here.