Dáil will debate 'historic' motion to declare Climate Emergency tonight


Dáil will debate 'historic' motion to declare Climate Emergency tonight

Motion to declare Climate Emergency is a rational response to climate threat

May 9 2019, 02:27pm

Endorsing Oireachtas Committee report on climate action – a first response to climate emergency

Committee recommendations help put Ireland on the right track, but more to do

The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition has written to all TDs urging them to support a motion declaring a Climate Emergency which will be debated in the Dáil this evening (from 6 to 9pm). According to the civil society coalition, tonight’s debate and the vote on the motion that is due to take place next week, could mark an historic turning point in Irish climate policy. The motion would also “accept and endorse” the recently published report of the special all-party Committee on Climate Action.

Commenting ahead of the debate, Catherine Devitt, Head of Policy with the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition said:

Declaring a Climate Emergency is a rational response to the threat level and our failure so far to stem the pollution poisoning our life support system on Earth

‘Accepting and endorsing the report of the Committee on Climate Action is a good first response to that emergency. The report lays out a path for Ireland to step up action on climate change. However, this will only be achieved if the Report’s recommendations are implemented in full and on time.’

The landmark report – Climate Change: A Cross-Party Consensus on Climate Action – was the outcome of eight months of intense cross-party scrutiny of Irish climate policy by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action. Building on the highly successful Citizens’ Assembly on Climate Change, the Committee’s Report provides the necessary political impetus and robust policy foundation to enable Ireland to finally begin to act in line with its obligations under the Paris Agreement.

Stop Climate Chaos is calling on all Parties, Groups and TDs to demand that the Government incorporates the full suite of recommendations of the Joint Committee in the forthcoming All-of-Government Action Plan on Climate Change and the National Energy and Climate Plan due to be submitted to the European Union at the end of 2019.

However, Stop Climate Chaos has warned that more is needed to achieve the deep emissions reductions called for by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Ms. Devitt added:

‘The Committee itself is clear that their recommendations alone will not cut our emissions sufficiently or fast enough. However, endorsement of the report by the Dáil and implementation of its recommendations in full and on-time, will be a significant down-payment on securing our common future.’

Jennifer Higgins, Policy and Advocacy Advisor with Christian Aid Ireland said:

‘Tonight’s debate could not be more timely. Declaring a climate emergency, followed by implementation of the full suite of Committee recommendations will help us begin to shed our shameful record on climate change and honour our binding commitments on strong climate action.

‘This is the Dáil's opportunity to rise to the climate change challenge and represent the public's increasing desire for urgent action.’

Cliona Sharkey, Policy Advisor with Trócaire, said:

‘Some of the poorest regions of the world are already experiencing the severe impacts of climate change. Flooding in parts of east-Africa, following swiftly in the wake of tropical cyclones Kenneth and Idai, is only one of the numerous unfolding large-scale human emergencies of climate change.‘Failure to declare a climate emergency and endorse and deliver on the recommendations of the Joint Committee would be an inexcusable missed opportunity to reduce our emissions and show our solidarity with those most affected by climate change.’


  1. 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.
  2. Ahead of this evening’s debate, SCC has prepared a new information briefing entitled The Dáil can make this week an historic turning point in Irish climate policy 
  3. The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action 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. 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.