Environmental group condemns Government over climate bill


An environmental group has condemned the Government for refusing to accept amendments to “strengthen” its Climate Action Bill.

Environment Minister Eamon Ryan told a meeting of the Select Committee on Environment and Climate Action last week that he could not see any amendments to the bill being accepted.

He said he, his department and the Attorney General’s office had considered every amendment and the advice he had received was that the bill should not be changed. “I don’t want to give false expectations. There is not the expectation that we would be accepting amendments,” he added.

Climate Case Ireland has expressed disappointment with the Minister’s comments.

“We cannot speak about a ‘green recovery’ while failing to ground our climate legislation in science and equity,” said Climate Case Ireland campaign co-ordinator Clodagh Daly.

“It is simply not enough that this bill is ‘more ambitious’ than its predecessor. The bill will not enable steep emissions reductions in the short-term, and this makes it inadequate from a scientific and climate justice perspective. We need a bill that follows the science and aligns with climate justice.” 

The group, which won their Supreme Court case against the Government in 2020, wants the bill to provide a “clear and binding” commitment to remaining below a 1.5 degree increase in global average temperature relative to pre-industrial levels.

They also call for the bill to ensure action on climate change and biodiversity loss is “fully complementary” and to enshrine climate justice and just transition as the bill’s central organising principles.

Ms Daly added that "significant gaps" remain in the bill which undermines the country's commitment to the Paris Agreement.