Fine Gael efforts to water down Climate Action report 'unconscionable' say campaigners
Landmark week for climate policy as special Oireachtas Committee to report
March 25 2019, 01:41pm
The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition has denounced as “unconscionable” Fine Gael attempts to water down the report of the special Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action, which is due to be published this week. Media reports over the weekend revealed that Fine Gael had tabled last minute amendments to weaken a recommendation for a net-zero emissions target for 2050, and to remove a recommendation calling for a climate pollution impact assessment of all new Government policies.
A spokesperson for the Coalition, Cliona Sharkey, Policy Advisor for Trócaire commented:
“If true, this attempt by Fine Gael to undermine the cross-party consensus for serious action is unconscionable. We’re currently seeing the impacts of climate change hitting some of the poorest countries in the world. Hundreds of people have died and thousands are now displaced in Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe as a result of Cyclone Idai. This is the latest in a catalogue of human catastrophes, caused by increasingly frequent extreme weather events.
"There is now a moral imperative for an urgent change in policy direction, and political attempts to undermine action are a disservice to the intensive work of the Oireachtas Committee and the Citizens’ Assembly.”
The Joint Committee was established with cross-party consensus in July 2018, charged with considering the thirteen high level recommendations of the Citizens’ Assembly on climate change, and how current departmental climate policies could be strengthened. The Assembly recommendations represent the strongest mandate ever received by the State to take strong actions on climate change, and the Committee’s report will lay the ground for the Government to respond, with a new all-of-government action plan due before Easter.
This week's Committee report will be an important litmus test of whether or not political representatives are up to the task of responding to the climate crisis.
Catherine Devitt, Policy Coordinator for the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition said:
“We hope this will be a landmark document that provides the cross-party mandate and impetus required to change the course of Irish climate policy.
“The Report needs to translate the call to action from the Citizens' Assembly into concrete measures that the Government knows command cross-party support.
“The Report looks set to be an historic mandate to Government for climate action, and a new benchmark for Minister Bruton’s all-of-government plan.
“We are expecting cross-party support for a vast range of measures that will go a significant way to closing the gap between Ireland’s growing emissions and our national and international climate obligations."
The Report will also come at a critical moment in the climate movement, as thousands of young people around the world, including here in Ireland, are taking to the streets, calling for greater ambition, greater leadership, and more action on what is, an unprecedented threat to their future.
The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition has consistently urged the Committee to respect and represent the level of policy ambition called for by the Citizens’ Assembly, by providing new substantive, concrete policy recommendations to ensure that action from now on is adequate and timely, and is line with Ireland’s international climate obligations.
- Stop Climate Chaos is 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.
- In March 2018, the Stop Climate Chaos coalition called for the establishment of a dedicated Oireachtas Committee to take the Citizens’ Assembly recommendations forward, as was done with the Assembly report on the eighth amendment to the Constitution. See the Stop Climate Chaos letter to the Oireachtas Business Committee.
- The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition’s submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action is available here.
- The Citizens’ Assembly’s published report is available here. This includes the Assembly’s 13 recommendations on ‘how the State can make Ireland a leader in tackling climate change’. The Assembly agreed these recommendations after four days of expert presentations in 2017 and following a major public consultation that received close to 2000 submissions.
- The joint Environmental Pillar and Stop Climate Chaos Coalition recommendations to the Citizens’ Assembly are available to download here.
- The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition has consistently urged the Committee to respect and represent the level of policy ambition called for by the Citizens’ Assembly, by providing new substantive, concrete policy recommendations to ensure that action from now on is adequate and timely, and is line with Ireland’s international climate obligations.