Climate Bill is starting gun for the race of a lifetime to eliminate pollution


Climate Bill is starting gun for the race of a lifetime to eliminate pollution

New Bill substantially improves 2015 law but substantial weaknesses remain that must be fixed by TDs and Senators

October 7 2020, 05:52pm

The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition has welcomed the publication of the new Climate Bill, describing it as “a significant milestone” on the path to faster and fairer climate action. 

The campaign group, which includes environmental, overseas aid, youth and faith groups, has been calling for a strong climate law since 2007, and coordinated the campaign that led to the passing of the 2015 Climate Action Act.


Oisín Coghlan, Coordinator of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition said:


"This Climate Bill substantially improves the 2015 law but substantial weaknesses remain that must be fixed by TDs and Senators."


"Moreover, we’re acutely conscious that this Bill is just the framework for action. It’s the rules of the game, not the result. Passing it is the starting gun in the race of a lifetime, the race to eliminate our polluting emissions fast enough to avoid complete climate breakdown."


Sadhbh O’Neill, Stop Climate Chaos Policy Coordinator commented:


"On first reading, the Bill contains many of the key elements we have been calling for for years: a clear 2050 objective in law, the setting of 5 year emissions targets by the Dáil, and corresponding plans by the Government."


"There are obvious weaknesses, however. The Government only has to pursue the 2050 objective not achieve it, the 5-year targets don’t have to be consistent with the 2050 objective, and ministers aren’t given a clear duty to achieve the 5-year targets when drawing up their plans."


"We will complete a detailed assessment against our 5 tests, and share it with the TDs and Senators who now have the crucial job of ensuring the final law is as robust and effective as possible."


Niamh Garvey, Head of Policy and Advocacy in Trócaire, commented:


"As we contemplate the dry, legal language of legislation we mustn’t forget the lives and livelihoods that are already being devastated by climate disruption. Around the world those who have done least to cause climate change are being hit first and hardest." 


"That’s why Ireland, known for its generosity and solidarity, but also known as one of the richest and most polluting countries in the world, must do its fair share to cut our emissions as fast as possible."


Theresa O’Donohoe, Feasta and An Taisce’s Climate Committee member said:


"Unfortunately there is no requirement for comprehensive public participation in designing climate plans. Passing the climate law is the easy bit. The real test is implementing policies that reduce emissions fast enough while being fair enough on everybody. That’s why it's essential that the Government launch a proper national dialogue on climate action immediately."


"At national level we need key stakeholders from business, trade unions, farming and sports organisations, the community and voluntary sector, along with environmental and climate organisations around the table to discuss how we are going to cut pollution in line with our commitments."


"And at the local level we need the Government to convene, facilitate and resource meaningful public participation in looking at how local communities and local authorities can work together to manage the impacts of climate change that is now unavoidable, and to cut pollution enough to avoid climate breakdown that is unmanageable." 


The Bill now goes to the Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action where TDs and Senators will carry out pre-legislative scrutiny before the Bill is debated in the Dáil and has its first big vote. Then it returns to the Committee for consideration of amendments.




  1. Stop Climate Chaos (SCC) is a coalition of over thirty civil society organisations campaigning to ensure Ireland plays its part in preventing runaway climate change. It was launched in 2007 and is the largest network of organisations campaigning for action on climate change in Ireland. Its membership includes development, environmental, youth and faith-based organisations. Its members are: Afri, BirdWatch Ireland, Christian Aid Ireland, Comhlámh, Community Work Ireland, Concern Worldwide, Cultivate,, Dublin Friends of the Earth, Eco Congregation Ireland, ECO UNESCO, Feasta, Fossil Free TCD, Friends of the Earth, Friends of the Irish Environment, Goal, Good Energies Alliance Ireland, Self Help Africa, Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Just Forests, Latin America Solidarity Centre (LASC), 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., and Young Friends of the Earth.